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Dartmouth Baker-Berry Library on May 27, 2020

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Dartmouth College will now include international students in its need-blind admissions policy.

This change means that Dartmouth will no longer consider an applicant's ability to pay in evaluating international students, as well as United States citizens and permanent residents. The policy shift took effect with the Class of 2026, including early decision applicants who already received their decisions this December. 

There are only five other U.S. colleges — Amherst College, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and Yale University — that currently meet 100% of applicants’ needs regardless of their citizenship status. While Penn is need-blind for applicants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Penn still considers international applicants' ability to pay.

In 2018, Dartmouth started the Call to Lead program, an initiative with projects focused on engaging with the issues presented in society now and in the future. According to the college’s press release, among these projects, Dartmouth has raised $372 million of its $500 million plan to “expand educational opportunity through financial aid.” 

With the Call to Lead campaign, Dartmouth aimed to reach a fundraising goal of $90 million and add international students to its need-blind admissions policy. The Dartmouth reported that an anonymous $40 million donation allowed the campaign to reach its goal. 

This new admissions policy follows a federal antitrust lawsuit that accused Dartmouth and 15 other colleges and universities of colluding on financial aid policies to inflate the cost of admission, though Dartmouth spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote that this policy change's timing was  “unrelated to the lawsuit” in an emailed statement to the Dartmouth.

According to Lawrence, even though the Call to Lead campaign met its goal of $3 billion in October 2021, the college still has “more work to do to complete some key priorities.”

Dartmouth had implemented universal need-blind admissions in previous years from the Class of 2012 through the Class of 2019 but ended up reversing the policy for international students in 2015. The vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid Lee Coffin told The Dartmouth that universal need-blind admissions in prior years was “an ideal without the [financial] resource.”

“The best gift I can give to each enrolling class is a peer group that is drawn from as many different backgrounds as we can gather together in Hanover, and that includes international students," Coffin said to The Dartmouth.