Distributed February 24, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel



Brown University issues an interim report on financial aid issues
Based upon their recent deliberations, the Corporation of Brown University and the University’s senior administration have decided that strategies for achieving need-blind admission must be pursued as part of an integrated plan that considers the University’s other pressing needs and priorities, including competitive graduate student support, the University Library, competitive faculty salaries, technology, and campus living and learning.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — At its winter meeting this weekend, the Corporation of Brown University considered a number of financial aid issues, including improvements in graduate student support and need-blind undergraduate admission. The Corporation and senior administrators have determined that improvements to undergraduate financial aid must be considered as part of an integrated plan that includes the University’s other pressing needs and priorities. The University issued the following statement Saturday, Feb. 24, 2001.

Financial Aid: An Interim Status Report

Financial Aid Today

Brown is committed to fully meeting the financial aid needs of all admitted students. In fact, the University’s commitment to student aid is the fastest-growing element of the budget. The University is also committed to remaining competitive with peer institutions in terms of the amount and “structure” of the financial aid packages it awards. Examples of ways in which the University has supported its position on financial aid include:

  • In the past year, more than 38% of undergraduate students received financial aid from Brown.

  • During the 2001-02 academic year, Brown will increase its spending for student aid by 7.3 percent, to $46.3 million.

  • The University continues in the 2001-02 budget the policies of indexing the financial aid budget to increases in total student charges, and treating all new endowment raised for financial aid as incremental.

  • The University has added $700,000 to the undergraduate aid budget as part of the multi-year initiative to make Brown’s financial aid packages more competitive with those offered by peer institutions.

While the University has not yet achieved its goal of becoming need-blind with respect to undergraduate admission and lags its peers in terms of support for graduate students, the University has clearly taken a number of steps toward these goals, making considerable progress in the financial aid arena.

The Alper Report

One important recent development was the appointment of an ad hoc committee charged with considering the issue of need-blind admissions. Chaired by trustee Fred Alper, the group issued a comprehensive report in May 2000 (the Alper Report) that outlined a number of plans designed to accelerate Brown’s progress toward becoming a fully need-blind institution. The options presented generally require additional base budget funding estimated to be between $3 and $8 million.

Recommendations of the Alper Report, along with several models for improving financial assistance to graduate students were seriously considered and extensively discussed during the past two Corporation meetings, as well as by the Advisory Committee on University Planning (ACUP) during its series of fall meetings. The implications of the Alper Report are clear: achieving need-blind admission and competitive graduate student support will require substantial fundraising efforts.

Presidential transition and future plans

Based upon their recent deliberations, Brown’s Corporation and senior administration have decided that strategies for achieving need-blind admission must be pursued as part of an integrated plan that considers the University’s other pressing needs and priorities, including competitive graduate student support, the University Library, faculty competitiveness, technology, and campus living and learning.

All of the University’s priorities, including undergraduate and graduate aid, and revenue potential, including fundraising, are being reviewed by President-elect Ruth Simmons as she prepares to take office on July 1, 2001. The Corporation believes it is both prudent and appropriate to give her an opportunity to understand the issues and options before committing the University to a specific timetable for achieving the goal of need-blind admission.

President-elect Simmons has stated on several occasions her own personal commitment to making a Brown education accessible and affordable for all students irrespective of financial need. Together with the Corporation and senior administration, she will address these challenges in the context of an overall University strategy for achieving our most critical objectives.

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