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News, University News

Corporation approves 2.85 percent tuition increase

Lowest percentage increase in more than a decade meant to help offset pandemic costs

By
University News Editor
Monday, February 8, 2021

The Corporation approved salary increases for faculty and staff beginning July 1, ending the University’s salary freeze.

The Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — approved a 2.85 percent tuition increase for undergraduate and most graduate programs at a Feb. 5 meeting, marking the smallest annual tuition increase in more than a decade, according to a University press release. 

Undergraduate tuition will increase from $59,254 to $60,944. Tuition for most graduate programs will increase by 2.85 percent to $7,618 per course, and medical school tuition will increase by 1.75 percent to $66,110. The tuition increase will provide the University with roughly $16 million in additional funding for Fiscal Year 2022. 

About a dozen master’s programs will maintain the same tuition for 2021-2022 due to a shift to market-based pricing in 2018, the release said.

The University Resources Committee, a group chaired by Provost Richard Locke P’18 and made up of faculty and student members, “deliberated extensively” on how to keep the tuition increase low to account for the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic while still ensuring the University has the “revenue required to invest in research, teaching, student support, financial aid and other strategic priorities,” the press release said. Around this same time last year, the Corporation approved a 3.75 percent tuition increase at its February 2020 meeting, The Herald previously reported.

The Corporation also approved salary increase pools of 2.5 percent for faculty and staff beginning July 1. This will end the University salary freeze initially enacted in April 2020, and will “position Brown to maintain its competitiveness in the national labor market and remain an employer of choice,” the release said. 

The Corporation also reversed a decision that reduced contributions to non-unionized staff and faculty’s retirement funds for up to 12 months beginning November 2020. Contributions to retirement funds will begin again effective Feb. 28. “Employees from academic and administrative units across campus have been instrumental in our ability to continue to offer a world-class Brown education to students, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and we’re deeply grateful for their tireless efforts,” Locke said in the release. 

The URC will continue to plan the FY22 budget, which will be approved at the Corporation’s May meeting. This year’s deliberations are heavily shaped by the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said. After the introduction of new safety measures such as COVID-19 testing for students and staff, the University estimates that the deficit for FY21 will exceed $100 million.

Besides the $347 million built into the FY21 budget for student aid, the University spent $7.3 million in additional funding to increase financial aid offerings, provide emergency funds to students, waive fees, support housing and technological needs and eliminate the summer earnings requirements for aided students. It also spent $10 million to equip the campus to support single-occupancy rooms.

“Ensuring funding for student financial aid, employee compensation and campus initiatives is critical to our ability to attract and support the most talented students, faculty and staff from a range of backgrounds and perspectives and provide the essential environment to advance knowledge and discovery,” Locke said in the release. “This modest tuition increase and our full annual budgeting process are designed to allocate financial resources responsibly and strategically and to support the full Brown community as they work to advance the University’s mission.”

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