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Dartmouth College to eliminate undergraduate student loans, replace them with scholarships

June 22, 2022

Dartmouth College has announced that it will eliminate all federal and institutional loans from its undergraduate financial aid packages and replace them with scholarship grants. The new policy will first take effect beginning with the 2022 summer term, reports Forbes magazine.

The no-loan financial aid packages—revealed by Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon—will benefit both current and future students, but they will not be applied retroactively to loans that Dartmouth students may have received before the start of the summer term.

Just last year, Dartmouth had eliminated loans for incoming students from families earning less than $125,000 per year, says Forbes.

But now, because of the fundraising success of the College’s “The Call to Lead Campaign,” Dartmouth is eliminating that threshold and will be offering no-loan, need-based financial aid to all eligible students.

According to the  news release from Dartmouth, the policy will reduce the college-related debt by an average of $22,000 over four years for about 450 Dartmouth students and their families.

In addition, because Dartmouth has been able to raise $120 million in scholarship gifts and pledges for its endowment in the past year, it has made other significant enhancements to its financial aid. For example, it now offers need-blind admissions to international students, thanks to a record $40 million gift from an anonymous donor; and it also has eliminated the expected parent contribution when calculating financial aid awards for students from families earning less than $65,000 per year.

Two recent gifts helped Dartmouth reach its no-loan financial aid goal. In May, Anne Kubik, a 1987 Dartmouth alum, added $10 million to an earlier commitment of support she had made. And an anonymous donor committed $25 million—endowing one of the largest scholarship funds in Dartmouth history.

But many others contributed as well. According to Dartmouth, more than 65 families gave to the campaign to eliminate the loan component of the college’s financial aid, committing more than $80 million in gifts to the endowment. That included several families who recently donated $5 million to eliminate loans in the financial aid awards for current undergraduate students going forward.

“Thanks to this extraordinary investment by our community, students can prepare for lives of impact with fewer constraints,” said President Hanlon. “Eliminating loans from financial aid packages will allow Dartmouth undergraduates to seek their purpose and passion in the broadest possible range of career possibilities.”

Dartmouth now joins several other leading, private institutions that have adopted a no-loan, need-based, financial aid policy. They include Williams College and Ivy League peers Brown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Research contact: @Forbes