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What Does it Really Cost to Attend Dartmouth?

If you have a high-achieving and ambitious student, you’re probably already starting to look at the top schools in the country, and the Ivy Leagues are a natural choice. Dartmouth combines all of the prestige of an Ivy League with a small-town environment.


Of course, being one of the best schools in the nation may have you worried that you’ll have to pay top-dollar for your student to attend their dream school. However, college costs are highly variable, and depend on a variety of factors, including your household income and whether your student qualifies for any merit-based aid.


It’s important for you to look beyond the “price tag” of a school and consider what the net cost will be, or the typical amount that families pay out of pocket. You’ll also need to consider how your student may qualify for different types of aid, such as federal or state aid, institutional aid, and additional scholarships, and how these can all reduce the actual cost of attendance.


Using CollegeVine’s unique statistical insights, we’re going to go over what you need to know to decide if Dartmouth makes financial sense for your student and family.


Want to learn what Dartmouth College will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Dartmouth College needs to know.

Dartmouth College’s List Price


Although we call it the list price, schools call it the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is the averaged sum of tuition, fees, room, board, and any other common costs of living for students at an institution.


Although the list price could be considered the “total cost” of an education at a school, the exact cost of a school varies from student to student. For the 2016-2017 year, the estimated cost of attendance for students at Dartmouth was $69, 474. Since Dartmouth is a private school, this price remains the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.


Most families do not pay the list price at any institution, whether it’s Dartmouth or another school. Typically, only families with an annual household income over $175,000 pay list price.

What is the Cost of Dartmouth After Financial Aid?


Hopefully you feel some relief knowing that it’s not likely that you’ll be paying the full list price. So what can you expect to pay once you factor in financial aid? Based on the 2016-2017 data, the average net cost for students after financial aid was $57,848.

Cost of Dartmouth Based on Household Income


Your particular net cost is highly dependent on your household income, which will qualify your student for more or less financial aid. These are the average net prices for a student based on household income:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $7,847*
$30,001-$48,000 $6,468
$48,001-$75,000 $10,048
$75,001-$110,000 $19,568
$110,000 $44,204


* These numbers do not reflect any Pell Grants that families may receive. Families with an income of $0-30k often receive Federal Pell Grants, which reduce the amount of financial aid that individual institutions need to award. This is why there is a higher tuition rate for families with $0-30k vs. those with $30k-48k.


What is the Merit Aid Net Price at Dartmouth?


There are generally two broad types of financial aid: merit aid and need-based aid. Dartmouth does not offer merit aid to any students, since most of the students who are admitted to Dartmouth are academically and personally accomplished.


This means that if your family does not have any financial need, you can expect to pay the full list price. Because of its strict need-based policy, Dartmouth ranks 929th out of over 1000 schools we analyzed for merit aid generosity.

Loans and Debt at Dartmouth


It should come as no surprise that even with need-based aid covering a decent amount of the list price, many students at Dartmouth take out a loan at some point. At Dartmouth, 65% of students took out a federal loan, with the average amount per undergraduate being $2,216 across all four years.

Student Outcomes at Dartmouth


Given the financial investment that you would be making if your student chooses to attend Dartmouth, you may want to know whether most students graduate and how much they expect to earn after graduation. Luckily, 95% of students at Dartmouth graduate within 6 years, and graduates tend to earn a higher salary in the long term. After ten years, the average Dartmouth graduate earns around $75,500 a year.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


Another thing to consider when determining the affordability of a school is the cost of living and the local economy. The cost of living in and around Hanover is 160.6, meaning that it’s about 60% more expensive than the national average. The good news, though, is that Hanover is more affordable than the state average, with a lower cost of living index and average apartment rents.


Speaking of apartment rents, you may be wondering what it would cost for your student to live off-campus. Although Dartmouth requires all students to live on-campus for their first year, they are allowed to move off-campus as early as their sophomore year if they choose. Most students remain on-campus all four years, but this is what you can expect apartment rent to cost if your student were to move off-campus:


  • 1 bedroom: $793
  • 2 bedroom: $1,022
  • 3 bedroom: $1,329

Other Ways to Save


If your household income is close to or above the $175,000 mark, you may be wondering if you’re going to be stuck paying the full list price at Dartmouth or any other college your student attends. (You can learn more about how Dartmouth awards aid and keeps student debt low on their website.) However, there are a few ways your student can reduce the net cost to your family that aren’t need-based:


Working. Your student can try to find a part-time job to offset some of the costs of their education, especially living expenses like food, laundry, or textbooks. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the hourly minimum wage in New Hampshire is equal to the national minimum wage at $7.25. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage in Western New Hampshire across all occupations is $18.85.


Private scholarships. While you student may be able to offset some of the costs of their education through part-time work, merit scholarships are a better bet for minimizing your student’s financial stress during college. Your student can supplement the cost of college by applying for private scholarships with the help of their high school counselor or by working with a company like CollegeVine. You may even want to ask your employer if there are scholarships available specifically for the children of employees.


One example of a nonprofit-hosted scholarship is the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. In order to qualify, your student must:

  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT during their junior year (or the equivalent year in other educational patterns) and score in the top 1% in their state.
  • Attend a high school, traditional or homeschooled, in the United States, D.C., or a U.S. commonwealth or territory.


The top 1% scorers by state go on to be semifinalists, and are invited to apply for the National Merit Scholarship, with awards up to $2500. While most scholarships are one-time, some that are college- or corporate-sponsored are renewable. To learn more about qualifying as a semifinalist, read this post.


Wrapping it Up


When it comes to helping your student select and apply for college, there are so many factors you need to consider. Along with affordability, you’ll want to consider the educational opportunities that schools like Dartmouth provide for students, and if the school makes sense for your student’s specific goals.


For more information about Dartmouth and financial aid, check out these posts:

What Does It Really Take to Get Into Dartmouth?

Parents: 12 Must-Know College Financial Aid Terms

FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid

Does the Ivy League Offer Scholarships?


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Short Bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.