Date February 12, 2024
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Brown Corporation sets tuition for 2024-25, approves highest employee salary pool since 2009

As the nation and the University continue to contend with inflation, Brown’s governing body approved a 4.5% undergraduate tuition increase and a 4.5% salary increase pool for faculty and staff.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Based on recommendations from a committee of Brown faculty, staff, students and senior administrators, the Corporation of Brown University approved for the University’s next fiscal year undergraduate, graduate and medical school tuition and the highest employee salary pool in 16 years.

Tuition for Brown’s undergraduate education will increase 4.5% for the 2024-25 academic year, to $68,612. Most master’s and doctoral programs will increase 4.5%, and medical school tuition will increase by 2.75%. Each of those tuition increases is lower than last year’s.

At the same time, a faculty and staff salary increase pool of 4.5% for Fiscal Year 2025 will mark the highest increase since Fiscal Year 2009, positioning the University to recognize, reward and retain its talented employees and remain competitive in the national labor market.

“Our ongoing priority as we consider challenging budget decisions is to keep costs manageable for students, through measured tuition increases and additional financial aid, while ensuring the growth of revenue to invest in our faculty and staff, who make fulfillment of our mission of teaching and research possible,” said Provost Francis J. Doyle III.

Brown’s governing body approved each measure on Saturday, Feb. 10, based on recommendations from the University Resources Committee (URC). The approval of tuition and fees and the employee salary increase pool marks the first step in formalizing Brown’s full FY25 operating budget. The URC will continue its work to recommend a full budget for review by the Corporation in May.

In recommending FY25 tuition and fees, the URC’s analysis included a review of trends, a benchmarking process and consideration of the major expansion in financial aid initiatives that Brown has implemented in recent years. Doyle, who is chair of the URC, said the committee members strive to keep tuition and fees low, even as those funds are instrumental in Brown’s ability to sustain investments in research, teaching, student support, financial aid and other priorities.

With increases to room, board and required fees factored in, total undergraduate tuition and fees will increase by 4.75%. A significant factor in rates ultimately approved was the impact of ongoing inflation — a 4.0% overall climb in expenses at U.S. colleges and universities in the last fiscal year continued a trend in which the impact of inflation has translated into higher operating costs for Brown and other schools.

The tuition and fees increase will be coupled with a significant increase in Brown’s financial aid budget, Doyle noted. While the full budget presented to the Corporation in May will solidify financial aid resources across master’s, doctoral and all groups of students, the undergraduate financial aid budget is projected to increase by approximately $13 to $15 million (in the range of 6% to 7%).

“As students and scholars at Brown make important contributions to society through research, teaching and community engagement, it’s essential that we double down on our ongoing efforts to enroll and support students from a wide range of economic backgrounds,” Doyle said. “This year’s tuition rate and financial aid budget strike an important balance between ensuring sufficient revenue to support our strategic priorities and providing funding to enroll exceptional students from across the globe, regardless of their financial need.”

Undergraduate aid has long been among the fastest-growing elements in the annual budget, with the University introducing a growing range of financial support measures as part of its commitment to expanded access. Brown meets 100% of each undergraduate’s demonstrated financial need; replaced loans with scholarships in University financial aid packages; eliminated consideration of home equity in considering families’ financial circumstances; reduced summer earnings expectations for high-need students; and plans to become need-blind for international undergraduate students in the next admissions cycle. Brown covers full tuition for families earning $125,000 or less with typical assets, while students from families making less than $60,000 a year with typical assets receive scholarships that cover all expenses — tuition, room, board, books and other expenses.

The Corporation also approved room and board rates and student fees for 2024-25, with some fee increases assisting individual Brown departments in removing or reducing required student fees for activities on campus. An increase from $80 to $90 in the student recreation fee, for example, will enable Brown’s Division of Athletics and Recreation to continue to eliminate direct charges for most group fitness and intramural sports and expand offerings. Separately, an increase in the undergraduate student activities fee comes as Brown offers no-cost participation in many large student events, including Spring Weekend and Senior Week — a shift that reflects Brown’s commitment to removing barriers to participation for students across the financial spectrum.

Investing in employees

The approved employee salary increase pool of 4.5% for FY25 continues a trend of investments to strengthen Brown’s ability to recruit, retain and recognize talented faculty and staff in a shifting labor market. In recommending the high pool — which was typically in the range of 2.5% to 3.5% over most of the previous decade — the URC considered factors including recruitment and retention trends, regional cost of living and persistent economic inflation across the nation.

“From teaching and research to maintaining our physical campus, protecting our community and providing support to students, our dedicated staff and faculty contribute their talents in innumerable ways, making Brown the world-class university it is,” Doyle said. “This year’s salary pool is fiscally responsible while also demonstrating our commitment to our employees and our intention to remain a top employer in Rhode Island.”

Funds from the salary pool are allocated by 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. Given the pool’s use to fund all of these employee support measures, annual merit increases for faculty and staff will not in most cases reflect the full 4.5%.

Additional detail on tuition and fees

The Corporation approved the following undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2024-25 academic year:

Tuition: $68,612
Standard room rate: $9,940
Standard board: $7,504
Undergraduate student resources fee: $1,044
Health services fee: $1,166
Student activities fee: $400
Student recreation fee: $90

Graduate tuition for most doctoral and on-campus master’s degree programs will increase by 4.5% to $8,576 per course. Given a shift in 2018 to market-based pricing for some master’s degrees, approximately a dozen University master’s programs have tuition rates that vary from the standard — for most, tuition for 2024-25 will increase by 4%, with cost for a small number of programs remaining the same as for 2023-24.

Medical school tuition will increase by 2.75% to $71,192.