Dartmouth Announces Families Making Under $125K Pay Nothing, Thanks to Historic Gift

The college is boosting the "zero parent contribution" threshold from $65,000 annual family income to $125,000.
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Published on March 26, 2024
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  • Dartmouth is meeting all college financial needs for students from families making less than $125,000.
  • Students from qualifying families will be expected to pay $5,000 at most per year for their education through summer jobs or on-campus jobs.
  • Alum and former Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt and his wife, Barbara Britt, made a bequest of more than $150 million to the school. The gift will go toward financial aid and scholarships.
  • The gift will allow the school to raise the "zero parent contribution" threshold from $65,000 to $125,000 beginning with the next academic year. This policy change will impact about 350 families.

Dartmouth is expanding financial aid, ensuring families making under $125,000 a year pay nothing for their student's education starting next academic year.

Dartmouth alum and former Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, who died in 2014, and his wife, Barbara Britt, who died in August, made a bequest to the college and its Tuck School of Business of over $150 million, which will help erase expenses for students from middle-income families.

The college announced March 25 that a historic scholarship, established from the Britts' gift, will enable the "zero parent contribution" threshold to jump from $65,000 annual family income to $125,000.

The new threshold will apply to all qualifying incoming first-year students, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Dartmouth said the new policy will benefit about 350 families of currently enrolled students. While qualifying families are expected to pay nothing toward college costs, students will be expected to contribute no more than $5,000 a year through summer and on-campus jobs.

"Glenn Britt credited Dartmouth for transforming his life, and he was tremendously grateful for the financial aid award that made his Dartmouth experience possible," President Sian Leah Beilock said in the press release.

"By elevating the family contribution threshold to $125,000, we will not only be saying to them that a Dartmouth education is within reach; we will also be adding to the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints of our students, an educational plus for everyone on campus."

One-quarter of the gift will go to the Tuck School of Business to fund scholarships for students with higher financial burdens, like first-generation students — who make up 19% of the school's class of 2025. The rest will enhance financial aid awards for undergraduates.

The gift allows Dartmouth to:

  • Become the nation's sixth higher education institution to offer need-blind admissions and meet undergraduate applicants' full financial needs regardless of citizenship
  • Replace undergraduate student loans with scholarships
  • Expand financial aid to students studying off-campus and abroad

Colleges, universities, and medical and nursing schools nationwide are enabling students of all incomes to pursue higher education. Many colleges are removing either tuition barriers or providing completely free education to students from lower-income families, undocumented students, Native American students, and more.

Dartmouth is leading many Ivy League schools offering free education for qualifying students and provides among the most generous thresholds for zero-family contributions. Princeton University, Harvard University, and Yale University offer students free education for a threshold of at most $100,000 annual family income.

Elite colleges like Vanderbilt University and Duke University offer free tuition for qualifying students from families making $150,000 or less per year.

BestColleges found over 80 colleges and universities offering qualifying students at least free tuition. Most require only the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a state aid application and an application to the school.