College is more expensive than ever before. According to the College Board's 2018 Trends in College Pricing Report, from 1988 to 2018, prices tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at public two-year and private non-profit four-year schools.
But at many of the country's most elite private institutions, large endowments, generous scholarships and sizable grants can mean that middle and low-income students pay significantly less than the published tuition price.
The total cost to attend Dartmouth for the 2019 - 2020 school year is $76,623, which includes tuition ($55,605), housing ($9,879), food ($6,495) and fees, as well as indirect costs like books ($1,005) and miscellaneous expenses ($2,040). This total does not include the school's health insurance plan ($3,248) or travel.
Dartmouth is "need-blind," and the school maintains that it does not take financial status into consideration during the application process. According to Dartmouth's website, students from families earning less than $100,000 receive free tuition, and the average scholarship amount is $47,833.
Students receiving aid are expected to work over the summer to contribute towards other costs. For the 2018 - 2019 academic year, first-year students are expected to contribute between $1,000 and $2,000 and returning students are expected to contribute between $1,500 and $3,000.
All parents are expected to contribute at least $5,000 each year, and a cost estimator provided by the school allows families to find out how much a Dartmouth education will run them.
But while students from families making less than $100,000 may qualify for free tuition at Dartmouth, most students come from families earning considerably more.
According to The New York Times, the median family income of a student at Dartmouth is $200,400. Roughly 69% of Dartmouth students come from the highest-earning 20% of American households, or those who earn $110,000 or more per year. A little more than one-fifth come from the highest-earning 1% of American households, or those who make over $630,000 per year. The Times reports that Dartmouth is one of 38 colleges in the U.S. that enrolls more students from the top 1% than from the entire bottom 60%.
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