Trustees Approve Budget, Increase Aid, and Set Tuition

Board members were on campus for their annual spring meeting.

At their spring meeting, members of the Board of Trustees advanced critical projects, approved operating and capital budgets, increased financial aid, and set next year’s tuition. The board also received updates on important initiatives, celebrated the achievements of recently tenured faculty, and heard remarks from two professors whose work with students exemplifies the Dartmouth model of research collaboration.

A Focus on Diversity, Inclusivity, and Accountability

The 2018 report on Dartmouth’s Inclusive Excellence action plan from the External Review Committee (ERC) was delivered to the board, and ERC Chair David T. Carreon Bradley discussed the progress to date as well as areas for improvement. The ERC reports to the board annually to assess accountability for the commitments outlined in the plan.

During Bradley’s presentation, the board learned that, in the last two years, the percentage of tenured and tenure track faculty from underrepresented groups has risen from 17.8 to 19.9 percent, and the growth of staff from underrepresented groups has gone from 7.6 to 10.9 percent. The ERC’s full report, along with findings and recommendations, will be published this coming week.

“It is essential that Dartmouth continue to strengthen all of the ways in which we foster and integrate diversity and inclusivity into the fabric of the institution and create new ways, as well,” said President Philip J. Hanlon ’77. “Progress is being made, but we can do more.”

Interim Dean of the College Kathryn Lively and Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Elizabeth Agosto provided a progress report on initiatives that are part of the Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF) plan, which President Hanlon launched in 2015 as part of an effort to make the Dartmouth campus more inclusive and to reduce high-risk behavior.

Agosto noted that more than 2,700 students participated in the Dartmouth Bystander Initiative (DBI) in the fall and winter terms. DBI, a component of the College’s Sexual Violence Prevention Project (SVPP), focuses on leadership and bystander intervention to mobilize the community to prevent stalking, harassment, dating and domestic violence, and sexual assault. Lively and Agosto also announced that the SVPP will partner with the University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovation Research Center, a leading violence prevention institute, on a comprehensive assessment plan. 

According to data from Dartmouth’s alcohol intervention education program, there has been an approximately 50 percent drop in reported hard alcohol consumption since the announcement of MDF.  Agosto made note of the focus of the Alcohol Management Policy (AMP), which emphasizes the health and safety of students at events where alcohol is served by focusing on training for alcohol service, increased event management, and increased security for large events.

Record $111.3 Million in Financial Aid, New Tuition Set

For the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1, the College has budgeted a record $111.3 million in financial aid, a 5.1 percent increase over the $105.9 million expected during fiscal year 2019. The trustees approved a 3.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2019-20 academic year. This rate increase is consistent with the 2018-19 rate increase. Undergraduate tuition will be $55,605, an increase of $2,109 over the current year’s tuition rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will be $73,578.

Board members affirmed the importance of affordability and access for all students through the continuation of Dartmouth’s generous financial aid program, noting that:

  • The expansion of financial aid exceeds the growth of tuition for the third consecutive year.
  • The average scholarship awarded to students receiving financial aid in the Class of 2022 was more than $51,000.
  • Free tuition is provided for students from families with total incomes of $100,000 or less and possessing typical assets. In the Class of 2022, 245 students are benefitting from this initiative.
  • 15.2 percent of students in the Class of 2022 are PELL grant recipients.
  • At a time when students and families are increasingly concerned about the cost of a college education, Dartmouth continues to be recognized for the exceptional value it offers and for the low debt load carried by graduates. In its 2019 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Dartmouth No. 10 in its “Great Schools, Great Price” category.

“Attracting the very best talent—whether it’s students, faculty, or staff—is our top priority and the key to enduring excellence,” Board Chair Laurel Richie ’81 said at the meeting. “Dartmouth’s generous financial aid program ensures that the transformative power of a liberal arts education and our dynamic teacher-scholar model are available to promising students from all backgrounds and perspectives.”

The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates and to students in the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and at Thayer School of Engineering, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Tuition for the Tuck School of Business will increase 4.1 percent, to $75,108, and tuition for the Geisel School of Medicine will increase 3.9 percent, to $65,566.

Operating and Capital Budgets, Endowment Distribution Approved

The trustees voted to approve Dartmouth’s 2020 fiscal year budgeted expenses of $1.083 billion. The board also approved a capital budget of $78.3 million to fund a number of building and renovation projects, including:

  • $11.7 million for upgrading the campus computer network
  • $9.9 million to advance the second phase of construction to extend north campus utilities from the north to the west end
  • $5.3 million for renovations to Kellogg Auditorium at the Geisel School of Medicine
  • $1.5 million to support the College’s energy infrastructure project
  • $250,000 to fund planning and feasibility for re-envisioning space in the Dartmouth Library’s Baker-Berry Library to better serve students, faculty, and staff

The board also approved an estimated distribution from the endowment for fiscal year 2020 of $271 million for operating and non-operating activities, a 7.2 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The 2020 distribution represents approximately 5.2 percent of the endowment value as of Dec. 31, 2018. The endowment distribution will fund approximately 25 percent of the operating budget.

A Dartmouth Model for Research

During a panel discussion on undergraduate and graduate research moderated by Provost Joseph Helble—who pointed out that 15 to 20 percent of Dartmouth’s annual expenditures come from sponsored research—the board heard from F. Jon Kull, dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and Margaret Funnell, director of undergraduate advising and research. Kull noted Dartmouth’s return to R1 status in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which signifies very high research activity that would not have been possible without the research conducted by faculty and by Guarini graduate students. Funnell said that 60 percent of graduating seniors reported participating in mentored faculty research. Her office is responsible for dispensing more than $1 million annually in grants for undergraduates to perform research, she told the board.

The trustees also heard from Mary Flanagan, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, and Interim Chair and Professor of Biomedical Data Science and Molecular and Systems Biology Michael Whitfield, along with their student collaborators. Each of the presenters described a distinctive research ecosystem at Dartmouth where there are few boundaries between disciplines, schools, and undergraduate and graduate students.

“The research experience for all Dartmouth students is different from that at the big research universities with whom we compete,” said Kull. “Our faculty lead small, intense research teams and our students enjoy unparalleled access to leaders in their fields—across all of our departments and professional schools. That’s a strong differentiator for us.”

After the meeting, the trustees celebrated senior faculty who have been newly promoted and appointed with a reception and dinner at the Hanover Inn.