Thank you for your interest in and support of the Valley News. So far, we have raised 80% of the funds required to host journalists Claire Potter and Alex Driehaus for their one-year placements in the Upper Valley through Report for America, a national service program that boosts local news by harnessing community support.

Please consider donating to this effort.

Dartmouth applies for $1.7 million in federal aid, says money would go to students

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/28/2020 9:42:38 PM
Modified: 5/28/2020 9:42:31 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College says it will apply for at least $1.7 million in federal stimulus money to help fund a growing demand for financial aid in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon said Wednesday that funding from the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed in March, could be used to help stem a projected $8 million deficit in Dartmouth’s financial aid budget.

“We want to be able to take advantage of this source of funding to deliver it to our students,” he said during an online forum with the Dartmouth community. “Our students have needs like students from every institution.”

Under federal guidelines, Dartmouth is eligible to receive a total of $3.4 million in stimulus aid, which would be delivered in two shares.

The first, equaling about $1.7 million, must be used to assist students, while the second could go toward “institutional support.”

“The College has not determined whether to apply for the second tranche; if it did, 100% of those institutional support funds would also be used by Dartmouth exclusively to help students,” college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence wrote in an email Thursday morning.

Dartmouth’s decision comes after other high-profile Ivy League institutions turned down similar relief funds after coming under fire from President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They argued that schools with multibillion-dollar endowments shouldn’t rely on taxpayer support, which should instead be directed to needy institutions.

“As I’ve said all along, wealthy institutions that do not primarily serve low-income students do not need or deserve additional taxpayer funds. This is common sense,” DeVos said in a statement released April 22.

“Schools with large endowments should not apply for funds so more can be given to students who need support the most,” she added. “It’s also important for Congress to change the law to make sure no more taxpayer funds go to elite, wealthy institutions.”

Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford University declined CARES ACT funds in April, while Cornell said it would still apply for CARES Act money.

The federal Department of Education did not respond Thursday to emails seeking comment on Hanlon’s announcement.

Some retired professors said they support Dartmouth’s decision to apply for federal funding, so long as the money goes to help students.

“I don’t really think it’s up to the colleges to decide what the government makes them eligible for,” said John Vogel, a retired Tuck School of Business professor.

Vogel went on to say that private colleges receive federal funds often in the form of research grants, adding that the government and detractors don’t call on them to instead use endowments.

Jon Appleton, a retired Dartmouth College music professor, said he’s in favor of students receiving help from the stimulus, “but not anything else for super-rich institutions.”

Dartmouth officials have continually said the college’s roughly $5.7 billion endowment cannot be used to offset financial losses, arguing that much of the fund is restricted by donors. About $253 million from the endowment was dedicated to operating costs in the 2019 fiscal year, roughly 27% of Dartmouth’s annual operating budget. Its average financial aid contribution to undergraduates is $54,105 per eligible student.

Provost Joseph Helble, in an April “community conversation” also said the endowment should be preserved for future students.

“If those decisions had not been made to preserve the endowment, even in past moments of financial crisis, we would have fewer students, we would have fewer jobs, we would have less financial aid available, we would have fewer faculty,” he said.

However, the college says it’s planning to set aside an additional $16 million to $20 million in financial aid over the next two years to help undergraduate students.

Hanlon said last week he also is forming a commission to look at access and affordability and outlined plans to increase the threshold so that students from a family with an income of up to $125,000 are eligible for full-tuition undergraduate scholarships, up from $100,000.

On Wednesday, Hanlon said “different members” of Dartmouth’s senior leadership voluntarily returned between 5% and 20% of their salaries.

Provost Joseph Helble and Executive Vice President Rick Mills gave back 20% of their salaries, while Hanlon directed 20% of his salary to help fund financial aid.

Hanlon made $1.4 million in salary and benefits in the fiscal year ending in June 2018, according to Dartmouth’s latest 990 tax filing.

Mills made $709,456 during the same time, while Helble was not listed among the college’s top earners. At the time, he was dean of Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering.

Carolyn Dever, who was provost through November 2017, made $804,239 that year.

Along with the projected shortfall in its financial aid budget, the college is expecting a roughly $76 million drop in revenue for the spring term resulting from the closure of its campus.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy