The Dartmouth Board of Trustees approved a 2.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2014-15 academic year, representing the lowest percentage increase since 1977.
The decision, made at the Board’s March 8, 2014 meeting, is enabled by a budget process that includes robust investment in innovation and excellence through rigor, discipline, and the identification and support for Dartmouth’s most important academic priorities. This significant rollback from previous years’ increases is part of a strategy to slow the growth of the cost of a Dartmouth education.
“I applaud the Board for emphasizing the need to invest in our academic programs while at the same time keeping Dartmouth affordable for a diverse and talented student body,” said President Phil Hanlon ’77. “To do this will require thoughtful and strategic deployment of our institutional resources, prioritizing the most compelling investments in excellence and innovation. Today, the Board has sent a powerful signal that they’re fully engaged in helping us achieve this.”
The Trustees approved FY15 operating and capital budgets, expressed support for revision of Dartmouth’s disciplinary system for sexual assault, and elected a new Board Chair. They also heard about changes in student housing planned for the coming academic year, and longer-range improvements in the residential College experience that will promote continuity and choice for all students. In addition Interim Provost Martin Wybourne led a series of presentations by a number of faculty and staff members that focused on the intersection of the liberal arts and technology and how Dartmouth can use learning technologies to enhance its core mission of teaching and learning.
Revision of sexual assault disciplinary system
The Board voiced unanimous support for a proposal from President Hanlon and Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson to comprehensively revise Dartmouth’s disciplinary system for sexual assault by students. The proposal will be posted on the College website this week and members of the community will be invited to submit comments and suggestions by April 14, with a goal of implementing the new policy by the beginning of Summer Term.
Under the proposal, a single system would apply to undergraduates, graduate students, and student organizations. Key features of the proposal include use of a trained external investigator to investigate and determine responsibility for sexual assault, and strengthened sanctions including:
- Mandatory expulsion in cases involving penetration accomplished by force, threat, or purposeful incapacitation or where an assault involving penetration is motivated by bias;
- Mandatory expulsion where the charged student has previously been found responsible for sexual assault; and
- In other cases involving penetration, a strong presumption in favor of expulsion.
President Hanlon and Dean Johnson said they believe the new system would encourage reporting, expedite the process, increase consistency in sanctioning, and represent a stronger deterrent to sexual assault.
The Board heard presentations from the Dean of the College division on housing changes for the 2014-15 year including the introduction of three new “Living Learning Communities” that integrate opportunities for learning, leadership, and service. The pilots, launching in fall 2014, will center around entrepreneurship, global living, as well as several “design-your-own” theme communities for first-year and upper-class students. The board discussed a comprehensive “neighborhood approach” to housing that would direct students to separate areas of campus, or neighborhoods, after their first year where they could remain for the duration of their Dartmouth career.
“We are thrilled to have the Board’s support for these new concepts,” said Dean Johnson. “We are working closely with students and faculty to develop a range of housing options for the future.
Tuition rates and financial aid
Undergraduate tuition for the 2014-15 academic year will be $46,763, an increase of $1,319 over the current year’s tuition rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will increase to $61,947.
The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates and to students in the Dartmouth Graduate Studies programs and at Thayer School of Engineering, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Tuition for the Geisel School of Medicine will increase 5 percent to $56,104, and tuition for the Tuck School of Business will increase 4.5 percent to $61,605.
Board members also reaffirmed their commitment to affordability through continuation of Dartmouth’s long-standing need-blind undergraduate admission and generous need-based financial aid program. For FY15, Dartmouth has budgeted $85 million in financial aid, a 5.9 percent increase over the $80 million in awards projected for the current fiscal year. Since 2007, Dartmouth has increased scholarship awards by more than 50 percent.
Other aspects of Dartmouth’s commitment to financial aid:
- Free tuition and no loans for all four years for undergraduates with annual family income up to $100,000.
- At less than $11,000 of total indebtedness per graduating student, Dartmouth has one of the lowest median levels of debt nationwide for families with incomes above $100,000.
- Current financial aid recipients receive, on average, a need-based grant that covers 69 percent of the cost of attending Dartmouth.
- The average scholarship is more than $41,000.
- Approximately 10 percent of current students are the first in their families to attend college
- About 13 percent are recipients of federal Pell Grants, which aid students from low-income families.
- In U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 college rankings, Dartmouth placed eighth among national universities for value, based on a school’s academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.
Board approves FY15 operating and capital budgets, endowment distribution
The Trustees voted to approve Dartmouth’s fiscal year 2015 operating budget of $1 billion. In addition, the Board approved a FY15 capital budget of $54 million to fund a number of projects, including replacement of the West Stands at Memorial Field and renovation of Alumni Gym.
The Board also approved an estimated distribution from the endowment for FY15 of $192 million for operating and non-operating activities, a 3 percent increase over FY14. The budgeted distribution for FY15 represents approximately 4.8 percent of the endowment value as of December 31, 2013. In FY15, distributions from the endowment will fund approximately 19 percent of the operating budget.
Helman elected Board Chair
The Board voted to elect Bill Helman ’80 as Chair for a three-year term, beginning after Commencement in June. He will succeed Chair Steve Mandel Jr. ’78, who has led the board for four years. Board members extended their thanks and gratitude to Mandel.
“Steve has been an amazing leader and Board Chair in every way imaginable,” said Helman. “There is no way to replace him—his dedication to Dartmouth, his willingness to do anything to help, his energy and ideas around how to make Dartmouth better. He is truly inspirational.”
The Trustees also had the opportunity to attend Friday night’s Dartmouth Idol finals, which included a surprise video of President Hanlon and his wife, Gail Gentes.