Dartmouth Student Assembly president and student leaders at other universities sign initiative calling for the waiver of application fees for first-generation and low-income applicants

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 2/15/17 4:33pm

On Wednesday, 1vyG, an advocacy group for first-generation students, sent out a press release announcing its No Apologies Initiative, which calls for universities to eliminate application fees for low-income and first-generation college students by the 2017-18 application cycle. Student Assembly president Nick Harrington ’17 signed the press release, alongside student government representatives from the other members of the Ivy League, Northwestern University, Stanford University and the University of Chicago, as well as representatives for first-generation, low-income student groups from all members of the Ivy League.

The press release, written by 1vyG executive director and Brown student body president Viet Nguyen, describes Nguyen’s struggles to afford the various fees he encountered as he applied to college.

The release cites a 2014 report by the White House which found that application fees are one of the main reasons that low-income students choose not to apply to college. It also referred to a New York Times study which found that elite colleges in the United States have more students enrolled from the top one percent of family incomes than from the bottom 60 percent. The same study found that the College has the highest proportion of students from the top one percent in the Ivy League, and the 11th-highest proportion nationwide.

Nguyen applauds organizations like QuestBridge and Posse, which help low-income and first-generation students access higher education, and writes that colleges should do more to help these students. He refers to Bowdoin and Trinity Colleges, which waived application fees for first-generation students in 2015, as examples. Bowdoin also waived fees for all students applying for financial aid.

The College has a waiver process for the Common Application fee. According to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, the College "review[s] and reconsider[s]" the application fee and fee waiver process every year.

Update: The petition has been updated to include a signature from one of Dartmouth's First Generation Network student coordinators.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.