University News

Summer program for high schoolers brings in $6 million in revenue

Enrollment in and revenue from Summer@Brown have grown dramatically since 2008

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

High school students from across the country converged on College Hill for Summer@Brown, in which they took Brown courses in a variety of disciplines. While many students are compelled to enroll in Summer@Brown by their interest in applying to Brown in the future, attending the program does not increase a student’s chances of getting admitted.

The two sessions of Summer@Brown held this summer generated $6 million in revenue, the highest amount in University history, said Karen Sibley MAT’81 P’07 P’12 P’17, dean of the School of Professional Studies and vice president for strategic initiatives.

The summer program is one of several efforts administrators have made in recent years to diversify the University’s revenue streams and reduce its reliance on undergraduate tuition.

The program draws thousands of high school students to Providence, where they can get a taste of Brown’s academics and campus.

Revenue from the program has tripled since 2007, when it stood at nearly $2 million, Sibley said. It has also increased each year since 2007, jumping from $2.9 million in 2010 to $4 million in 2011, she said.

“The program pays for itself, so the revenue goes to support a variety of different things,” Sibley said. Portions of the revenue go to various University initiatives: Approximately 30 percent of the revenue is used to support the program, 8 percent goes toward scholarships for Summer@Brown participants, 23 percent goes into the University’s general operating budget, 22 percent goes toward University services and 14 percent goes toward payroll, she said.

The increase in revenue correlates with a rise in student enrollment. Around 5,000 students participated in the program this summer, marking a 9 percent increase from last summer, Sibley said.

Students who participate in Summer@Brown seek “to get a taste of college life,” said Robin Rose, senior associate dean of the School of Professional Studies, adding that they also experience being away from home and living on a college campus. Participants hailed from all 50 states and around the world to attend Summer@Brown, she said. They could choose from more than 300 one-week to three-week courses, ranging from American Consumer Culture to Introduction to Medicine, she added.

This marked the first summer that the residential advisors held a student activities fair at the beginning of each session, Rose said. During the fair, students were introduced to various opportunities open to them, including political discussions, meditations and guest lectures.

While many students who attend Summer@Brown are interested in applying to Brown in the future, attending the program does not give an advantage in the admission process, Rose said. But some Summer@Brown participants who have been admitted to the University have ended up enrolling because of their positive experiences at the program, she said. “Students who take initiative to participate in a summer program, whether at Brown or someplace else, are clearly demonstrating a commitment to their educational experience,” she said.

The Summer@Brown program was open to students who had completed their freshman year of high school, and sessions took place in June and July.

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  1. David Duncan says:

    I am pleased to see a statement that attendance at a Brown summer program does not confer an admission benefit because I had heard that summer RA’s were instructed not to say that. it’s great that high school students what to “taste” Brown but the school should not lead them on with false expectations.

  2. A gift of $100 million a year to

    We would like to
    give $100 million per year to Brown. This money could be used to offset tuition
    fees, pay professors more, and support Brown’s current budget, which is in
    deficit. We have proposed this to
    Christina Paxson and several leaders within Brown’s administration.

    We in Northern
    California have created a plan to significantly increase Brown’s
    revenues. We are students from
    before birth, and remain students until we die. Those who are fortunate
    enough to attend Brown bring their own experiences and relationships with them.
    Our proposal outlines how Brown can participate in the learning process
    for high school students, with a goal of exposing students to Brown professors
    and students, developing and reinforcing a Brown-student relationship well
    before the admissions process begins.

    The key benefits to
    Brown are:

    1. Brown can
    add $100 million in revenues by teaching AP courses.

    2. This program would
    benefit both high-income and low-income high school students, as well as local
    teachers, Brown professors and Brown students (as paid

    3. This gives you Brown
    to increase student acceptance
    rate (now at 60%) and improve the number of high-potential poor
    students (a key target).

    proposal outlines a plan for Brown to offer AP courses in select schools,
    starting with Northern California. These
    courses would be co-taught by the local AP teacher and Brown professor,
    assisted by Brown students acting as proctors.
    The goals of the program are:

    1. To offer the students a compelling, interesting and
    informative set of courses.

    2. To expose promising high school students to Brown professors
    and students.

    3. To give Brown visibility on promising students who may
    become good candidates to attend Brown.

    4. To support schools which may need
    teaching resources in inner-city and poorer school districts, and support their
    local efforts.

    fundamental principles of this program are that (1) it must be financially
    self-supporting, (2) it offers a first-class educational experience that is
    rewarding for Brown students and professors as well as students, and (3) that
    it works in concert with local resources, with full backing of the high

    is offered

    The educational product would consist of the following:

    A set of internet lectures using
    the Khan Academy format on AP subjects, given by a professor at Brown.
    These lectures are normally watched by the students online at home
    (as homework).

    A set of exercises and questions
    which are answered by the students during class time.

    A teaching guide for the local AP
    teacher. The teacher uses this guide and assists students in class
    to answer questions and do exercises.

    Tests to be proctored by the local
    AP teacher which are submitted for grading to Brown students assisting the
    professor (Brown students are paid for this course assistance). Results
    are then shared with the AP teacher and Brown (for certification).

    If applicable, online textbooks as
    a part of the educational offering.

    will pay?

    those who have the greatest stakes in the education of students: parents,
    teachers, guidance counselors, who are willing and able to pay. “Rich”
    schools’ parents pay for their child’s certificate. Some scholarships
    offered. “Poor” schools parents pay, but with a great deal more
    scholarship assistance.

    are the target markets?

    the world. The “freemium” model can be disseminated on YouTube and used
    by millions. The “certificate” model is also freely expandable (same
    professor, more Brown student proctors).

    much effort is involved?

    A Khan
    Academy format requires very little professor time and effort. With a
    virtual “blackboard” and voiceover, the professor can video a series of
    lectures based on his/her Brown classroom offerings.

    school students in the “certified” program will require support. This
    would be provided by Brown students working at the direction of a Brown
    professor. These students’ main tasks would include grading courses,
    answering teachers’ and students’ questions, and monitoring feedback.


    scholarships administered by Brown in collaboration with local guidance counselors.

    We have shared the
    entire plan, with revenues and costs, with top members of the administration at
    Brown. It is also available for public
    view at

    So, what’s stopping
    us? Let’s make this happen.

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