Dartmouth College will join the handful of U.S. universities that offer admission to undergraduate students from around the world, regardless of their ability to pay, in an effort to improve the diversity of their admissions.
From this year onwards, foreign applicants will be selected in the same “need-blind” way as U.S. citizens and offered financial assistance if their family income is insufficiently assessed to pay the annual class and living expenses of $ 80,000.
Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth, told the Financial Times: “Talent is spread all over the world. We want to remove any financial barriers. This step benefits every student on campus, not just international students. Tomorrow’s leaders must be world citizens. By bringing our students from all over the world together. . . they will learn from their peers. ”
The move comes at a time of rising higher education costs in the US and growing concerns about the volume of unpaid student debt, prompting calls for write-offs.
It also follows a recent reduction in demand by international students, coupled with stricter visa conditions and hostile rhetoric by Donald Trump, the former US president, as well as travel and study restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dartmouth, based in New Hampshire, increased its share of international students below its annual intake of 1,150 from 8 percent in 2013 when Hanlon took the lead, to 14 percent in its most recent class. While he said there is no target, he expected “international applications to skyrocket” and would not be surprised if the ratio reaches 25 percent in the coming decade.
Dartmouth has increased and diversified recruitment abroad from students often drawn from wealthier families in Canada, Europe, China and India to provide financial assistance to those from other countries such as Kenya, Vietnam and Brazil.
The college is the first in the prestigious Ivy League in a decade to offer universal need-blind admission, following Harvard, Yale and Princeton as well as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and liberal arts college Amherst. This was made possible by donations of $ 90 million to his Call to Lead campaign, including a record $ 40 million donation from a single anonymous donor, which complements his $ 8.5 billion donation.
Some U.S. colleges have announced need-blind admissions policies over the past few years and later abandoned them, citing financial pressure at a time when their costs were rising. Supporters of the system argue that it boosts diversity. Critics warn that it could encourage students from lower-income families to apply to expensive institutions and incur high debt as part of financial aid packages to cover their costs.
This week the Wall Street Journal first reported what a group of alumni had of the country’s elite colleges sued, including Dartmouth, who accused them of participating in an alleged cartel by operating “need-aware” admissions that took applicants’ financial needs into account.
Dartmouth has a wider $ 500 million fundraising campaign to be reached in 2023, which includes a program to switch from loans offered as part of financial aid packages to full scholarships.
It has limited tuition fee increases and recently raised the threshold so that applicants’ families with incomes below $ 125,000 per year have full tuition scholarships.