Dartmouth Eliminates Student Loans

21K School · Apr 15, 2023 · 3 min read

Dartmouth Eliminates Student Loans

In a welcome move for undergraduate students, Dartmouth College President, Philip J. Hanlon, announced that Dartmouth would substitute all federal and university loans in its financial aid programme with enhanced scholarships. This historic change will begin with the 2022 summer semester, which starts on June 23.

A remarkable series of updates have helped transform Dartmouth’s financial aid resources and policies. While the university has always provided assistance to students from low-income backgrounds, this switch to a no-loan financial aid policy will help undergrads from middle-income families. Dartmouth’s updated policies also include additional financial aid for families making under $65,000 annually. Further, the institute is expanding its need-blind admissions for international students and offering support for students taking part in off-campus activities.

The Call to Lead initiative has helped strengthen Dartmouth’s dedication to making a college education affordable and accessible for students from all over the world and from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Its new no-loan policy was made possible thanks to generous donations of more than $120 million.

President Hanlon states that “students can study for lives of influence with fewer restraints thanks to this amazing investment by our society.” This move will help Dartmouth undergrads pursue their purpose, passion and career path without the burden of education loans.

The campaign’s drive to eliminate student loans saw two major donations, amongst others. Anne Kubik, class of ’87, increased her initial pledge by $10 million in May to help the project get off the ground. She is a member of the Presidential Commission on Financial Aid and one of the project’s original supporters. The final $25 million came from an unidentified donor, creating one of Dartmouth’s most significant scholarship endowments.

Undergraduates at Dartmouth with average assets from households with yearly incomes of $125,000 or less already qualify for need-based help without a loan. Now, Dartmouth has also eliminated the loan requirement for eligible undergrads from households with annual earnings of more than $125,000. Further, no applicant for the AB undergraduate course is required to take out a loan. Another campaign objective is to raise scholarship rewards and lower borrowing obligations of 5th-year Bachelor of Engineering students.

Due to this policy update, several middle-income Dartmouth students and their families will see an average decrease of $22,000 in debt over four years. Moreover, recent grads can consider career opportunities or graduate programs they may not have been able to pursue before.

Aid To Middle-Income Families

For the 2022–2023 academic year, about 450 Dartmouth undergraduates have received financial aid offers that include loans. However, as scholarships and grants replace these loans, annual student debt will reduce by as much as $5,500.

According to Dino Koff, director of financial aid at Dartmouth, the transition to a universal no-loan policy will benefit middle-income families who frequently have to stretch their budget to cover the cost of higher education.

In endowed financial assistance funds, the Dartmouth community has already contributed more than $388 million toward a broad campaign target of $500 million through June 2023. During the Call to Lead initiative, alumni, parents, and friends created 434 new or improved endowed scholarships. This initiative saw a significant increase compared to Dartmouth’s last campaign, which received donations totalling $139 million and 188 financial assistance funds endowments.

Dartmouth has been able to accomplish the following, thanks to contributions made during the Call to Lead campaign:

  • Become one of just six higher education institutions in America to accept all bachelor’s applications without regard to financial need and to provide for all substantiated needs;
  • Eliminate any parental contribution for families with annual earnings of $65,000 or less and average assets;
  • Provide financial aid to undergraduates in courses away from school, including those taken abroad.

Leslie Dahl, a commission co-chair, said, “The presidential commission takes delight in this statement as we end our two-year charter.” Dartmouth’s financial aid program has gone from being generous to ranking among the top in a very competitive peer group because President Hanlon was determined to implement the full range of these initiatives.


The commission has concentrated on three main objectives while collaborating with the Office of Financial Aid: securing immediate financial aid funding to assist students whose families had been impacted by the pandemic; educating the Dartmouth community about the importance of financial aid to all students, including those who do not obtain it; and creating a long-term, viable plan of action to ensure a financial assistance programme that guarantees access, availability, and affordability. 

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