Dartmouth College will eliminate all federal and institutional student loans from its financial aid awards, replacing them with scholarship grants.
The change took effect at the beginning of Dartmouth’s summer term on June 23. Before the new policy, Dartmouth undergraduates from families making less than $125,000 annually were already offered need-based financial aid without a loan component, as of June 2021. Now, all undergraduates receiving need-based financial aid will no longer have a loan component.
Dartmouth shared that the policy change was made possible by over $80 million in gifts from over 65 alumni. College debt will decrease by an average of $22,000 over four years for about 450 Dartmouth students, according to a news release from Dartmouth.
Dartmouth is among the six Ivy League universities, including Penn, to adopt a no-loan policy. Implemented in 2009, Penn’s policy allows students from all income levels to receive financial aid packages without loans.
Today, 46% of current undergraduate students at Penn receive grant-based financial aid in 2020-2021, with an average package of $56,095. Yet, 32% of 2015 Penn graduates still took out loans to pay for college. These students graduated with an average debt of $18,900 in federal and nonfederal student loans.
Dartmouth's no-loan policy is part of the university's The Call to Lead campaign, which is “a bold invitation to Dartmouth’s global community to engage with the great issues of this century and the next," according to its website.
“Thanks to this extraordinary investment by our community, students can prepare for lives of impact with fewer constraints,” said Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon. “Eliminating loans from financial aid packages will allow Dartmouth undergraduates to seek their purpose and passion in the broadest possible range of career possibilities.”
Dartmouth has implemented other changes to financial aid following the $120 million dollars they raised in scholarship gifts the last year, including offering need-blind admissions to international students.