Universal Need-Blind International Admissions: FAQs

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Find answers regarding Dartmouth’s announcement that we have expanded our need-blind admissions policy to include international students.


On Jan. 12, Dartmouth announced it has expanded its need-blind admissions policy to include international students.

A $40 million gift from an anonymous donor topped off the $90 million fundraising push to make Dartmouth the sixth U.S. college or university to offer need-blind admissions to international students and to meet 100% of all students’ demonstrated financial need. More than 440 alumni and parents on six continents made this change in admissions policy possible through their generosity.

Why is universal need-blind admissions important?

Dartmouth’s Presidential Commission on Financial Aid frames the issue this way: It’s a critical matter of fairness and inclusion. It’s also a matter of high strategic importance to Dartmouth, as going need-blind for international students sends a rare, powerful message to the world about the school’s ambition for global leadership and vision.

What’s the significance of making this change to Dartmouth’s admissions policy?

It has been decades since an institution adopted such an expansive admissions policy, and the change is particularly significant now as the number of non-U.S. applicants has risen dramatically in recent years.

When does this change in Dartmouth’s admissions policy go into effect?

Immediately, beginning with applicants to the Class of 2026.

Does this mean international students will receive larger financial aid awards?

No, this will not change the size of the financial aid packages awarded to incoming or current international students. This change to Dartmouth’s undergraduate admissions policy simply means that financial need will not be a consideration when Dartmouth is deciding whether to offer admission to a non-U.S. applicant.

How long has Dartmouth offered need-blind admissions to U.S. students?

Since the 1970s.

Didn’t Dartmouth offer need-blind admissions to international students once before?

Yes, Dartmouth briefly offered need-blind admissions for non-U.S. students, beginning in 2008. Without a dedicated source of funding, however, the effort proved unsustainable.

How will this time be different?

With a dedicated investment of $90 million in scholarship funding, there is greater confidence of long-term viability.

Will Dartmouth continue to fundraise for scholarship to support international students?

Yes. Dartmouth established the $90 million goal as the minimum threshold needed to ensure sustained financial aid support for international students. As with U.S. students, the financial aid budget continues to grow annually, so ongoing fundraising will be essential to ensuring continued support.

Is there anything more you can tell us about the gift or why the donor has chosen to remain anonymous?

This gift is the single largest scholarship gift in Dartmouth’s 253-year history. The donor feels that this is Dartmouth’s moment on the world stage and wishes the story to focus on Dartmouth’s values, expressed in this new admissions policy.

What percentage of the undergraduate student population comes from outside of the U.S.?

During the current academic year, international students account for 14% of our first-year undergraduates, which is approximately the median of our Ivy League peers.

Will this change in Dartmouth’s admissions policy increase the number of international students on campus?

While that’s possible, it’s not the goal. The fundamental goal of this admissions policy change is to ensure that Dartmouth treats all applicants equally.

Beyond financial aid, how does Dartmouth help international students make the transition to life in Hanover?

Dartmouth supports admitted international students even before they arrive in Hanover. The Office of Pluralism and Leadership’s International Student Mentor Program supports incoming international undergraduates by matching them in groups with an upper-level student mentor. Mentors contact incoming mentees over the summer to provide information, answer questions, and share their experiences. These mentor-mentee groups continue into the International Student Pre-Orientation Program, which introduces new students to Dartmouth resources and opportunities.

How much total scholarship funding is Dartmouth attempting to raise through The Call to Lead campaign?

The goal is $500 million. To date, members of the Dartmouth community have generously committed nearly $372 million.

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