October 26–28, 2017

Ben Schwartz ’06, chair of the Enrollment and Admissions Committee, opened the session by welcoming all members and introducing guest speaker Dino Koff, director of financial aid. Dino began by expressing three key statements that define financial aid at Dartmouth.

The College guarantees to meet one hundred percent of a family’s financial need as demonstrated on the financial aid application. Additionally, Dartmouth offers free tuition for applicants whose gross annual incomes and typical assets are less than $100,000. The admissions office reviews applications need-blind. This allows the College to render decisions that are solely based on merit, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. The only exception is for international applicants, who are read need-aware. This international policy is in line with that of most of our peers.

While Dartmouth’s financial aid offers are competitive, Dino remarked that the College struggles to enroll middle income students. The financial aid team is going to more closely consider the financial aid applications for these students in order to be sure we are offering a competitive and reasonable financial aid award.

Finally, Dino discussed the importance of philanthropy in sustaining Dartmouth’s financial aid budget, as the percent and amount of federal money (Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, etc) and unrestricted money (funds from endowment) have been decreasing in recent years, while the amount of restricted funds has increased. It is these restricted funds that continue to sustain Dartmouth’s ability to enroll the best students, regardless of their ability to afford the tuition.

The session concludes by talking to four current students at Dartmouth. We heard about their path to Dartmouth, how alumni influenced the process, and about their experiences at the College to date.

Ben Schwartz ’06 closed the session by thanking the committee and encouraging them to keep the interesting dialogue and conversation going after the meeting.