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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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What Does It Cost to Attend Dickinson College?

Whether your student is preparing a school list for college applications next year, or in the process of deciding which college to attend, college costs probably play a significant role in the student’s ultimate decision. We know that trying to estimate the costs of attendance of a school can be a headache. That’s why we’ve written this post to help navigate tuition costs and financial aid in general, as well as for Dickinson College specifically to help prospective students.


Why College Costs of Attendance are Highly Variable


Aside from the prices listed on every institution’s page for tuition, there are many other numbers you’ll see floating around on the internet, and it’s probably confusing. There’s a good reason for that though; for any given college, most students don’t end up paying the price listed on the college’s tuition page. The number and term you should look for instead is the net cost, which refers to what families actually pay out of their pockets, including loans.


Generally, the elements that will reduce net cost come down to three parts:


  1. Government aid at the federal, state, or local levels
  2. Institutional financial aid
  3. Merit scholarships


So if your student attends Dickinson College, don’t feel too daunted by the list price on Dickinson’s tuition page! Read on to learn how you can reduce your net cost.


Dickinson College’s List Price


The list price is where you should begin in estimating costs of attendance. For the 2016-2017 school year, the list price for Dickinson College was $66,779. It includes tuition, room and board, and other expected miscellaneous expenses like student activity fees. Since it’s a private institution, the number was the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.


Remember that most families don’t pay the full amount. Those who do generally have a total family income of over $175,000 per year.


Cost of Attendance with Financial Aid


Institutional financial aid is probably the most predictable part of reducing costs of attendance. The greater a family’s financial need, the more aid they will qualify for. For Dickinson students, the average net cost was $56,472 after financial aid only. To give you a sense of how much aid your child might receive based on your family’s total annual income, refer to the table below.


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $11,974
$30,001-$48,000 $10,217
$48,001-$75,000 $17,286
$75,001-$110,000 $27,738
Over $110,000 $41,768

*The figures listed above don’t account for the Pell Grants families receive from the federal government. Students whose family incomes are between $0 and $30k may receive Federal Pell Grants, which lower the amount of financial aid private colleges pay them. In this sense, families in the $0 to $30k bracket may pay higher tuition costs than those in the $30k-48k bracket.


Merit Aid and Net Prices for Students Without Need


If your family doesn’t qualify for need-based aid, you may still receive merit aid. Merit aid is need-blind, meaning the institution doesn’t take into account a student’s financial need when awarding merit aid. It’s usually granted based on what the institution deems to be exceptional performance and potential, usually academic performance, and school or community involvement.


At Dickinson College, 39.1% of student without need receive merit aid. The average amount awarded is $3,704. For students without demonstrated financial need, the average cost of attendance at Dickinson was $63,075 in 2016.

Student Loans


For students who need additional support in financing their college degree, federal loans is a popular option. Loans, of course, need to be repaid, often with interest. 80% of Dickinson students take out federal loans, with an average amount of $4,157 per student.


Local Area Cost Considerations


Local area costs are important to consider when estimating college costs, since students inevitably will have expenses outside of tuition and room and board, and especially if your student wants to live off-campus or cook for themselves.


Carlisle, PA is a charming town, and the good news is it’s not expensive. Carlisle has an overall cost of living index of 98, which means it’s 2% less expensive to live in Carlisle than in the U.S. in general.


For Dickinson College, communal living is an important part of the college experience. All students live on-campus for the four years, so don’t worry about having to search for off-campus housing.


Dickinson’s campus offers many job opportunities for students, but if your student wants to find a opportunities in the local area, it’s useful to note that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 as of 2019.


Student Outcomes at Dickinson College


Investing in college is investing not just for four years, but for your student’s future. It’s useful to get an idea of how graduates are doing down the line financially. 84% of students at Dickinson graduate within six years, and the average annual income 10 years post-graduation for Dickinson graduates is $57,400.


Other Ways to Save on College  


If your student is still looking for ways to help finance an education at Dickinson, consider outside scholarships. There is a wide range of scholarships, with different eligibility requirements, for a wide range of subjects, and awarding different amounts. Dickinson College’s own page for outside scholarships is a good place to start. Students who take the PSAT are automatically entered for qualification for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship.  


Curious about your chances of acceptance to Dickinson College? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Short Bio
Kimberly graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Literature. This year, she has been based in Beijing, China, where she works in the education field and rescues dogs in her free time. She will be starting her masters at Columbia University in the fall.