Int’l students awarded need-blind financial aid
By Brian Chalif
Published on Friday, February 1, 2013
Dartmouth is one of six schools in the country to offer need-blind financial aid and full-need admission to international students, financial aid director Virginia Hazen said. In 2012, 8 percent of undergraduates were international students.
Hazen said she believes a large portion of international students receive financial aid because of economic differences between their countries of origin and the United States.
While the Financial Aid Office considers the need of international and American students equally, international students receive larger travel allowances because of the distance they must travel.
“I am very pleased that we are able to offer international students aid to meet their need,” Hazen said. “It is a very deserving group of students, and they really add a lot to this campus.”
The Financial Aid Office uses a slightly different procedure to calculate aid eligibility for international students, according to Hazen. Dartmouth uses a different process that accounts for the economic differences.
Dartmouth also accounts for students’ federal loan eligibility, Hazen said. Because international students cannot receive loans from the U.S. government, Dartmouth offers larger loans in order to cover the difference.
The College guarantees to offer aid based on international students’ full demonstrated need, just as they cover the full need of American students, Hazen said. If a student’s family income is less than $100,000 or the equivalent in a foreign currency, the student will generally receive full financial aid.
The College began to offer full need-blind financial need to international students beginning with the Class of 2012, Hazen said.
Prior to that time, the College offered large financial aid packages to international students, making the transition to the full need guarantee relatively smooth. Other schools, however, find it difficult to institute similar policies due to a sudden demand on scholarship funds, she said.
The policy allows the College to attract a more diverse student body, Hazen said.
“For many years, we did not have the policy of need-blind applications that also guaranteed to cover full need,” she said. “However, Dartmouth is very committed to diversity. That is really what is at the root of it — we are committed to achieving a diverse student body.”
The office tries to be “fair and realistic” in determining how much aid to offer, Hazen said
“For most financial aid students, their families are also going to have to sacrifice,” she said. “Life does not go on quite the same.”
All students on financial aid are expected to work ten to twelve hours per week every term.
Karolina Krelinova ’14, a student from the Czech Republic, said she currently holds one campus job, but had three the during Fall term. She chose jobs that did not interfere with her schoolwork, she said.
The College’s expectation that international students earn money during their off terms can prove problematic for some students, according to Faizan Kanji ’15, Pakistani student.
“It is very hard to make the amount they are asking from Pakistan because of the difference in economies,” he said.
Many international students look for colleges that offer more financial aid, according to Inviolata Chami ’16, who is from Tanzania.
“Me and all of my friends applying to schools in the U.S. from Tanzania applied to certain schools that had good financial aid policies,” she said.
Several international students said that they would not be able to attend Dartmouth without the financial aid the College offers.
Keshia Naurana Badalge ’16, of Singapore, said that her financial aid package allows her to attend school in the U.S. without participating in a corporate sponsorship program.
These programs are common among Singaporean students and would require her to graduate in three years, work summers and commit to six years of employment after finishing school, she said.
“Due to the aid Dartmouth is giving me, I can fully enjoy the liberal arts education Dartmouth offers, and over breaks I can do various internships or programs.” Naurana Badalge said.
Junaid Yakubu ’16 and Richard Asala ’13, both from Ghana, said that they are completely satisfied with the financial aid they receive.
“I got more than I requested, ” Yakubu said. “They are so good to us international kids. Thanks to the generous financial aid office I can come to Dartmouth.”
Some students expected that need-blind admission for international students would be called off during the recession, according to Utkarsh Agarwal ’13, a student from India.
“During my sophomore year when I served as the president of the International Students Association, we were constantly watching the Kim administration to see if need-blind admissions for the internationals might be revoked due to recessionary pressures,” Agarwal said. “Thankfully, that didn’t happen.”