PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Thursday, Dec. 16, Brown University invited 896 prospective students who applied through its early decision program to become the first members of its undergraduate Class of 2026.
The pool of 6,146 early decision applicants from which those students were admitted marked the University’s most diverse to date, with record numbers of first-generation college students, students from low-income families and students of color — reflecting Brown’s sustained commitment to making a Brown education more accessible to students from every socioeconomic and geographic background.
Total applications through the early decision program, which is intended for prospective students who express a commitment to attend Brown if accepted, increased 11% compared to the Class of 2025. That marks the fourth consecutive year that applications have increased, a trend that coincides with the launch of The Brown Promise initiative, which replaced loans with scholarship funds in all University-packaged undergraduate financial aid awards beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
“We are inspired by the incredible resilience and breadth of knowledge and talent shown by our early decision applicants, especially in a year marked by such challenge and uncertainty,” said Dean of Admission Logan Powell. “From among them, we are humbled to welcome a cohort who is sure to make a positive impact at Brown and well beyond for years to come, building from their own unique perspectives and lived experiences.”
Powell said a determination to reunite with others to solve problems and more deeply engage in their communities was among the characteristics that stood out most about the admitted students — largely in reaction to impact of COVID-19 on their high school experience, in which remote learning, time spent away from friends or family, and health and financial hardships were realities for many.
“We have found, consistently, that these students have described the challenges they’ve experienced these past two years, but they’re also describing their commitment to be optimistic, build connections, re-engage and reconnect what had been severed,” Powell said. “They’ve had to deal with a tremendous amount of disruption, and the optimism and sense of determination they’ve shown is truly inspiring.”
Among this year’s diverse cohort of admitted early decision students, 57% applied for financial aid, and 17% of students will be first in their family to attend college. Of the total cohort, 51% are students of color, defined as those who self-identify as Black, Latinx, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Asian — a 3% increase from last year.
“Given the significant and quite often disproportionate impacts of the pandemic, we were concerned that we might not see the number of applicants we would hope for among students from groups historically underrepresented at colleges and universities,” Powell said. “We are delighted that they in fact applied and were admitted in record numbers.”
Among the 896 accepted students are 54 admitted through Brown’s partnership with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit that works to equalize access to top colleges and universities for high school students from low-income families — that number is up from just three students as recently as six years ago.
Collectively, the accepted early decision students represent 47 nations, 43 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The top countries represented outside the United States are China, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Brazil and Singapore.
Applicants were able to learn their application status beginning at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 16, via a secure website. All early decision applicants indicated that Brown was their first-choice college and agreed to accept an offer of admission if the University extended one.
“Every class has a personality, and sometimes you don’t see that until the students arrive,” Powell said. “But from where we are right now, there really is a driving force of joy, hope and motivation within the Class of 2026.”
The deadline for regular decision applications for Brown’s undergraduate Class of 2026 is Jan. 5, 2022.