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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Strategic plan draft places insufficient emphasis on reforming financial aid

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The strategic plan released yesterday by President Christina Paxson is woefully inadequate. While committing to freely spend on yet more master’s programs and building renovations, the report does not make a single commitment to increase financial aid.

The plan only commits to “maintain need-blind admission” for first-year domestic applicants. What a relief — Brown will continue to only discriminate against some students on the basis of insufficient affluence. These students, who have qualifications exceeding their richer peers, would strengthen the Brown community. A commitment to prioritize financial aid would increase the caliber of Brown students and the prestige of our university, improve the quality of education for all students and galvanize alumni giving.

Last year, the strategic planning Committee on Financial Aid spent a year of intense work exploring this issue and reached an agreement between administrators, faculty members and students. That committee called for need-blind admission for all, lowering the summer earnings expectation by at least $1,000 per year and capping expected parental contributions. We call upon administrators to respect the process that they themselves created.

If the Corporation is asked to vote on this plan without substantive changes, it should reject the plan without hesitation. And if our current president is unable to recognize that one of the best investments Brown could be making is expanding financial aid, then the Corporation will be obligated to find a president who can better lead this university.


Alex Mechanick ’15

President, Brown for Financial Aid

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  1. Bubble Popper says:

    I’m not saying its right or wrong but looking at the question from a different angle might shed light on what will happen.

    It’s no secret that Brown has an undersized endowment to compete with its supposed peers today.

    If more affluent students and subsequently alums can give more to the endowment, than a more talented student, what do you think is going to happen?

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