Dollars and Sense

By Norman Boucher / May / June 2005
May 3rd, 2007

There was good news and bad news to emerge from the meeting of the Brown Corporation late last February (too late to include in the March/April BAM). The bad news is that this fall Brown, along with the other Ivy schools, will officially break the $40,000 barrier. Students will face an annual bill for tuition and fees totaling $41,770, an increase of 4.9 percent over this year.

The good news has to do with endowment draw and financial aid. At their February meeting, trustees agreed to set the endowment draw at 5.27 percent. (Brown’s policy is to keep it at somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5 percent of the endowment’s average market value over the previous three years, which means next year’s draw is approaching the upper limit.) Assuming that fund-raisers will pull in another $40 million in endowment income this year, trustees concluded that endowment income should be able to cover $66.7 million of its $608.4 million budget.

The $608.4 million budgeted in costs represents an 8.2 percent increase over this year, which raises the question: what’s all this money going to be used for? The short answer (if a somewhat simplistic one, given spiking fuel and health-care costs nationally) is the Plan for Academic Enrichment, which has been unfolding steadily since 2002.

One of the plan’s central elements is the expansion and retention of the University’s faculty, which will continue. The new budget calls for $3.7 million in faculty salary increases and an unspecified amount to hire nine new faculty members, as well as $1 million in new-faculty start-up costs.

Another area where spending is on the rise is financial aid. As Brown admits its third need-blind class, undergraduate aid will rise by $3.77 million, or 9 percent. Graduate-student aid will go up $1.2 million, and another $926,000 will be used to raise the base grad-student stipend from $16,000 to $17,000. Finally, the University will also ex-tend more help to resumed-undergraduate and transfer students, increasing their aid budget by $400,000.

The Corporation is scheduled to meet again in late May.
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May / June 2005