Sustaining Our Mission

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Sustaining our Mission

Funding Dartmouth's Financial Aid program


How do we keep the delicate balance between the increasing need for financial aid and the funding to provide it? Dartmouth relies on the generous philanthropy provided by Dartmouth alumni, parents, and community members through both endowed funds and annual fund giving.

One of the larger challenges facing higher education is its rapidly rising cost. In the past 15 years, Dartmouth has significantly increased the total share of scholarships it provides each year to students. The average scholarship is now $67,000 per year. A robust endowment makes this possible and sustainable.


Need Help Understanding How it All Works?

Watch this Dr. Seuss-inspired video about the rhyme and reason behind how Dartmouth uses its funds.

  • Dartmouth’s financial aid program relies on two main sources of funding: endowments and annual fund gifts. Here’s how they work together:

  • Endowments are gifts that are specifically designated by the donor and invested for the long term. Almost all endowment gifts are restricted: that they can only legally be used for what the donor has intended, so only a small portion of Dartmouth's total current endowment can be used for scholarships. Related: Yearly Endowment Reports

  • This is why Dartmouth also relies so heavily on annual gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund. The DCF is an unrestricted current use fund that must be spent and raised from scratch annually, and can be used for whatever Dartmouth needs most—which is almost always financial aid.

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John Phillips



The Oldest Endowment Still At Work

Endowment funds are created to last “in perpetuity.” How long is that? Consider this: the first endowed fund created at Dartmouth was the John Phillips 1777H Professorship in Theology Fund, established in August 1789, with a gift of 37 pounds, 10 shillings and various tracts of land from Phillips, an honorary member of the Class of 1777. Today, more than 200 years later, the market value of the fund is $696,581.48. The estimated annual distribution is currently just over $35,000.


Cost of funding a Dartmouth student per year - infographic

Everyone Benefits from Financial Aid

Tuition alone meets less than half of the total cost of a Dartmouth education. The annual billed cost for a Dartmouth student for 2022–2023 is $80,304, but, the actual per-student cost to the College is nearly $140,000. So even students who pay full tuition are subsidized by Dartmouth—everyone benefits from financial aid.


I am a product of Dartmouth, financial aid, and the St. Louis alumni community. I want to help others receive the assistance they need to succeed like I did. — Byron Boston ’81



Historic Milestones

  • In May 2020, President Hanlon announced the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Financial Aid (the “PCFA”), charged with taking a deep dive into Dartmouth’s undergraduate financial aid programs and developing an in-depth understanding of student and family need.
  • The PCFA First Year Report includes three recommendations: preserve, protect, and defend Dartmouth’s need-blind admissions policy; replace student loans with endowed scholarships; and institute need-blind admissions for all international students.
  • Dartmouth achieved two historic financial aid milestones in 2022: expanded need-blind admissions to all students, regardless of citizenship; and removed all loans from student financial aid packages, replacing them with education grants. Major gifts from donors made each initiative possible.


Dartmouth Adopts Need-Blind International Admissions

A $90 million investment in our global future. 

Financial Aid Gave us a New Future

Alumni and students from diverse backgrounds share how financial aid—and Dartmouth—changed the course of their lives. 



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