Corporation approves budget, sets tuition for 2016-17

The Corporation of Brown University has approved a consolidated expenditure budget of $1.01 billion for fiscal 2017, a 5.2-percent increase. The total undergraduate charge will rise 4.1 percent, with a 7.1-percent increase in the financial aid budget to $120.5 million.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Corporation of Brown University has approved a $1.011-billion consolidated budget for the University’s 2017 fiscal year, a budget plan that invests in academic excellence, addresses a structural deficit, and better aligns resources with the University’s Building on Distinction strategic plan.

A 7.1-percent increase in the budget for undergraduate financial aid continues to outpace increases in undergraduate tuition and fees, which will increase 4.1 percent for the 2016-17 academic year. The budget includes support for several initiatives of the recently released Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, including three new faculty diversity positions, enhanced support for first-generation and low-income students, and new travel support for aided international students.

“The Corporation’s approval of the budget today reflects that Brown’s commitment to ensuring access to a Brown education is stronger than ever,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. “This budget increases support for undergraduate and graduate students, provides new resources for recruiting faculty, and reflects the priorities in the University’s strategic plan for building on our academic excellence. The budget also supports the campus community’s determined efforts to enhance diversity and to ensure that every member of the community will experience Brown as a vibrant, fully inclusive social and intellectual environment.”

During the weekend meetings, members of the Corporation also acknowledged the milestone of surpassing the $1-billion mark in the University’s $3-billion BrownTogether comprehensive campaign.

The budget Paxson presented for the Corporation’s approval during its business meeting was developed by the University Resources Committee (URC), a working group of seven faculty, seven senior administrators, 10 students (five undergraduate, three graduate, and two medical students), and two staff representatives, chaired by the Provost.

The full URC report is available online at the provost’s website.

Budget highlights

The University’s $1.011-billion consolidated budget comprises four main budget divisions:

  • Education and General: $719.0 million
    Instructional and academic programs exclusive of the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health
  • Biology and Medicine: $140.0 million
    Biological sciences and the Warren Alpert Medical School
  • Public Health: $46.8 million
    Formerly part of Biology and Medicine, the School of Public Health became a separate unit in 2013.
  • Auxiliary Operations: $105.6 million
    Business operations that support the campus community, including dining services, housing, health service, and the Brown Bookstore. It is funded by revenues from those operations.

Tuition and financial aid

The budget for undergraduate financial aid, long one of the fastest-growing lines in the University budget, will increase 7.1 percent to $120.5 million. Over the last eight years, the undergraduate financial aid budget has increased an average of 8.9 percent per year, and the portion of the undergraduate student body receiving aid has risen from 40 to 44 percent in the same time frame. The 2017 budget covers the cost of health insurance for students who need it and provides a travel allowance for aided international students to travel home once each year.

The URC strives to keep tuition increases as low as possible, even as tuition continues to provide the major share of revenue for the Education and General budget, approximately 64 percent for fiscal 2017. Undergraduate fees, approved by the Corporation today, will be:

Tuition: $50,224 (a 4.0% increase)
Standard room rate: $8,284 (a 3.9% increase)
Standard board: $4,916 (a 4.0& increase)
Health fee: $804 (a 6.9% increase)
Student recreation fee: $64 (unchanged)
Student activities fee: $274 (a 6.2% increase)
    TOTAL: $64,556 (a 4.1% increase)

Graduate tuition for doctoral and master’s degree candidates is the same as undergraduate tuition: $50,224 (a 4% increase). Medical tuition will increase by 4.0 percent to $55,552.

Increased funding will support graduate student dental insurance, a 3-percent increase in stipends, additional travel funds for presentations at conferences and, as a measure of growth for graduate studies at Brown, funds for separate Ph.D. and master’s ceremonies at Commencement.

Endowment income
Brown’s endowment, with a market value of more than $3 billion, will provide $136.2 million (19%) of revenue for the Education and General Budget. That is 6.2 percent higher than the current year budget.

Brown’s $3-billion BrownTogether fundraising campaign, launched last fall, has crossed the billion-dollar mark — reaching $1.015 billion — helping to build the endowment’s ability to provide additional revenue in future years.

Diversity and Inclusion
The budget includes $3 million to support several items in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan in the next academic year. This includes a new dean-level position for programming for first-generation and low-income students, three new faculty diversity lines in the dean of the faculty’s budget, and support for an additional Title IX investigator in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Deficit reduction
In recent years, a greater than expected decline in federal research funding and unexpected growth in financial aid costs led to operating deficits, which the University covered with reserves and other funds. The fiscal 2017 budget continues the University’s effort to reduce and eliminate that structural deficit. With unusually strong performance from the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Professional Studies, the consolidated budget will almost be in balance, with a comparatively small deficit of $300,000.

The budget also benefited from the work of the Deficit Reduction Working Group. That group’s recommendations, submitted last spring, will require two or three years to achieve their full impact, but early measures should provide more than $2 million in deficit reduction for the coming year.

Faculty and Staff Compensation
Salary increase pools of 2.75 percent for both faculty and staff should allow Brown to maintain its market competitiveness for faculty and to continue to address critical equity issues to improve its marketing position for staff. The increase, covering both salary and benefits, will total $8.1 million in the Education and General budget.

Consolidated budget revenue

  • Undergraduate tuition: $323.2 million
  • Graduate tuition: $164.2 million
  • Other tuition and fees: $38.4 million
    Study abroad, health fees
  • Endowment: $155.4 million
  • Sponsored activities: $121.2 million
  • Indirect cost recovery: $41.3 million
    Compensation for University support of sponsored research at a negotiated rate (currently 62.5% of direct costs)
  • Annual giving: $41.1 million
  • Auxiliary and miscellaneous: $126.3 million

Consolidated budget expenditures

  • Faculty compensation: $138.6 million
  • Graduate student support: $104.5 million
  • Other academic support: $166.8 million
    Support for instruction, academic departments, libraries, staff
  • Undergraduate financial aid: $131.5 million
  • Student services: $79.6 million
  • Athletics: $17.7 million
  • General administration and institutional: $50.8 million
  • Development and alumni relations: $31.3 million
  • Computing, information technology: $33.6 million
  • Facilities, debt service, maintenance: $135.8 million
  • Sponsored research: $121.2 million
    Direct costs of research

Other actions of the Corporation

Acceptance of gifts

University policy requires that the Corporation formally accept gifts of $1 million or more. At its business meeting, the Corporation accepted 12 gifts totaling more than $31.4 million:

  • From the late Charles B. Kiesel, a 1936 graduate, and the late Alice P. Kiesel, a commitment of $8,710,216 to endow a professorship and graduate fellowships within the School of Engineering;
  • From the late Frank V. Carollo, a 1950 graduate, a commitment of $5,301,060 to support the Frank V. Carollo Medical Scholarship Fund at the Alpert Medical School;
  • From Robert J. Carney, a 1961 graduate, and Nancy D. Carney, a gift of $3.5 million to endow the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Professorship in Economics.
  • From Genine M. Fidler and Josh E. Fidler, 1977 graduates and Brown parents, a gift of $3 million to endow the Genine and Josh Fidler Family Campus/Community Collaborative within the Swearer Center for Public Service;
  • From Ching-I Hsu, a 1970 Sc.M. and 1974 Ph.D. graduate, and Esther Hsu, Brown parents, a gift of $2 million to endow the Graduate Student Collaboration Space and a graduate fellowship within the School of Engineering;
  • From an anonymous donor a gift of $2 million to support the President’s Discretionary Fund;
  • From Shelby M. C. Davis and Gale L. Davis, friends of the University, a gift of $1,898,223 to support the Davis United World College Scholars Program;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $1,005,421 to endow the Marvin L. Wilenzik ’56 Head Coaching Chair for Brown Wrestling;
  • From Brown parents Mark S. Blumenkranz, a 1972 graduate with 1976 MMS and 1975 M.D. degrees from Brown, and Dr. Recia Kott Blumenkranz, a 1976 graduate, a gift of $1 million to endow a fund to support Brown Biomedical Innovations Inc. in the Division of Biology and Medicine;
  • From an anonymous donor a gift of $1 million to support the football locker room renovation project;
  • From anonymous donors a gift of $1million to endow the head coaching chair for men’s basketball;
  • From J. Russell Triedman, a 1991 graduate, and Melissa R. Triedman, a gift of $1 million pending donor designation;
  • From La Fondation Sackler – The Sackler Foundation, at the suggestion of Brown parent Dr. Kathe A. Sackler, a gift to endow the Brown Sackler Arts Alliance, a new innovative multidisciplinary program in the performing, visual, and literary arts.

Endowed chairs

The Corporation also approved the establishment of the following endowed chairs:

  • The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society Professorship;
  • The Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Professorship in Economics;
  • The Marvin L. Wilenzik '56 Head Coaching Chair for Brown Wrestling;
  • The June G. Zimmerman Professorship in Brain Science.