The Corporation of Brown University has approved a fiscal 2015 operating budget that includes a record $104.1 million for undergraduate financial aid. The financial aid budget, long one of the fastest-growing elements in the University’s budget, will increase by 9.3 percent over the current year budgeted amount.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its regular February meeting Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, the Corporation of Brown University approved a consolidated budget of $941.5 million for the University’s 2015 fiscal year, which includes the budgets of the Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health. The fiscal 2015 budget represents an increase of 3.2 percent over the current year.

For the 2014-15 academic year, the University’s undergraduate financial aid budget will grow to $104.1 million — 9.3 percent higher than the current budget. Total undergraduate charges — tuition, room, board, and fees — will rise to $59,428, a 3.8-percent increase; the average student scholarship is projected to increase by about 5 percent.

“Against a backdrop of a slow economic recovery and uncertainty about the federal budget, the Corporation today has directed the University’s resources exactly where they are needed most: toward enhancing the University’s academic excellence and ensuring that a Brown education remains accessible to the most promising students regardless of family income,” said Brown President Christina Paxson.

Undergraduate financial aid has long been the fastest-growing part of the University’s budget, averaging 9.4 percent in annual growth over the last decade, and is among the University’s largest investments. Approximately 44 percent of Brown undergraduates receive need-based financial aid, including federal and state need-based scholarships and grants, with an average scholarship of $35,823. Students from families earning less than $100,000 do not have loans in their financial aid packages, and most families earning less than $60,000 are not required to make a parental contribution toward the cost of education (see Facts about Financial Aid).

The 2015 budget also enhances a number of academic programs and student support services, including new instructional technologies and a Laboratory for Educational Innovation; increases to the library’s budget; additional coordinators in Campus Life for men’s health and for accessibility services; and a significant investment in the Department of Public Safety to ensure continued security services for the campus community.

The budget Paxson presented to the Corporation was developed by the University Resources Committee, a 22-member group of faculty, students, and administrators chaired by Provost Mark S. Schlissel. The URC met weekly throughout the fall semester, receiving presentations from academic deans and senior administration officers and conducting a public forum for the University community. The full text of the URC’s 2014-15 budget report to President Paxson is available on the Provost’s website.

The budget

The University’s $941.5-million consolidated budget includes four separate components:

  • Education and General (E&G) — includes the undergraduate College, the Graduate School, and all academic programs outside the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health. Fiscal 2015 budget: $625.3 million, about 66.4 percent of the consolidated budget.
  • Auxiliary Operations — includes University Dining Services, dormitories, the Brown Bookstore, and other campus services which are self-supporting without a University subsidy. Fiscal 2015 budget: $143.8 million, about 15.3 percent of the consolidated budget.
  • Biology and Medicine — includes the Warren Alpert Medical School and academic activities of campus-based life sciences. Fiscal 2015 budget: $124.9 million, about 13.3 percent of the consolidated budget.
  • Public Health — includes the Brown University School of Public Health, established in 2013 and currently completing its first academic year. Fiscal 2015 budget: $47.4 million, about 5 percent of the consolidated budget.

Sources of revenue

The primary sources of University revenue are tuition and fees, sponsored research, income from the endowment, and annual giving. In the years following the 2008 economic downturn, the University has drawn on reserves to balance its budgets. For fiscal 2015, the URC recommended the use of $3.8 million in reserves, down from $4.4 million in the current year. While the use of reserves has been easing, the URC recognized that “modest but persistent” budget deficits are not sustainable. The University will need to continue its work toward a balanced budget.

  • Tuition and fees are the University’s largest source of revenue. For the 2014-15 academic year, total undergraduate charges will rise 3.8 percent to $59,428. The undergraduate student body will increase slightly, from about 6,040 to 6,100, an increase of 1 percent, consistent with the University’s strategic plan, Building on Distinction. The University’s decision to draw $3.8 million from its reserves helped reduce pressure on tuition as a revenue source.
  • Tuition for graduate study will rise by 4 percent to $46,408, and medical student tuition will also rise 4 percent to $51,360.
  • Sponsored research — the University’s second-largest source of revenue — is projected to generate about 5 percent less revenue overall in fiscal 2015. The URC cites a worsening federal budget situation in its conservative revenue projections for 2015.
  • The University’s endowment, the third-largest source of revenue, had a strong 12.6-percent return in the 2013 fiscal year and neared its $2.8-billion peak prior to the 2008 market crash. For the fiscal 2015 budget, the total endowment income is expected to grow by 6.6 percent.

Expenditures: Advancing University priorities

The University seeks to allocate resources to advance its highest priorities of supporting undergraduate, graduate and medical students, faculty, and staff to engage in teaching, research, and service.

The budget for undergraduate financial aid will be $104.1 million — 9.3 percent larger than budgeted this year. The URC anticipates that the percentage of undergraduates receiving University scholarship aid will remain at approximately 44 percent for the 2014-15 academic year.

The University continues its commitment to sustaining and enhancing its graduate programs. The base Ph.D. stipend will increase 3.7 percent to $23,000. Eight University-supported doctoral slots will be added as part of an effort for growth in engineering and in new graduate programs for Africana studies and behavioral and health sciences. Some of the new slots will be allocated to the “Open Graduate Education” program, through which doctoral students can earn a master’s degree in a secondary field related to their research interests. The University will continue to provide health insurance for Ph.D. students (an 8-percent increase) and help with childcare costs.

The budget includes increases for faculty and staff salaries, including contractual increases for unionized staff.

Other actions of the Corporation

Professorships established

Having received sufficient funds, the Corporation established:

  • The Charles and Elfriede Collis–Frances Weeden Gibson Professorship in Diagnostic Imaging in the Warren Alpert Medical School, funded by gifts from the late Frances Weeden Gibson, a Brown parent and 1945 graduate, and from Rhode Island Medical Imaging, in addition to an endowed fund at the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation for that purpose;
  • The Samuel I. Kennison, M.D., and Bertha S. Kennison Professorship in Clinical Neuroscience, funded by the estate of the late Grace Kennison Alpert, a 1951 Brown graduate.


The Corporation’s Committee on Budget and Finance authorized the administration to begin architect selection for a new building for the School of Engineering and associated enabling projects. Members of the Corporation toured the recently completed renovation of Hunter Laboratory, now the Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (BERT) and Andrews Commons.

Acceptance of gifts

By University policy, all gifts of $1 million or more require formal acceptance by the Corporation. At its Saturday business meeting, the Corporation accepted or ratified previous acceptance of a number of gifts totaling more than $26 million. These include:

  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $4 million, of which $2 million is for fellowships at the Brown University School of Public Health, $500,000 for support of BrownConnect, $950,000 for the Brown Annual Fund, and $550,000 for a scholarship fund;
  • From Richard A. Friedman, and Susan Pilch Friedman, Brown alumni and parents, a gift of $2,492,500, of which $2 million is designated for the President’s Flexible Fund $377,500 for the Brown Annual Fund, $5,000 for operating expenses at Hillel, and $110,000 pending donor designation;
  • From Mr. and Mrs. Shelby M. C. Davis, a grant of $2,147,669 for continued support of the Davis United World College Scholars Program at Brown University;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $2 million for the President’s Flexible Fund;
  • From anonymous donors, a second gift of $2 million for the President’s Flexible Fund;
  • From Wesley R. and Lynn M. Edens, Brown parents, a gift of $2 million to support an endowed assistant professorship at the Brown University School of Public Health for a population health and health care scholar whose research interests include healthcare communications, services, and technology;
  • From Richard C. Barker, a 1957 Brown graduate and parent, new gifts and pledges totaling $1,662,319, including $512,319 to establish the Barker Family Chancellor's Scholarship Fund, $1 million to establish the Barker Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Watson Institute for International Studies, $100,000 for the Brown Annual Fund, and $50,000 for annual support of the Brown University Sports Foundation;
  • From the late Daniel S. Tolman III, a 1949 Brown graduate, a gift of $1,661,307, of which $1.4 million is designated to fulfill pledges in support of faculty, scholarships, academic programs, research programs, and other affiliated initiatives, and $261,307 for the University’s endowment for unrestricted bequests;
  • From the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a grant of $1.35 million for postdoctoral fellowships in the Cogut Center for the Humanities;
  • From James A. Lawrence and Dr. Mary G. Lawrence, Brown parents, a gift of $1.1 million for the men’s and women’s lacrosse locker rooms renovation project at the Paul Bailey Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center;
  • From The Stanton Foundation, a gift of $1,050,000, of which $1 million is to support the creation of an endowed professorship in international security issues with a particular focus on policy-relevant nuclear security studies and $50,000 is to be spent in support of junior faculty research in nuclear security;
  • From Robin Chemers Neustein, a 1975 Brown graduate, a gift of $1 million to support one or more fellowships for Ph.D. graduate students working on projects with faculty affiliated with the Brown Institute for Brain Science;
  • From David N. Kowitz, a 1985 Brown graduate, a charitable lead annuity trust with a total gift of $1 million, pending donor designation;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $1 million to increase the Brook Street Scholarship Fund and provide greater support for undergraduates with high financial need;
  • From S. Lawrence Davis and Donna Emma, Brown parents, a gift of $1 million to support the rebuilding of the Brown sailing facility and the sailing team annual fund and to establish the Lucy Emma Brown Annual Fund Memorial Scholarship;
  • From Ron Beller and Jennifer Moses, 1983 Brown graduates, a gift of $1 million to provide incremental support for internships awarded to students on financial aid who have the highest financial need. Students supported by this gift will be known as Beller-Moses Interns.