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Broadening access for domestic students: $60 million

  • To continue Carleton’s commitment to admitting students based on their academic merit and their potential for success at the College, rather than on their ability to pay

As more colleges move toward awarding financial aid on the basis of a student’s merit, Carleton is firmly committed to admitting students on the basis of academic merit, and then awarding financial aid based on demonstrated need. This system provides educational access to students from all socioeconomic classes and is tied to the nation’s most selective colleges’ historic belief that access to American higher education is a combination of offering admission and providing the aid a student needs in order to attend.

Carleton enhances the quality of the education it offers by enrolling some of the world’s brightest students and by diversifying the student body. In 2003 the Board of Trustees adopted the following statement about the value of diversity in education:

"Carleton strives to enroll a diverse student body with varied racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, cultural, and political backgrounds, as well as geographic origins. The College believes such diversity promotes spirited classroom discussion, provides an opening to a variety of viewpoints and life experiences, helps prepare students for a diverse workplace, and develops interpersonal skills for a pluralistic world."

Carleton uses financial aid to support this admissions goal. As we identify and recruit the most qualified and diverse students, we strive to be blind to financial need; once students are admitted, we meet 100 percent of their financial need.

Financial aid is an expensive endeavor: 237 students in the Class of 2010 (out of 507) received more than $4.9 million in Carleton grants; the average need-based grant was $21,081. The money for Carleton scholarships and grants currently comes from three sources: tuition revenue and operating budget, annual fund gifts, and endowment earnings.

Gifts to the endowment will keep Carleton within the reach of every student it admits, broaden access to a more diverse group of qualified students, permit flexibility in spending tuition revenue on other priorities, and relieve stress on the College’s operating budget.