Students are at the core of what we do, and Dartmouth is fortunate in having a talented and diverse undergraduate and graduate student body. Diversity of talent, opportunity, and background creates a stimulating environment, one where students can learn a great deal from one another. Since its earliest years, the College has provided scholarship support for those students who would benefit from a Dartmouth education, but who could not afford to come here. At the beginning of the 20th century, our alumni organized a fund to provide more regular support for scholarships. Building on this legacy, Dartmouth is today one of only a handful of schools nationwide that takes no account of an applicants financial circumstances in the admissions process. Once a student is admitted, Dartmouth is committed to providing a financial aid package that meets 100 percent of the demonstrated need through a combination of grant support, loans, and self-help. Outright grants typically constitute 55 percent of the financial aid package. We stand by the principle that no academically qualified student should be denied a Dartmouth education for want of family resources. This is a challenging aspiration.
Over the past two decades, the percentage of scholarship support provided by the federal government has declined significantly. Consequently, colleges and universities have had to assume a greater share of the burden of providing support for their students. In the last ten years, Dartmouths annual budget for scholarships has more than doubled, growing from $14 million in 1990 to $31 million in 2002.
Dartmouth recently made three significant enhancements to its financial aid program. We have reduced loans and work requirements, ensured a more equitable treatment of family assets, and allowed students to enjoy the full benefit of any outside scholarships that they receive. Dartmouth has one of the most generous scholarship programs in the county, with 44 percent of the Class of 06 currently scheduled to receive scholarship assistance. Close to 100 percent of our graduate students outside of the professional programs also receive scholarship support, and each of the professional schools has a generous financial aid program. For example, 78 percent of students at the Dartmouth Medical School, 81 percent of Thayer students, and 67 percent of Tuck students receive financial aid. Indeed, financial aid is the fastest growing component of the Thayer Schools annual budget. Dedicated endowments support approximately 60 percent of the undergraduate scholarship expenditures, and a much smaller proportion still of graduate and professional school financial aid. This places a significant burden on the general operating budget.
- We must maintain our commitment to need-moot admissions for undergraduates. To enable us to continue to make strategic adjustments to our financial aid package and to secure our scholarship program in perpetuity, we urgently need to increase the endowment dedicated to financial aid.
- We must expand our graduate fellowships and scholarship programs for the graduate students in the Arts and Sciences, as well as for Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School, and the Tuck School.
- As we seek to increase the number of international students, we must further enhance the financial aid resources available to international students.