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Q:

In what ways does Dartmouth make the campus experience affordable for students (beyond financial aid)?

A: Student smiling holding Dartmouth banner

In many ways, I think that Dartmouth is super accessible money-wise so I'm glad that you asked. Here are some things that Dartmouth or Dartmouth organizations have done to make the campus experience affordable for me!

1. Student-Accessible Funds 

As a college student, certain things come up every year that aren't included in your tuition statement. While these costs aren't explicitly included in most low-income students' scholarships, there are funds or student-led initiatives across campus that help with this! You can get free tickets for the Dartmouth Coach through Student Assembly's termly first-come, first-served giveaway, for example, and my freshman year OPAL gave out gift cards to L.L. Bean for winter gear. Many student-led organizations, such as the Dartmouth Student Union, are also creating more student-accessible funds to support these small costs that still do sum up to a large total of money for the low-income student.

2. Dartmouth-sponsored Activities (and free food!)

Almost all on-campus activities are completely free to attend and commonly include free catered food from nearby restaurants as well. In this way, no student needs to worry about having to afford events or go on trips with their classmates. One extremely famous example of a Dartmouth-sponsored activity is the annual West House trip to New York City, where a raffle is drawn for a group of students to have an all-expenses, weekend-long trip to NYC. Other examples are free movie or performance tickets for the Hop, free talks by prominent speakers, and the ice rink that was established on the Green for 21W. Since the campus experience is commonly colored by these Dartmouth-sponsored activities, I find that this is one of the most effective ways in creating an accessible atmosphere.

3. Scholarships for Dues

Certain things on campus still have fees, however, such as club gear, interim break trips, or even Greek life. Most of these clubs, however, are COSO-recognized and thus set aside funds for students seeking financial aid. In my past experiences, such as when I was to go on a spring break trip to Washington, D.C. or I had to buy a sweatshirt for the uniform of a dance group's performance, these clubs had sufficient funds to allow me to apply for need-based "scholarships" to reduce the amount of money I had to spend. The process is ridiculously simple, too—no student tries to insensitively verify that you are "sufficiently" low-income for fees scholarships and I've never felt embarrassed for emailing the treasurer for help.


4. Locality of Dartmouth

The last thing that I would like to mention is just the locality of Dartmouth. A great thing about going to school in rural New Hampshire is that you aren't in a city like NYC or Boston, where young people will naturally want to go out to cafés, have fun and go shopping, or go out to the theater or watch a concert. Being at Dartmouth means that we are usually cocooned in campus life, and I've never felt the pressure to spend money that I didn't have. Our student lives were almost completely shaped by going out to frats (which don't have cover fees), watching performances at the Hop, studying at the library, pooling together money to buy Domino's, or using the free Upper Valley transit system to get out of Hanover and explore the local towns. It is a really simple, carefree lifestyle that I've loved being able to be a part of when I was on campus; importantly, it also means that we as Dartmouth students can usually forget about the wealth labels and just have fun together because most of our fun isn't dependent on money!

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