1997-1998 indexDistributed February 14, 1998
A larger financial aid budget
Brown approves lowest percentage fee increase in more than 30 years
The Brown Corporation has approved an increase of 3.9 percent in total undergraduate fees, the lowest percentage increase since 1967. Tuition will rise 4.5 percent to $23,616; undergraduate fees, including room and board, will total $31,060. Brown's undergraduate financial aid budget, which is indexed to increases in overall fees, will receive $1.6 million in new funding.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Corporation of Brown University today approved an increase of 3.9 percent in total undergraduate fees for the 1998-99 academic year, the lowest percentage increase since 1967. The Corporation also approved a $1.6-million increase in the undergraduate financial aid budget and endorsed new policies designed to make Brown accessible to more students.
"Brown, like its peers, is under extreme pressure to moderate tuition increases, to enhance financial aid budgets, and to maintain the competitiveness of our salaries," Brown President E. Gordon Gee said in remarks to the Corporation's budget and finance committee. "Brown must respond in a way that enables us to control our own destiny - to strive for an even more diversified student population and to make a Brown education a possibility for more students."
The average scholarship package awarded by the University to students receiving financial aid will be worth more than $13,000 next year, and the number of students receiving aid - currently 35.5 percent of the undergraduate student body - is expected to rise.
The $1.6-million increase in the financial aid budget continues nearly a decade of steady improvements in undergraduate scholarships. In the spring of 1990, Brown began indexing its undergraduate financial aid budget to annual increases in total student fees, guaranteeing that financial aid would keep pace with rising costs. In fact, the financial aid budget has risen much faster than total fees.
During the 1990s, financial aid has been the fastest growing element within the University's budget, rising an average of 9.1 percent annually between fiscal years 1988 and 1998, compared to an average annual increase of 5.8 percent in the University's overall budget. During that same period, the financial aid endowment grew 167 percent (from $67 million to $179 million), and the percentage of students receiving aid increased from 29.5 to 35.5 percent.
Two policy changes will lead to further improvements in the University's financial aid program. First, the University will now waive its summer earnings expectations for certain financial aid students who pursue approved non-paid academic internships or other academic work experiences between their junior and senior years. This pilot project will assure that aided and non-aided students will have access to the same educational opportunities. Second, the University will not include the new federal HOPE Scholarships in the formula it uses to calculate a student's financial need.
In holding the overall fees increase to 3.9 percent, the Corporation agreed to Gee's request that the increase be lower than the recommended level. The Advisory Committee on University Planning (ACUP) - a body of faculty, students and administrators that reviews University priorities and spending plans and makes budget recommendations to the president - had recommended that he seek an overall increase of 4.1 percent. Gee reduced ACUP's recommended increase for tuition to 4.5 from 4.7 percent; for the room rate to 2.0 from 2.7 percent; and for the meal contract rate to 1.4 from 2.1 percent.
Tuition accounts for nearly 80 percent of the University's unrestricted funds and is one of two elements that the University can control in determining revenue expectations. The other - the draw on endowment - also was set at today's Corporation meeting. The Corporation reduced the draw by one-tenth of a percent to 4.8 percent. The Corporation has reduced the endowment draw by 0.1 percent annually since fiscal year 1993 as a way of preserving and enhancing the value of its endowment.
The University applies the endowment draw to a rolling 12-quarter average of the endowment's value. Even with a lower draw, the endowment will provide 14 percent more revenue next year because the endowment has performed so well during the last three years, according to Donald J. Reaves, executive vice president for finance and administration. The endowment will provide about 12 percent of next year's revenue, up from 7 percent a decade ago.
Overall, Gee told the Corporation, Brown is in a very strong position. A record applicant pool of 15,453 for the Class of '02 indicates that demand for a Brown education remains strong. "I believe these decisions on tuition and financial aid strike a reasonable balance between our aspirations and our resources," Gee said, "We have a conservative budget that meets our current needs and lays a solid foundation for the future."
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