The Corporation of Brown University has approved a consolidated operating budget of $834.3 million for the 2012 fiscal year, a 6.4-percent increase over the current year. The total charge for undergraduates will rise 3.5 percent to $53,136, and the University’s financial aid budget will rise 8.3 percent to $88.2 million.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its regular winter meeting Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, the Corporation of Brown University approved a consolidated operating budget of $834.3 million for fiscal year 2012, a 6.4-percent increase over the current fiscal 2011 budget. The budget includes a 3.5-percent increase in total student fees to $53,136 and assumes an undergraduate student body of 6,000, a 1.1-percent increase over the current enrollment. The Corporation also approved a 5-percent increase in tuition at the Alpert School of Medicine and a 36-percent increase in the financial aid budget for medical students.

“The budget approved today will make significant investments in key University priorities, including improved support for students, faculty and staff, enhancements for the Graduate School and the Alpert Medical School, and increased research capacity,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons.

The University Resources Committee, a 17-member body of faculty, administrators, staff and students, is responsible for developing annual budget recommendations for the president, who proposes a budget to the Corporation. It is chaired by the provost, who releases the URC report on his website following the Corporation’s action.

Revenue Highlights

  • Tuition and fees. The University relies on tuition and fees for approximately 55 percent of revenue in the Education and General Budget. For 2011-12, tuition will rise 3.5 percent to $41,328; the room rate will rise 3.5 percent to $6,748; the standard meal contract will rise 3.5 percent to $4,158; and the health fee will rise 1.5 percent to $660. The recreation and student activities fees will remain unchanged at $64 and $178 respectively. Total undergraduate charges will be $53,136, an increase of 3.5 percent. The Corporation also authorized a slight increase in undergraduate enrollment to 6,000, approximately 1.1 percent over current enrollment.
  • Endowment and fundraising. To adjust to the sharp decline in endowment that resulted from the 2008 financial crisis, the University reduced the income drawn from endowment in the fiscal year 2011 budget by 20 percent. Having made the necessary adjustments and returned to a more stable budget planning process, the Corporation budgeted a 4-percent increase in income from existing endowment for fiscal year 2012.
  • Annual giving. During Brown’s recently concluded Boldly Brown comprehensive campaign, the Brown Annual fund set new records for total annual giving and for total participants. For fiscal 2012, the University anticipates a 6.5-percent increase in annual giving from all sources, totaling $41.6 million for the Education and General Budget.
  • Sponsored research. One of the clear indicators of the success of the University’s Plan for Academic Enrichment has been the recent growth in sponsored research support. Brown University’s fiscal 2010 total of research awards was 37 percent higher than in fiscal 2009. Even without federal stimulus funding, total awards increased 16 percent for that period. While the stimulus program has come to an end, faculty members have continued to attract increases in sponsored support. Based on awards received to date, the University anticipates continued growth in direct research funding and indirect cost recovery in fiscal 2012. These incremental funds provide critical support for the important work of faculty and graduate students.


  • Financial aid. For more than a decade, Brown has been expanding its programs of student financial aid. It has expanded the percentage of undergraduates receiving aid from 35 percent in 2001-02 to 43 percent in the current year. It has sharply reduced requirements for parental contributions, and it has nearly doubled the average size of the University scholarship, from $16,288 in 2001-02 to $31,292 in the current year. The undergraduate financial aid budget has long been the fastest growing budget category. For the 2011-12 academic year, the Corporation has approved an 8.3-percent increase in the financial aid budget, to $88.2 million — an increase of about $6.7 million.
  • Faculty and staff compensation. Brown’s Plan for Academic Enrichment set a high priority on improving the competitiveness of faculty salaries and staff compensation. For the six fiscal years from 2003-04 through 2008-09, the University made substantial improvements in compensation, even as it increased the size of the faculty. As it confronted economic difficulties in fiscal year 2010, the University froze most faculty and staff salaries and reduced the size of its staff by approximately 5 percent over two years. For fiscal year 2012, the Corporation has approved merit increase pools for faculty and staff. The Corporation also approved an increase in benefits support to cover the growing cost of health care. Compensation for faculty and staff constitutes approximately half of the Education and General Budget.
  • Academic programs: Graduate School. The University has recently made significant allocations to its Graduate School, increasing its size and quality. Since fiscal year 2002, Brown has paid health insurance for Ph.D. students and, since 2007, has guaranteed incoming students five years of tuition and stipend support, with funding for four summers beginning in the current year. The Corporation continues those allocations for fiscal year 2012, increasing stipends by 5 percent to $20,500, and covering a 12-percent increase in the cost of health insurance and increasing the number of fellowships.
  • Academic programs: Research. The Corporation approved additional funding for the Office of the Vice President for Research aimed at expanding the university’s capacity to support faculty engaged in sponsored research. It will expand the availability of seed funding to increase the number of projects that are able to attract research grants. It will also provide for additional staff to assist faculty with developing larger multi-investigator grants and to comply with new reporting requirements for federal research awards.
  • Facilities support. The fiscal 2012 budget includes support for the new Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, the new mathematics institute, and the renovated Metcalf Lab, home for Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. It also funds neighborhood enhancements in Providence’s Jewelry District, site of the University’s renovated medical education building.

Budget background

The University’s consolidated budget includes three separate budgets:

  • Education and General — By far the largest of the three, E&G includes revenue and expenditures for the undergraduate College and the Graduate School — everything except the Division of Biology and Medicine.
  • Biology and Medicine — The Biology and Medicine budget includes revenue and expenditures for the Warren Alpert Medical School and for academic activities of campus-based life sciences and public health departments.
  • Auxiliaries — The auxiliary budget includes a variety of campus services — dining, dormitories, bookstore — that raise sufficient revenue to cover their operating costs without University subsidy.

Financial aid highlights

Financial aid budget
In fiscal year 2002, the University’s financial aid budget was $33.9 million. The budget for fiscal year 2012 is $88.2 million, an increase of about $6.7 million from the current year.

Average scholarships
In fiscal year 2002, the average University scholarship was $16,288. The average scholarship in the current year is $31,292.

Undergraduates receiving need-based financial aid
Forty-three percent of undergraduates receive need-based financial aid. In the 2001-02 academic year, that figure was 35 percent. Forty-six percent of the current first-year class receives need-based financial aid, compared to 39 percent of the previous entering class.

Parental contribution
In February 2008, the University adopted a new financial aid policy, implemented in the 2008-09 academic year, that eliminated parental contributions from families making less than $60,000 per year. The percentage of aided students with no parental contribution has tripled, from 12 percent in 2007-08 to 36 percent in the current academic year, representing 952 students.

Student loans
The same policy, implemented in 2008-09, removed loans from initial financial aid packages for students from families earning less than $100,000. The percentage of aided students whose initial packages did not include loans rose from 6 percent in 2007-08 to 61 percent in the current academic year, representing 1,611 students. (Students may choose to borrow in order to replace their summer earnings, for example, or to support study away.)