Distributed September 13, 1991
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Help for Families Caught by Recession

Brown establishes $1-million fund for emergency student financial aid

President Vartan Gregorian has created a $1-million fund to provide emergency one-time grants students whose financial aid requirements have increased because of the national and regional economic downturn.

At a meeting today of the Advisory and Executive Committee (A and E) of the Brown Corporation, President Vartan Gregorian announced his decision to create a $1-million Emergency Assistance and Loan Fund for students who are on financial aid during this academic year. The fund will provide one-time grants to students from families whose financial situations have worsened dramatically during the national and regional economic downturn and who therefore qualify for additional financial assistance.

Brown University is strongly committed to providing financial aid in order to attract and retain an academically talented student body which is geographically, ethnically, racially and economically diverse, Gregorian said. It remains the University’s policy to meet the financial aid needs of its students during all four undergraduate years through a combination of scholarships, subsidized student loans and campus jobs.

Last year, 32 percent of the student body received University scholarships and an additional 6 percent received “self-help” packages (subsidized loans and campus jobs). This fall, approximately 90 returning students whose financial needs had been met by self-help packages will require University scholarships to remain at Brown.

“The Northeast has been particularly hard-hit by unemployment, salary freezes, layoffs and declining property values, and this has had an unprecedented and unpredictable impact on the financial aid needs of our students,” Gregorian told the A and E Committee. “Therefore, in order to honor the commitment we have made to our students, I have created the Emergency Assistance and Loan Fund from my own contingency fund, from financial aid reserves and from savings related to vacant staff positions. I hope that an improved economy will lessen the financial hardship of our students and their families.”

Financial aid packages are designed to make up the difference between the net cost of a year at Brown and the amount the student and his or her family can reasonably be expected to pay. The calculation includes many elements of the family’s economic situation, most of which, like the value of real estate or number of children in school, change over time. Student financial aid packages are recalculated and adjusted annually or more frequently if circumstances change.

The unprecedented size of this year’s adjustment has made it imperative that the University thoroughly review the needs of continuing students and carefully consider economic contingencies before making any financial aid awards for the 1992-93 academic year, Gregorian said. In order to improve the University’s ability to gather, manage and analyze its financial aid data, Gregorian has asked Don Wolfe, currently assistant vice president for computing and information services, to serve as acting director for operations in admission and financial aid. Wolfe, who came to Brown in 1987 after 22 years at IBM, has been in charge of the University’s administrative and academic computer systems and will continue that responsibility. He will begin his additional duties in Admission and Financial Aid on Monday, Sept. 16.