At a White House summit on the “College Pipeline Initiative,” Brown University President Christina Paxson announced a new commitment to students who receive need-based financial aid. The University will ensure that aided students will have the opportunity to participate in at least one funded internship or research commitment during their undergraduate careers regardless of economic circumstance.

WASHINGTON, D.C. [Brown University] — Financial aid may be more than a matter of affording tuition and fees. Internships and research opportunities are becoming more important both as tools for learning retention and as part of a college graduate’s preparation for a career.

Brown University will take steps to ensure that all students who receive need-based financial aid will have access to at least one such internship or research opportunity during their undergraduate careers. Brown President Christina Paxson announced that commitment at the White House today, as part of a White House summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

“Students who receive financial aid often need paid work during the summer months in order to afford college,” Paxson said. “The prospect of an unpaid or inadequately compensated internship, coupled with the expense of living away from home, may put the experience out of reach regardless of its educational value. Brown will ensure that aided students are not deprived of these important opportunities. It is a matter of equity.”

Brown has already committed half a million dollars to support aided students who have opportunities for internships or research but not the financial means to take full advantage of them. The University will begin offering enhanced support for the summer of 2014 and will build the program so that all qualified students will be included by the summer of 2018.

Support for internships and research opportunities is consistent with Brown’s long-standing commitment to ensuring success for all students through admission and financial aid policies, academic advising, and outreach to elementary and secondary schools and the students they serve, particularly in urban, disadvantaged areas.

For example, over the last decade, Brown has more than doubled its direct spending on need-based financial aid, from $44 million to nearly $100 million. Brown has focused its financial aid budget on those with the highest need; eliminating parental contributions from families earning less than $60,000 and eliminating loans for those earning less than $100,000. During that time, the percentage of aided students with no expected parental contribution has tripled; the number of students receiving Pell Grants has increased by 45 percent; and the Class of 2017, with 49 percent of its members receiving financial aid, is the most diverse in Brown’s nearly 250-year history, including 41 percent who are students of color and 17 percent who are first-generation students.

Additional efforts include:

  • the Sidney E. Frank Endowed Scholarship Fund, providing financial assistance for the neediest undergraduate students at Brown;
  • the TEAM advising program, which helps academic advisers become more aware of issues faced by low-income and minority students;
  • Brown commits more than $1.2 million to enroll 465 low-income pre-college students in its summer programs. More than 200 of these young people come through partnerships with mentoring programs, schools and community groups from urban districts across the country. Students engage in college learning and campus life, meet admission officers at the College Fair, and prepare for the transition to college life.
  • the Brown University Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, which provides direct scholarships for low-income, high-achieving Providence public high school graduates accepted to any accredited two- or four-year institutions of higher education;
  • the College Advising Corps, which works to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education;
  • Brown’s new TRI-Lab initiative, bringing faculty, community leaders, and students together to work intensively on specific social issues. TRI-Lab has focused on early childhood development in its pilot year, which has had a direct and long-term impact on school and college success;
  • together, Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service, Department of Education, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and other partnerships throughout the University support nearly 80 programs in schools across the city, state, and region, including many programs with a focus on STEM education.