Date February 14, 2022
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Brown Corporation approves lowest tuition increase, highest employee salary pool in last decade

Brown’s governing body approved a 2.85% increase in tuition and fees for 2022-23, a 4.25% salary increase pool for faculty and staff, and bonuses for 4,600 employees; the Corporation also elected its next vice chancellor.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Based on recommendations from the University Resources Committee (URC), a committee of faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, the Corporation of Brown University approved for 2022-23 the lowest increase in Brown tuition and fees and the highest faculty and staff salary increase pool in the last decade.

Tuition for Brown’s undergraduate education will increase 2.85% for the 2022-23 academic year, to $62,680, matching the University’s lowest increase in 11 years. Tuition for most doctoral and master’s degree programs will increase by 2.85%, and medical school tuition will increase by 1.75%.

At the same time, a faculty and staff salary pool of 4.25% will mark the highest increase in more than a decade. Separately, one-time bonus payments ranging from $2,000 to $4,500 to approximately 4,600 eligible employees will recognize their shared extraordinary efforts.

The Corporation of Brown University approved each of those Fiscal Year 2023 measures on Saturday, Feb. 12, based on recommendations from the URC. Brown’s governing body also elected Pamela R. Reeves, a 1987 Brown graduate and trustee since 2016, its new vice chancellor, effective July 1, 2022.

The approval of tuition and fees and the employee salary pool marks the first step in formalizing the full FY23 budget. The URC will continue its work to recommend a full budget for review by the Corporation in May.

President Christina H. Paxson recommended the approval of the URC’s recommendations to the Corporation. She said the decisions on tuition and fees and support for employees were made in the context of strong endowment performance and fundraising successes at Brown, and also with the recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact University finances and, most directly, students, employees and their families.

“Due to exceptional endowment performance, record BrownTogether fundraising and disciplined budgetary measures put in place to contend with the significant financial impact of the pandemic, the University is in a more secure financial position today than in Fiscal Year 2021,” Paxson said. “We’re pleased to be able to keep tuition increases modest, complement them with new financial aid and devote additional financial resources to the students and employees who continue to advance Brown’s teaching, learning and research.”

In recognition of the University’s commitment to ensuring that family income is not a barrier to accessing a Brown education, Provost Richard M. Locke said the URC deliberated extensively on how to keep tuition increases as low as possible while ensuring Brown would have the revenue required to sustain investment in research, teaching, student support, financial aid and other priorities.

The 2.85% tuition increase will provide approximately $12 million in additional revenue to advance strategic priorities at Brown, said Locke, who chairs the resources committee. The modest increase comes at a time when the University is significantly expanding financial aid and launching new initiatives to improve college access as part of its commitment to welcoming students from an increasingly diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The University announced in October a move to cover full tuition for families earning $125,000 or less with typical assets, while students of families making less than $60,000 a year with typical assets will receive scholarships that cover all expenses — tuition, room, board, books and other expenses. The college access initiative will support college preparation for high school students in Providence.

“This year’s tuition increase matches the lowest in the past 11 years, recognizing the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on families and complementing the significant investments we’re making to expand scholarships and boost college access, including for students right here in Providence,” Locke said. “At the same time, it ensures the revenue required for Brown to attract and support the most talented students, faculty and staff and to provide the environment needed to advance our mission of knowledge, discovery and community impact.”

Investing in employees

The Corporation approved a faculty and staff salary increase pool of 4.25% for FY23, the first time since Fiscal Year 2008 that both faculty and staff pools were 4.25% or higher. Funds from the salary pool are allocated by senior academic and administrative leaders to support annual performance-based salary increases for employees, equity adjustments, retention and promotions over the course of the fiscal year.

Locke said the URC reviewed substantial analyses in recommending the high salary increase pool, considering factors ranging from recruitment and retention trends, labor markets impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, new employee opportunities for remote and hybrid work, and economic inflation across the nation.

“The URC felt strongly that although the pandemic has had substantial financial consequences for Brown, it was crucial to put forth an extraordinary salary pool this year,” Locke said. “This increase is also an acknowledgment of the incredible commitment our community has had to this institution throughout the pandemic.”

As additional recognition of the extraordinary efforts of Brown employees, the Corporation approved a special one-time bonus payment to eligible faculty and staff. Approximately 4,600 active employees will be eligible for a one-time payment in March 2022 equivalent to 3% of their base pay, with a minimum payment of $2,000 and a maximum of $4,500.

“Our dedicated faculty and staff have not been immune to the social, political, economic and health challenges we have faced in recent times, and yet we see them go to great lengths to sustain our core mission of caring for students, providing a world-class education and conducting groundbreaking research,” Paxson said. “We are deeply grateful to our employees — this year’s salary pool and special bonus payment serve as an investment in the people who make the teaching, research and operations of Brown possible every day.”

Brown’s next vice chancellor

With her election as vice chancellor effective July 1, 2022, Pamela R. Reeves will succeed Alison S. Ressler, who has served in the role since 2016. Reeves will join a leadership team that includes Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff, Treasurer Theresia Gouw (both of whom were reappointed to their roles through June 30, 2025) and Secretary Richard A. Friedman (who will be up for reappointment in 2023).

“It has been a deep honor to serve on the Brown Corporation for the last six years, and I'm excited now to join a team of Corporation members and senior leaders at Brown in support of their commitment to excellence throughout the University,” Reeves said. “I cannot think of a more collaborative, values-driven and committed group of people, and I am gratified to be part of the Corporation’s work to support students, faculty and staff across this extraordinary community and to advance Brown’s mission to make a positive impact in the world.”

Reeves, a 1987 Brown graduate and trustee since 2016, is an international development and policy strategist who advises governments, foundations and private sector companies. She has contributed to global strategic agenda-setting as an advisor to Nike and Mars, Inc., and as the consulting senior advisor on gender strategy to the executive office of Melinda Gates. Reeves served as director of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s International Fund for Women and Girls at the U.S. Department of State. She served as the United Nations human rights officer in Liberia during that country’s civil war and has worked in over 20 countries on governance transitions over the past three decades.

As an undergraduate at Brown, Reeves was an international relations concentrator with a focus on transitions to democracy, which she continued to pursue both professionally and at Yale University, where she received her master’s degree. She is a senior fellow in international and public affairs at the Watson Institute and a member of the Board of Governors of the John Carter Brown Library. She also serves on the boards of directors of Women for Women International, the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya, and the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. 

Additional detail on tuition and fees

The Corporation approved the following undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2022-23 academic year:

Tuition: $62,680
Standard room rate: $9,368
Standard board: $6,472
Health fee: $1,036
Undergraduate student resources fee: $974*
Student activities fee: $286
Student recreation fee: $70

*Note: In approving tuition and fees, the Corporation authorized a structural change to undergraduate student fees that will have no additional financial impact on most students, but will clarify the purpose of certain fees. Previously, fees to fund offices, centers and programs that provide direct support and services to undergraduates were included in either room charges (for on-campus students) or a non-resident fee (for off-campus students). Beginning in Fiscal Year 2023, the fee to fund these areas will be labeled the Undergraduate Student Resources Fee. The non-resident fee, which funded these resources directly, will be eliminated, and room charges for on-campus students will be reduced by the corresponding dollar amount. The newly named Student Resources Fee for FY23 will be $974.

Graduate tuition for most doctoral and on-campus master’s degree programs will increase by 2.85% to $7,835 per course. Given a shift in 2018 to market-based pricing for some master’s degrees, approximately a dozen master’s programs have tuition rates that vary from the standard — for most, tuition for 2022-23 will remain the same as for 2021-21 or increase by 2.85%.

Medical school tuition will increase by 1.75% to $67,268.