Dartmouth College has announced that they are eliminating federal student loans for all undergraduates this coming academic year, something that only a few other higher education institutions in the country have done.

After accruing and allocating more than $80 million in gifts goto the school’s endorsement from 65 families, Dartmouth is set to offer a new “expanded scholarship grant” system.

A member of the school’s administration said that this broadened system has been over five years in the making. Just days until the summer term begins, Dartmouth College announced all undergraduate students will not be paying in federal loans this upcoming year, while previously, undergraduate families that made more than $125,000 were not included.

Members within the school’s administration are happy with the financial relief they will give their students, but want to ensure that the system is there to stay.

“Raise this capital campaign specifically for this initiative, $80 million, which with the distribution will allow us to take these loans and turn them into scholarships,” said Dino Koff, Director of Financial Aid at Dartmouth. “The goal is to do this forever.” 

The fundraising raised by the school was the result of its “call to lead” campaign, an initiative aimed at fulfilling this exact student financial aid goal. Koff ensures this will help the middle class families that were previously left off the list of beneficiaries.

“This particular initiative is targeted to the middle income,” Koff said. “Dartmouth is already a no-loan school for families with incomes of under $125,000. And this will raise that so any income level, there won’t be a student loan in the awards.” 

Koff emphasized that taking that initial financial weight off their backs will allow students to pursue their career aspirations more freely. “We want students to be able to do what they want to do. Hopefully this gives more flexibility to our young alums.” 

Dartmouth College is now one of six higher-ed institutions in the country to offer 100 percent of demonstrated financial need, regardless of that need. Princeton became the first university in the country to substitute loans with grants in 2001, and Amherst College, Harvard, and Yale followed.

To complete the university’s funding goals for the ‘call to lead’ initiative, an anonymous donor committed $25 million, which was one of the largest scholarship endowments in school history. On average, this plan will save families $22,000 over 4 years.