Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Brown’s room and board charges transparent and low

By and
Thursday, April 26, 2018

To the Editor:

We write regarding Rebecca Aman’s April 24 column, “Why is Brown room and board so expensive?” In it, the author argues that the process for setting room and board charges at Brown lacks transparency, and that these charges are high relative to those of other universities.

The fact is that Brown follows an unusually transparent process in setting room and board fees. The University Resources Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and students, is charged with making recommendations to the President on revenues and expenses. The URC report is posted on the Provost’s website for all to see.

The URC carefully considers how Brown’s charges for room and board compare to charges at other institutions similar to Brown. The data table on page 31 of the FY19 report indicates that, in 2017-18, Brown’s room and board charges were at the very low end, ranking 19th out of 20 among our peers.

The University is committed to providing a high quality residential university experience to its students to ensure that they thrive during their undergraduate years. In addition to investments in exceptional faculty and research and classroom facilities, this means having students living in safe, secure, comfortable and technologically equipped residence halls, and having access to high quality, nutritional meals. We take pride in our use of locally-sourced ingredients, and in our talented and dedicated dining staff.

We recognize that paying for housing, room and board can be challenging for many students and their families, and we’re taking steps to ensure that our financial aid budget keeps pace with necessary increases. For example, in the year ahead, the University is enhancing support for students with this highest financial need to meet the costs of tuition, fees, room and board with scholarship funds. We want to be sure that on our campus, students are able to learn, live, work and thrive.

Richard Locke P’18


Barbara Chernow

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

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  1. Man with Axe says:

    I find it perplexing that students decide to attend a university knowing more or less what it is going to cost them, and then complain about that cost. This doesn’t happen in other markets, say, for purchasing a luxury automobile. Who buys a Mercedes and then complains about the price? If it’s too expensive, don’t buy it. If Brown is too expensive, don’t go there. Go someplace where a few hundred dollars more won’t break your bank.

    • A more reasonable complaint is that Brown’s residence halls are comparatively poor amongst Ivy League schools, yet no significant discount is offered. Students who eat at the Ratty and live in Young Orchard or the Grad Center, for example, should pay 40% of their Ivy League peers. Caveat emptor and all that, but it’s unreasonable to expect applicants to inspect all dormitories before applying to Brown when the school is marketed as offering a top tier product.

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