PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A generous gift of $25 million from Brown University alumni and siblings Aysha and Omar Shoman will provide a major boost in financial aid for Brown’s international undergraduates, and expand the University’s ability to attract and educate the most exceptional international students from all socioeconomic groups.
The Shomans’ gift — the largest individual donation for international financial aid in Brown’s history — will also advance the University’s path toward becoming just the sixth school in the United States to implement need-blind undergraduate admissions for international students. While Brown has been need-blind for domestic students since 2003, the University currently has a “need-aware” policy that considers a student’s financial need in admissions decisions for international undergraduates.
The University is working to aggressively grow its financial aid budget with the goal of becoming fully need-blind for international students for the graduating Class of 2029 (which will begin at Brown in Fall 2025). The gift from the Shomans — both of whom earned bachelor’s degrees from Brown as international students — marks major progress toward the $120 million fundraising goal that will enable the move to need-blind admissions.
University President Christina H. Paxson said an increasingly diverse population of international students will bring distinct experiences and perspectives to the Brown community, helping students prepare for successful lives and careers in a global society.
“I am routinely inspired by the drive, intellectual curiosity and accomplishments of our international students, and the world and our nation desperately need the contributions they can make,” Paxson said. “We want to be able to admit exceptional international students to Brown, regardless of their financial resources, and the generosity of Aysha and Omar Shoman will enable us to do that for many students for generations to come.”
Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for advancement, said the Shomans’ commitment will inspire others as the University works toward need-blind international admissions.
“As we meet with our alumni and friends and talk with them about this initiative, we are seeing strong interest and support for building an inclusive community where the most outstanding students anywhere in the world can consider Brown regardless of their financial situation,” Gonzalez said. “The Shomans’ gift is groundbreaking and leading the way toward the University’s goal to become need-blind for international students.”
The gift comes as part of BrownTogether, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in University history, which has raised $3.27 billion to date to support priorities ranging from student scholarships, to residential life and campus initiatives, to research on pressing societal issues. With momentum from the Shomans’ lead gift, the University has to date raised more than $61 million for international financial aid from Brown alumni and parents.
A deep commitment to supporting education
For Omar and Aysha Shoman, supporting education has deep family roots.
“My grandfather dropped out of school at age 6,” Omar Shoman said. “In 1911, when he came to New York City, he learned to read and write on the boat ride from Palestine. He had just $20 in his pocket when he arrived in the U.S., starting out as a door-to-door salesman and later starting his own business.”