Dartmouth shows colleges had the means all along to solve the student loan crisis

Typically, the debate on student loans turns on a bifurcated argument. Politicians either call for government actions to eliminate the debt or they demand that those who took out the loans honor their agreement.

But the colleges that have been driving this crisis are seldom called to account. They charge exorbitant tuition that has outpaced inflation for decades without any justification or scrutiny.

At last, one college is taking action, implementing a program that will lessen student loan debt. Other colleges should follow Dartmouth’s example.

The Ivy League school is eliminating all loans from its financial aid awards for undergraduate students, it announced Monday. Instead, students will receive an expanded scholarship grant covering all tuition. The new program is slated to start on June 23 for students enrolled for the summer term.

Previously, Dartmouth students from families with an annual income of $ 125,000 or less were awarded need-based grants that covered tuition. But students from families who earned more than that were provided need-based financial aid through loans.

Now, Dartmouth will give all undergraduate students scholarship grants.

Dartmouth’s action was made possible due to a fundraising effort that started in 2018. Known as The Call to Lead, it focused on lowering student tuition prices instead of the typical projects donations are used for, such as new buildings. It raised $ 80 million to use for undergraduate students’ tuition.

“Thanks to this extraordinary investment by our community, students can prepare for lives of impact with fewer constraints,” Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon said. “Eliminating loans from financial aid packages will allow Dartmouth undergraduates to seek their purpose and passion in the broadest possible range of career possibilities.”

Dartmouth has shown that universities have the means to resolve the student debt crisis. They have only lacked the initiative and desire.

Between 1978 and 2019, college tuition increased by an astonishing 1,375% – four times faster than inflation and eight times faster than wages since the 1980s. Fundraising efforts like Dartmouth’s are the least colleges can do. These universities and colleges once prioritized higher learning. Now, they prioritize higher tuition. They have become financial racketeers that make the most unethical Wall Street companies look good.

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