PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its winter meeting today (Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008), the Corporation of Brown University approved a total operating budget of $752.9 million for fiscal year 2009, an increase of 6.7 percent over the current year. The University’s budget for undergraduate financial aid, the fastest growing element within the budget, will increase by more than 20 percent next year, reaching $68.5 million.
The Corporation also approved a 3.9-percent increase in total undergraduate charges for the 2008-09 academic year. Undergraduate tuition will rise to $36,928. Room, board, health services, and other fees will bring the total undergraduate charge to $47,740.
“The Corporation approved an aggressive, forward-looking budget in the face of national and global economic pressures,” said Brown Chancellor Thomas J. Tisch. “The University’s ability to continue with its ambitious multiyear strategic plan was the Corporation’s paramount concern.”
President Ruth J. Simmons said, “I am pleased that the Corporation saw fit to continue investments in growth of the faculty, compensation, graduate students, international outreach, enhanced research programs, academic excellence, and especially our programs for student financial aid.”
One measure of the Corporation’s support, Tisch said, was its decision to increase the endowment draw beyond the long-standing policy limit of 5.5 percent of the endowment’s average market value for the previous three years. Next year’s endowment draw of 5.89 percent, coupled with strong endowment growth in recent years, will provide the University with an additional $22.9 million for a total of $110.6 million in budgetary support from the endowment in fiscal 2009.
The budget recommendations for fiscal 2009 were developed by the University Resources Committee (URC), a 17-member planning body of faculty, students, staff and senior officers that meets year-round. The URC meets with each senior officer to review the budget challenges of various offices, departments and divisions. The URC also holds periodic open meetings for the entire Brown community. Chaired by Provost David I. Kertzer, the URC submits its recommendation to the president for her review. The president then presents her final budget recommendation to the University’s Corporation for its consideration and a vote.
The complete URC report is available online.
Tuition and student fees remain the largest source of University revenue, although they constitute a declining portion of all revenues. Six years ago, tuition accounted for 58 percent of revenue; in fiscal 2009 that figure is expected to be 50 percent.
In addition to student fees and the endowment draw, which are the two prominent revenue sources under the Corporation’s direct control, the University also projects revenue from a variety of other sources, including:
- Indirect cost recovery allows the University to receive reimbursement for facilities and administrative costs involved in sponsored research. The University regularly negotiates its indirect cost recovery rate with the government and is doing so now. The URC report incorporates a 5-percent increase in fiscal 2009 to $32.5 million.
- Annual giving has been rising consistently for several years. Since President Simmons’s arrival in 2001, the Brown Annual Fund has more than doubled and the number of donors has increased nearly 75 percent. For fiscal 2009, the University budget includes a 4-percent increase over the current year’s record-setting performance to a target of $41.7 million.
The 2009 budget will continue to fund the important priorities of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, the University’s multiyear plan for enhancing academic programs and research, including:
- Enhancing undergraduate education. The undergraduate financial aid budget will rise 20 percent to $68.5 million. Improvements to the advising system and to other undergraduate academic support activities that are being developed by Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron will receive a $550,000 budget increase. Programs to enhance health services, student life, and athletics will also receive additional funding.
- Faculty excellence. The University’s strategic plan originally called for expanding the faculty by 100 new positions. That expansion continues. Depending on searches currently underway, the faculty could increase by another 20 positions next fall, bringing the roster of regular faculty to approximately 700, the largest in the University’s history. The budget also continues to increase faculty salaries at an average rate that is expected to be higher than most peer institutions and supports enhancements to the sabbatical leave policy.
- Academic programs and initiatives. International initiatives being developed by the new vice president for international affairs and an international postdoctoral fellows program overseen by the Cogut Center for the Humanities will receive a total of $1.45 million in new support.
- Excellence in graduate education. Additional graduate students will receive support, and the average stipend will be increased through a 16-percent increase in the budget for graduate student support to $40.5 million. The base stipend for doctoral students will increase to $19,000.