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BREAKING: College Ends Need-Blind Admissions For International Students

In a letter to alumni prominently involved in the College’s admissions process, Interim Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Paul Sunde announced that Dartmouth is ending need-blind admissions for international students:

In recent years, Dartmouth has been need blind in its review of international applications. Beginning with the Class of 2020, the College will return to considering financial need as one factor among many when reviewing applications from international citizens - a policy which is held by all but a few of Dartmouth’s peer institutions. A need aware policy will enable the College to align all of its resources in support of its international enrollment goals. Significantly, the College will continue to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted international student who qualifies for financial support.

He specified that not all international students would be affected equally:

International citizens will be impacted as follows: when reviewing the candidacies of international applicants, financial need will be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee as one of many factors.

Those who will not be impacted include: US citizens, permanent residents of the US, undocumented students in the US, and persons granted a refugee/asylum visa by the US government. These applicants’ candidacies will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee without regard to their financial circumstances.

However, here’s the justification in the letter that gets me:

After a thorough analysis of Dartmouth’s admissions and financial aid practices by Dartmouth staff and an external review committee, it was determined that a shift to need aware admissions for international students would align its policies with the bulk of its peers’ and advance the College’s strategic pursuit of a geographically, ethnically, culturally and socio-economically diverse student body. [Emphasis added]

Our goal should decidedly not be to align our policies with the bulk of our peers; rather we want to distinguish ourselves with innovative, creative measures that will bring the world’s smartest students to Hanover.

If we want to extend extra financial aid to students other than international ones, can that money not be found anywhere in the College budget other than by taking it from international students? Do we really need all of the 447 additional non-faculty staffers that we hired over the past five years, a period of time during which we only found resources to add 38.5 members to the faculty. If the College were run lean and smart, sometimes tough choices would need to be made, but why cut bone when the College bureaucracy is obese.

Addendum: As we have previously reported, all of the other Ivies have full kosher dining, and as a result they are attractive to Orthodox Jews. However in this area, somehow, the administration feels no need to “align its policies” with the rest of the Ivy League.

Read Paul Sunde’s full letter in the extended.

From: Admissions Enrollment
Date: September 11, 2015
Subject: International Student Enrollment Update

Dear

Greetings from Hanover!

I’m writing today to update you regarding our international student enrollment strategy. While relatively few international students apply to Dartmouth from within the United States, you and your fellow volunteers may encounter international students during your recruitment and interviewing activities. I hope you will find this update helpful.

For more than a year, we have been examining the significant year-to-year variation in international student enrollment that Dartmouth has experienced and developing plans to stabilize and strategically align the population with the College’s overall enrollment goals.

Though it is reasonable to anticipate greater variation among the international student cohort than that of the student population as a whole, the following two points are of particular concern:
Since the Class of 2009, entering class enrollment has been as high as 101 and as low as 59. As a percentage of enrolling classes, international students have comprised as little as 5% and as much as 9%.
Enrollment from some individual countries has shifted significantly from year to year.

Going forward, we will work to be more targeted and consistent in our international recruitment activities and enrollment guided by the principle that Dartmouth will engage in the strategic pursuit of the most talented, most accomplished and most promising students, wherever they may be. The College will seek a representation of international students in every entering class that is comparable to or in excess of our recent peak years.

We anticipate:
· Increased recruitment via online channels and on-the-ground admissions programming.

· Greater engagement of alumni and other partners in international admissions activities.

o The King Scholars Leadership Program and Sutton Trust exemplify the opportunities that strategic partnerships offer the College.

· Offers of admission and scholarship dollars utilized in a consistent fashion to support a substantial and stable cohort of international students that is geographically, culturally, ethnically and socio-economically diverse.


In recent years, Dartmouth has been need blind in its review of international applications. Beginning with the Class of 2020, the College will return to considering financial need as one factor among many when reviewing applications from international citizens - a policy which is held by all but a few of Dartmouth’s peer institutions. A need aware policy will enable the College to align all of its resources in support of its international enrollment goals. Significantly, the College will continue to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted international student who qualifies for financial support.

Your service and that of your fellow District Enrollment Directors has been vital to Dartmouth’s recruitment, selection and enrollment of some of the most outstanding students in the world and at Dartmouth. As you know, the College’s international students have been among Dartmouth’s intellectual and community leaders. We deeply appreciate your commitment to our efforts and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead as we continue to develop the population of international students at the College.

I have attached a group of questions and answers which I hope will be helpful as you discuss this topic with your fellow volunteers and/or prospective students.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Sincere regards,

Paul Sunde
Director of Admissions
and Interim Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH

Q&A:

1) Which applicants will be impacted by the need aware policy and how? Which applicants will not be impacted?


International citizens will be impacted as follows: when reviewing the candidacies of international applicants, financial need will be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee as one of many factors.

Those who will not be impacted include: US citizens, permanent residents of the US, undocumented students in the US, and persons granted a refugee/asylum visa by the US government. These applicants’ candidacies will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee without regard to their financial circumstances.

2) Why the change? Why is Dartmouth changing from need blind to need aware in its admissions review of international students?


After a thorough analysis of Dartmouth’s admissions and financial aid practices by Dartmouth staff and an external review committee, it was determined that a shift to need aware admissions for international students would align its policies with the bulk of its peers’ and advance the College’s strategic pursuit of a geographically, ethnically, culturally and socio-economically diverse student body.

In our effort to enroll the most talented, most accomplished and most promising international students, Dartmouth will utilize every resource available, including: energetic recruitment, engagement in partnerships with alumni and non-governmental organizations, a thorough and thoughtful admissions review process, and a very generous aid offering. It will utilize each resource in a judicious and strategic manner. It is our belief that a need aware selection process will enable the College to best align its offers of admission and generous scholarship aid.

3) How much will this save you? What are you doing with the savings?


Given recent fluctuations in our international student population, we expect that our budget for international aid moving forward will be stable and greater than some past years and less than others.

This change will not impact the overall size of our financial aid budget. It is simply a reallocation. Ultimately, we must continue to increase our financial aid budget.

4) What are Dartmouth’s enrollment goals?


Recruit, select and enroll the most capable and diverse group of students in the world. We seek to enroll a first year class of approximately 1,120 students each year.

We will work to be more targeted and consistent in our recruitment activities and enrollment, guided by the principle that Dartmouth will engage in the strategic pursuit of the most talented, most accomplished and most promising students, wherever they may be.

5) What are Dartmouth’s international student enrollment goals?


Dartmouth seeks to enroll a sizable and stable cohort of international students each year. Since the Class of 2009, this cohort has varied from 5% of the entering class to 9%. Going forward, the College will seek a representation of international students in every entering class that is comparable to or in excess of our recent peak years.

6) Will Dartmouth reduce aid to its international students?


No, the aid will still be there for every admitted student who has applied for and qualifies for financial aid. Dartmouth remains fully committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of each and every admitted student throughout their four years of undergraduate study.

7) Will Dartmouth be reducing the number of enrolling international scholarship recipients?


In recent years, when Dartmouth has been need blind for international students, the number of scholarship recipients has increased significantly in some years and decreased significantly in others. Though a specific scholarship recipient target has not been prescribed and is not anticipated, it is reasonable to expect that Dartmouth will not enroll as many international scholarship recipients as it has in its highest peak years. Nevertheless, the College will continue to enroll a robust and socio-economically diverse population of international students.

8) Isn’t Dartmouth interested in being diverse/global/accessible for people from all over the globe?


Yes. Dartmouth will continue to expand its recruitment with increased admissions travel, online recruitment, the engagement of partnerships with alumni and non-governmental organizations, and added scholarship programs for global citizens. The King Scholars Leadership Program is an example of a new opportunity for international student aid and support.

Dartmouth values its diverse campus community and will work to strengthen the community through recruitment and enrollment efforts which are strategic and sustainable.

Financial aid is and will continue to be critical to this effort. The change in policy will not impact the overall size of our financial aid budget. It is simply a reallocation, the kind of which any successful organization must make to better realize important strategic goals. Ultimately, we must continue to increase our financial aid budget.

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