Borrow Wisely - Financial Considerations

If loans are part of your plan, you'll want to borrow wisely to keep your loan debt as low as possible.  Assess your needs before you borrow, accept only the portion of loans that you need, and choose loans with the lowest interest rates and best borrower benefits.  

Installment Payment Plan - Brown's Installment Payment Plan (IPP) enables students and their families to make interest-free monthly installments to cover each semester's tuition, housing, meals, and required fees. The Installment Payment Plan can reduce or replace the amount you may need to borrow through loans. 

Reduce your refund - If you have borrowed loans and your student account has a credit balance (overpaid), think about reducing the amount you've borrowed. If you don't need the full amount, send a detailed email to [email protected] to reduce your loans and lower your student loan debt.  


Living @ Brown: Financial Considerations


Students may use their Brown ID to charge purchases at the Brown Bookstore directly to their University account. Bookstore charges are added to the monthly electronic billing statement sent by the Bursar’s Office. For details, visit Textbook and supply costs for courses can vary. Textbooks can be rented or purchased,and some classes use online textbook and homework systems. Loan options may be available to assist in covering the cost of books and supplies; contact [email protected] to explore loan options.


Brown encourages students to consider bringing a laptop to campus. Visit Brown’s Technology Center, located in the Brown Bookstore and at, to explore options. For a loan to help finance the purchase, contact the Office of Financial Aid for information. Students may use computing clusters and print stations in the libraries and the CIT building; students receive an initial $30 in PAWPrints printing funds in their Bear Bucks account and can add more as needed.  For information about cluster locations and printing, as well as about a range of software available at no cost to Brown students, refer to the New Student FAQ on 


How often will you come home during the academic year? “Things to Consider before Coming to Brown” ( suggests options for funding travel expenses. While it is often less expensive to purchase plane or other tickets months ahead of time, be sure to consult exam information for all courses in self-service Banner before buying tickets, since Final Exam schedules are set before the academic year begins, and will not be changed to ac-commodate personal travel plans.
On campus, students use their Brown ID to ride University daytime and evening shuttles as well as any Rhode Island Public Transporta-tion Authority (RIPTA) bus or trolley anywhere in Rhode Island at no charge. Students are encouraged to consider different ground transportation options; can help with this.


Every residence hall has laundry machines in the building. The washers and dryers use only Bear Bucks, no cash, so students swipe their Brown ID to do laundry (one wash + one dry = $3). For information on how to add funds to your Bear Bucks Account, see

Students from warmer environments should also consider purchasing a warm coat, winter boots to walk securely in snow and slush, a hat, gloves, and other gear suitable to the wet, cold Rhode Island winter. Our average temperatures for November through March range from 20 to 40 degrees F (-7 to 10 de-grees C); monthly snowfall averages seven to ten inches. New winter items may cost several hundred dollars if purchased in season.


Because meals in the dining halls are a lively part of students' social environment and com-munity connection, first-year students are required to participate in a meal plan. While we encourage the 20-meals/week plan, you may choose one of nine plans to best fit your needs.
If you choose to “drop down” to a lower cost meal plan , you need to consider carefully ahead of time: will you cook for yourself every day, how much does food cost in the Provi-dence area, how will you get to the grocery store and back (RIPTA?)? If you change to a lower cost meal plan than the one initially purchased, you may or may not receive mon-ey back; reimbursement of the cost savings is posted to your student University Account and, if there is a balance due, will first reduce the amount owed on the bill. Meal Plan service is available during Thanksgiving Break. Additional information about Meal Plans is available at


Visits to Brown Health Services and Counsel-ing and Psychological Services (CAPS) are paid for under the Health Services Fee, so students are strongly encouraged to use these services for their basic health care, counseling, and mental wellness needs. Charges for lab tests, x-rays, prescriptions, and care by community providers or hospitals may be covered by Brown's student health insurance plan (SHIP) or your own plan, if you waived the Brown plan.
That said, it is not uncommon for students to incur some additional costs during their time at Brown — unexpected costs such as dental surgery, physical therapy, mental health ser-vices, as well as copays for medical tests and services. Students can consult with their Brown health care providers about managing these costs; hospitals and community provid-ers may work with students to develop pay-ment plans. However, we encourage you to discuss as a family how you will address added expenses. For more information about our services, go to and


Employment opportunities are open to all enrolled students. Students considering working on campus should visit to search and apply for jobs, sign up for JobMail, review the student and employer handbooks, and down-load forms such as timesheets, direct deposit request, and Federal I-9 and W-4. Campus employment provides students the opportuni-ty to earn money to go towards their miscella-neous and non-billed expenses.


Many students find that they need to borrow money to cover educa-tional costs. Students are encouraged to discuss financing options with university experts in the Office of Financial Aid or the Loan Office at any time during the year. These resources are available to all students, whether or not they are receiving University aid; a small loan with a competitive interest rate can truly benefit a student challenged with meeting immediate expenses without creating unreasonable debt. For more information, go to


Electronic billing (E-Bill) is Brown University’s official method of billing; no paper statements are produced. Students are strongly encouraged to give “Authorized User” access to their student account and billing records to individuals who are providing financial support. Details on billing and tuition and fees can be found on the Bursar Office website at


Students and families periodically face unexpected expenses. If your family experiences a loss or change of job, reduction in income, unusually high medical or dental expenses, or other unanticipated circumstances that affect you financially, you may contact the Office of Financial Aid at [email protected] – whether or not you are already receiving aid – to discuss options for assistance.

 Other Resources

  • is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching  the basics about financial education.  

Glossary of Common Loan Terms

Acceleration:  Demand for immediate repayment of the entire unpaid balance of the loan.

Accrued Interest:  Amount of interest that has accumulated on a loan. 

Borrower:  Person responsible for repaying a loan that has signed and agreed to the terms of the promissory note.

Capitalized Interest:  Unpaid accumulated interest added to the loan principal. Capitalizing interest increases the principal amount of the loan and, therefore, the total cost of the loan.

Consolidation:  The process of combining one or more federal loans into a single new loan.

Default:  Failure to repay a loan in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

Deferment:  The temporary postponement of loan payments.

Delinquency:  This occurs when payments are late or missed, as specified in the terms of the promissory note and the selected repayment plan.

Disbursement:  When the school pays loan proceeds to the student or the parent borrower, or posts the funds to the student's account.

Discharge (Cancellation):  The release of a borrower from their obligation to repay their loans. A borrower must meet certain requirements to be eligible for discharge.

Disclosure Statement:  Statement of the actual cost of the loan, including the interest costs and the loan fee.

Endorser:  An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if the borrower does not repay it.

Entrance Counseling:  A mandatory information session which takes place before you receive your first federal student loan that explains your responsibilities

Exit Counseling:  A mandatory information session which takes place when you graduate or attend school less than half-time that explains your loan repayment responsibilities and when repayment begins.

Federal Direct Loan Program:  The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, referred to as Direct Loan Program, is a federal program that provides loans to student and parent borrowers directly through the U.S. Department of Education. The Federal Direct loan program includes the Direct Susbidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Direct PLUS Loan, and Direct Consolidation Loan.

Forbearance:  An arrangement to postpone or reduce a borrower's monthly payment amount for a limited or specified period, or to extend the repayment period. The borrower is charged interest during forbearance.

Grace Period:  A specified period of time before the first payment must be made on a loan. Typically, the grace period starts the day after a borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Interest:  A loan expense charged by the lender and paid by the borrower for the use of borrowed money. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the principal amount (loan amount) borrowed.

Loan:  Money that must be repaid.

Loan Fee:  An expense of borrowing deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.

Loan Principal:  The sum of money borrowed.

Master Promissory Note (MPN):  The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a promissory note that can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years).

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS):  A centralized database, available at, which stores information on federal grants and loans. NSLDS contains information on how much aid you've received, your enrollment status, and your loan servicer(s).

Prepayment:  Any amount paid on a loan by the borrower before it is required to be paid under the terms of the promissory note.

Promissory Note:  A legally binding contract between a lender and a borrower. The promissory note contains the terms and conditions of the loan, including how and when the loan must be repaid.

Rehabilitation:  A program that enables defaulted borrowers of federal Perkins loans to bring their accounts current, to remove previously reported derogatory credit information, and to reinstate the remaining balance of privileges and benefits of the loan. Borrowers must request rehabilitation from their lender in writing. Additional information and/or rehabilitation agreements can be obtained from the Loan Office.

Servicer:  A company that collects payments on a loan, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan on behalf of a lender.