College sees impact of financial aid initiative

by Omer Ismail | 11/23/99 6:00am

The introduction of the comprehensive Financial Aid Initiative last fall has positively impacted Dartmouth admissions, increasing the regular decision yield and the number of international students on financial aid, according to Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg.

Furstenberg said the financial aid changes, which will be phased in over a four-year period, have also partially impacted the admission statistics of the Class of 2003 -- Dartmouth's most academically and racially diverse class ever.

Virginia Hazen, director of the Financial Aid Office, said although the College cannot currently assess the numerical size of the impact, she is "very sure that without the initiative we would have seen a decrease in Dartmouth's qualified applicant pool."

The new financial aid initiative targets lower and middle-income families, reducing loans and increasing scholarship aid by 6 percent. Such changes have resulted in a higher number of international students needing aid accepted by the College.

The new plan also allows students to keep their outside scholarship funds, using them to reduce loans and job portions of their financial aid packages. This has encouraged students to actively seek for external sources of aid and also made donors more willing to give, Hazen said.

The financial aid initiative has also implemented a new criteria for assessing family assets, making more applicants qualify for financial aid.

Last year, Dartmouth joined Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford Universities in introducing changes to their financial aid policies. However, in contrast to Dartmouth, the Yale Daily News reported the changes at Yale University have had a minimal impact on admission numbers.

"Our program is more comprehensive than Yale's, which only focussed on the asset side," Furstenberg said, adding Princeton is the only other school which introduced extensive changes like Dartmouth did.