Skip to main content

This website is no longer being updated. Visit Dartmouth Now for all news published after June 7, 2010.


Dartmouth News
>  News Releases >   2008 >   January

Dartmouth announces new financial aid initiative

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 01/22/08 • Roland Adams • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth will eliminate tuition for undergraduates from families with incomes below $75,000; replace loans with scholarships; extend need-blind admissions to international students; and create a leave term without earnings expectations

Dartmouth President James Wright announced today a number of enhancements to the College's financial aid packages for undergraduates, beginning in academic year 2008-09, to ensure that Dartmouth remains accessible to academically talented students regardless of their financial situation. The new initiatives also extend the College's need-blind admissions program to all international students, who typically represent about 7 percent of each incoming class. The Dartmouth Board of Trustees approved the enhanced program at a special board meeting Jan. 16.

Key elements of the initiative, which will go into effect for the coming academic year, include:

1. Free tuition for students who come from families with annual incomes below $75,000
2. Replacing loans with scholarships
3. Need-blind admissions for international students
4. Junior leave term with no earnings expectation 

In announcing the initiative, President Wright said, "Dartmouth's enhanced financial aid program will ensure that all our students are better able to take full advantage of the Dartmouth experience.  The College has long been committed to helping superbly qualified students attend Dartmouth, regardless of their financial means, and financial aid has been a personal priority of mine for many years.  Building on our more than three-fold increase in financial aid since 1998, I am pleased that we could make this further enhancement to our financial aid program as we seek to keep Dartmouth affordable and to enroll the most talented students from around the world." President Wright is a member of the College Board Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education and has worked to enhance the GI Bill to improve educational opportunities for veterans.

Related Links

Podcast: Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris and Director of Financial Aid Virginia Hazen talk about Dartmouth's financial aid initiative

Ask Dartmouth: Questions and answers about Dartmouth's new financial aid initiative

According to U.S. Census data, approximately 90 percent of U.S. households earn less than $150,000; 70 percent earn less than $75,000; and the median family income is $46,326. These families have the most financial difficulty sending their children to college. Dartmouth's new financial aid program will enable it to continue to enroll one of the most economically diverse group of students in the Ivy League. Currently, 13 percent of Dartmouth students are the first in their families to attend college and 14 percent are recipients of Pell Grants (a federal grant for students who come from low-income families).

Dartmouth is presently need-blind in its undergraduate admissions process for applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which means that it reviews student admissions applications without any knowledge of the prospective student's ability to pay for a Dartmouth education. Once Dartmouth admits an applicant, the College meets 100 percent of the student's demonstrated need for all four years through a combination of grants and loans.  

Dartmouth currently spends $61 million per year providing financial aid compared to $24.5 million in 1998 - an increase of 250 percent. The new initiative will cost an additional $10 million per year when fully implemented. The additional expense will be paid for through the reallocation of resources and the use of funds generated by an increase in the distribution from the endowment to 6 percent approved by the Trustees last year. The College is in the midst of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience with a goal of $1.3 billion - $150 million of which will be for financial aid. This past December, the College passed the $1 billion mark in that campaign.

Details of the Initiative

No Tuition for Families Who Earn less than $75,000
Beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, all students from families with incomes of $75,000 or less will receive free tuition.  In addition, many will also receive scholarships for associated costs of attendance, i.e. room, board, books and miscellaneous expenses.

Loans Replaced with Scholarships
The College will eliminate loans for incoming scholarship recipients beginning with next year's Class of 2012. Over the course of four years of enrollment, students will see loans that totaled as much as $17,500 replaced with scholarships. Currently enrolled students will see their loan expectation cut by 50 percent beginning next fall for each of their remaining years at the College. The elimination of loans will significantly reduce the debt burden of Dartmouth graduates.

Need-blind admissions for International Students
Starting immediately with the Class of 2012, the College will extend its need-blind admissions policy to all international students. Previously the College was need-blind for students from the U.S. as well as those from Canada and Mexico and provided financial aid to other international students up to a preset budget maximum. This cap will now be lifted and Dartmouth will join a very small group of schools that have a fully need-blind admissions process for international students.  

Leave Term Earnings Expectation
Starting immediately, Dartmouth will provide an additional scholarship of $2,950 to allow financial aid recipients to take advantage of research or internship opportunities in their junior year. Currently, these students are expected to contribute earnings from their summer employment towards the cost of their education and thus have less flexibility than non-financial aid students in participating in important components of the Dartmouth experience. Students will be able to participate in community service, other forms of volunteer activities, or spend the time on their own research or studying for graduate school entrance exams. This aspect of the new plan builds on Dartmouth's year-round calendar and strong tradition of service and experiential learning opportunities.

Dartmouth Today

Dartmouth's 4,300 undergraduates are an academically accomplished and diverse group, representing all 50 states and more than 30 countries around the world. Students of color and international students comprise 30 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of the student body. Nearly 48 percent of undergraduates today receive need-based financial aid from Dartmouth, with an average scholarship of $30,400 for members of the Class of 2011.

Dartmouth is recognized for its excellence in undergraduate education. In keeping with its founding mission, the intellectual quality and the diversity of the students the College admits are of paramount importance as Dartmouth seeks to create an enriching and varied educational experience for all members of the community.  It is an historic assumption at Dartmouth that student engagement with a diverse group of peers, drawn from a broad range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, socioeconomic circumstances, talents, experiences, and perspectives, contributes significantly to the transformative nature of a Dartmouth education.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

Recent Headlines from Dartmouth News: