Presidential Commission Leads Strong Community Response to Student Need

As donors pledge $40 million to financial aid in four months, commissioners dig into scholarship issues.

Aerial shot of Baker Tower at sunrise

Dartmouth’s first-ever Presidential Commission on Financial Aid, formally announced in late September, has hit the ground running. The 27-member commission is analyzing data, meeting with dozens of College officials, and preparing to roll out a multiple-year plan that will galvanize the Dartmouth community’s commitment to creating a robust scholarship program that supports every student who needs financial aid.

As the commission has launched into its responsibilities, the Dartmouth community has responded generously to the appeal to focus on the pressing financial aid need in the wake of the pandemic causing economic devastation for hundreds students’ families. Since the mid-May rededication of The Call to Lead campaign and establishment of the commission, donors have pledged nearly $40 million to scholarship support: $32.3 million for endowed scholarships and $6.7 million toward the special Bridge to Recovery Fund to help students in the next two fiscal years.

Dartmouth's financial aid budget

Along with the surge in financial aid requests, the College is confronting multiple financial challenges caused by the pandemic, most significantly room and board revenue losses during the spring, summer, and fall terms and extraordinary public health expenses incurred to address COVID-19.

 

 

Jake Tapper Headshot

“It is so important and such an honor to help pave the path for future students to get an excellent Dartmouth education regardless of their ability to pay for it.”

- Jake Tapper ’91

Dartmouth has taken dramatic steps to reduce expenditures, including a hiring freeze through December, cancellation of salary merit increases, postponing several campus initiatives, and a series of short- and long-term cost-cutting measures. These actions have substantially reduced, but not erased, the projected $83 million operating loss for fiscal year 2021.

In late September, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 named the full commission and outlined its four-part mandate:
 

  • Bring greater clarity to the true impact of socioeconomic diversity on our students’ learning experience and upward mobility, with an emphasis on the urgency and vulnerabilities of this moment in our nation’s history
     
  • Capture and share stories of personal transformation made possible through scholarship funding that expands access to the full Dartmouth experience
     
  • Create a vibrant philanthropic plan of action to achieve the remaining $276 million endowed scholarship goal contained in The Call to Lead campaign
     
  • Identify emerging trends that will inform Dartmouth’s vision and strategies for attracting a socioeconomically diverse applicant pool in the coming decades.
     
  • “Our commitment to making sure no Dartmouth family must choose between their child’s education and living expenses is unwavering,” says President Hanlon. “Despite the economic pressures on the College, we will support our students through these difficult times.”

Byron Boston

“I am a product of Dartmouth College, financial aid, and the St. Louis alumni community. Many Dartmouth alums poured into my life. Hence, this is a great opportunity for me to work and help others receive the assistance they need to succeed.”

- Byron Boston ’81

Andi Boston

“Although I’m not a Dartmouth alumna, my husband was transformed by his experience in so many wonderful ways. This was only possible through financial aid. I aspire to help extend this rich experience to other promising students who may not otherwise be able to attend.”

- Andi Boston

Meet the Commissioners

Co-chairs:

Leslie A. Davis Dahl ’85 and W. Robert Dahl Jr. P’18, Greenwich, Conn.
Julie McColl-McKenna ’89 and David M. McKenna ’89 P’18 P’24, Sudbury, Mass.

Members: 

Dana Kulik Banga and Angad Banga ’06, Hong Kong
Alexandra Bernadotte ’92, Oakland, Calif.
Andrea Boston and Byron Boston ’81, Jacksonville, Fla.
Carnell T. J. Chosa ’94, Santa Fe, N.M.
Barbara C. Haldeman and Charles E. Haldeman Jr. ’70, P’03, P’08, Haverford, Penn.
Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel P’15 and John H. Krehbiel Jr., P’87, P’91, THP’92, P’94, Chicago
Anne C. Kubik, M.D. ’87, P’21, Vail, Colo.
Carmen D. Lopez ’97, Rio Rancho, N.M.
P. Andrews McLane ’69, TU’73, TUP’14, Weston, Mass.
Hadley Mullin ’96 and Daniel M. Kalafatas ’96, Ross, Calif.
Ephrat Ofer and J.J. Ofer ’00; New York City
Robin Reynolds ’91 and Jake Reynolds ’90, Palo Alto, Calif.
Jennifer Brown Tapper and Jake Tapper ’91, Washington, D.C.
Heather Rosbe Vrattos ’91 and William C. Vrattos ’91, P’23, New York City

Angad Banga

“A Dartmouth education is a transformative experience that played a critical role in shaping me into the person I am today. All students should have access to this unique opportunity regardless of their financial position.”

- Angad Banga ’06

Dan Kalafats headshot

“So many of my life’s blessings have been catalyzed by the aid my parents, grandparents, and I received along the way. It’s our turn now—especially now—to benefit the future like others benefitted in the past. It’s our time.”

- Daniel M. Kalafatas ’96