At its annual winter meeting, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees celebrated faculty and student excellence and discussed ways to support continued academic innovation and intellectual risk-taking, increased financial aid, set next year’s tuition, and reviewed ongoing work to improve and expand space for academic learning and research.
Board members heard updates on work to provide increased faculty office space and on building and renovation projects, including the Thayer School of Engineering expansion, Dana Hall renewal, and renovation work planned for several other important building projects. Trustees, who were in town from March 1-3, met with faculty to hear about their research, scholarship, teaching, advising, professional development, and administrative service.
“Dartmouth faculty are among the nation’s preeminent scholars, researchers, and teachers,” said President Phil Hanlon ’77. “Their accomplishments inspire our students, advance knowledge in their fields, and bring accolades to the institution. They are key to the cultivation of a culture of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.”
Board members celebrated newly promoted and tenured faculty at a dinner and hosted a reception for graduate and professional school students and postdoctoral research fellows to learn more about their work and experiences at Dartmouth.
Decision on Undergraduate Enrollment
After receiving and considering a report from the Task Force on Enrollment Expansion, the board approved a recommendation from President Hanlon that the undergraduate student body should remain at its current level.
In a message today to the community, board Chair Laurel Richie ’81 wrote, “We thank the many members of the Dartmouth community who shared their thoughts about potential growth. These discussions affirmed our shared commitment to our mission to educate the most promising students and prepare them for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership.”
“At this moment, as we consider our shared future, it is important to remain focused on aligning our strategic budget priorities with promoting quality and excellence,” said Hanlon. “I would like to thank the co-chairs of the Task Force on Enrollment Expansion, Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith and Dean of the College Rebecca Biron, and all of the task force members for their rigorous examination of how the Dartmouth experience would be affected by an increase in undergraduate enrollment.”
Tuition Rates and an Increase in Financial Aid
The trustees approved a 3.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2018-19 academic year. Undergraduate tuition will be $53,496, an increase of $2,028 over the current year’s tuition rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will increase to $70,791.
Board members emphasized the importance of affordability and access for all students through the strengthening of Dartmouth’s generous financial aid program, noting that:
• For the 2019 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the College has budgeted a record $106 million in financial aid, a 4.4 increase over the amount expended in the current fiscal year. The expansion of financial aid exceeds the growth of tuition for the second consecutive year.
• Students with an annual family income of up to $100,000 receive free tuition and no loans for all four years. More than 200 students in the Class of 2021 benefit from this initiative.
• At a time when students and families are increasingly concerned about the cost of higher education, Dartmouth continues to be recognized for the exceptional value it offers and acknowledged for the low debt load carried by graduates. In its 2018 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Dartmouth No. 7 in “Best Value Schools” and listed it among the top-ranked universities for economic diversity.
• Since 2005, Dartmouth has more than doubled its scholarship awards. The average scholarship awarded to first-year students this year was $49,358.
“We are committed to providing every admitted student with the resources they need to experience the transformative opportunities of a Dartmouth education,” said Hanlon. “A robust, need-based financial aid program means that the most talented and promising students can join our community, regardless of their financial situation.”
The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates, students at the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and Thayer School of Engineering (Thayer offers graduate and undergraduate programs). Tuition at the Tuck School of Business will increase 4.7 percent to $72,150, offset by a reduction in program fees, resulting in an overall 3.9 percent increase in tuition and fees. Tuition at Geisel School of Medicine will increase 3 percent, to $63,080.
Operating and Capital Budgets, Endowment Distribution Approved
The trustees approved Dartmouth’s 2019 fiscal year operating budget of $1 billion and estimated distribution from the endowment for the next fiscal year of $250 million for operating and non-operating activities, a 6 percent increase over the current year. The 2019 distribution represents approximately 5.1 percent of the total endowment value as of December 31. The endowment distribution will fund approximately 23 percent of the operating budget.
Capital Budget: Improving Research and Teaching Spaces
The board also approved a capital budget of $51 million to fund a number of projects to provide more and improved space for research, teaching, and learning. The capital budget includes $14 million for West End enabling projects and planning and design in support of the expansion of Thayer, which will accommodate an increase in faculty and growing student interest in related courses and majors, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase experiential learning opportunities on campus. Board members also approved funding for the completion of design and abatement for the renovation of Dana Hall, which will provide new faculty office space, more research space, and additional parking; and for Blunt Alumni Center, where almost $4 million was approved to turn administrative space into classroom and other learning spaces. They heard updates on energy infrastructure planning, and on renovation of Chilcott Lab at the Geisel School of Medicine to provide more and flexible classroom space.
Trustees approved exploratory work on concepts and designs for a new 350-bed residential complex that will allow existing residential stock to be taken offline for renovation and renewal. Exploration of locations for the new residential space is included in the conceptual work.
The trustees voted to establish a new master of medical science (MMS) degree program at the Geisel School of Medicine. The program will be implemented in August 2018 and will grow slowly over several years to a maximum size of 10-15 students per year.
Consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ cybersecurity and privacy practice presented the board with a general overview of security risks associated with information systems and operation, the steps appropriate to mitigate those risks, and leading practices adopted by higher educational institutions.