22 Apr

Dartmouth’s Free-for-All Tuition Plan Scrapped

The elite private universities have often been forerunners when it comes to offering generous financial aid packages. In fact, back in 2007 over a dozen schools–including Dartmouth, Amherst, and Harvard–committed to fully-funded (loan free) tuition packages for students under certain income levels.

Many of these schools have reportedly doubled (or even tripled) their financial aid offerings over the past decade, but Dartmouth’s latest plan–to offer loan-free aid to students of all income levels starting with the freshman class of 2011–has just hit a brick wall.

Making Cuts

According to USA Today, private colleges (whose yearly cost of attendance can top $50,000) have been fighting hard to keep their costs down and their attendance numbers steady. They have cut sports teams, made training and staff cuts, cut benefits to remaining staff, and put building projects on hold, all in the name of keeping the financial aid coffers full. Dartmouth officials recently announced a plan to lay off 76 employees in an effort to boost the budget by $100 million. Unfortunately, college officials say that even closing this gap will not enable them to fulfill their dream of free tuition for all their students.

Making Do

Though times are still tough–even for prestigious private schools–many colleges are making a solid effort to ensure that their students still receive the aid they need. Dartmouth, for example, recently approved its lowest cost of attendance increase ever (4.6%), and plans to increase the financial aid budget by 10%.


While Dartmouth has been forced by budget restrictions to cut the plan to offer no-loan aid to all students (regardless of family income), that doesn’t mean the “No Loan” program is disappearing. According to the Dartmouth News, the college plans to stick by its current program, which offers free tuition to students whose families make $75,000 or less each year – a generous offering that is well above the $30,000 income limit their no-loan program had in 2007.

Uncertain Times

With student loan policies in flux and college financial aid offerings still shaky, many families feel more nervous about funding college than ever before. The key to tackling the ever-rising college costs is to create a personalized plan that your family can use to map out how to save and pay for college, even as your family’s goals and needs change.

Because anyone’s situation can change in an instant, it is important for you to be able to adapt and change course so you can ensure the best education for your children, and the best financial outcome for the whole family. Times are changing, and your college plan needs to evolve to keep pace.

All the best,
Deborah Fox


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One Response to “Dartmouth’s Free-for-All Tuition Plan Scrapped”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » More Bad News for Financial Aid Hopefuls Says:

    […] recent study for 2009 (a year that already saw many schools making big aid cuts) showed that donors gave less than usual to collegiate “annual funds,” the yearly funds […]

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