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Provost Locke presents preliminary recommendations for new budget model 

Locke proposes increasing enrollment by 5-10 percent, expanding precollege programs, executive master, intersessions 

By
University News Editor
Saturday, May 1, 2021

The proposal recommended expanding programs like wintersession, precollege and executive masters.

Provost Richard Locke P’18 revealed the “preliminary recommendations” of the Ad Hoc Committee on Promoting Financial Health and Sustainability to reduce the “small structural deficit” in the University’s budget at an April 30 faculty meeting. The recommendations include carefully increasing student enrollment, expanding nontraditional academic programming, reevaluating purchasing and sourcing and reorganizing personnel.

The committee sought to examine the University’s budget in a broader context and consider what they have learned over the past 14 months to create “a new financial model,” Locke said. He added that the committee looked at the University’s financial “vulnerability” due to its dependence on undergraduate tuition and fees while also considering ways to optimize resources.

One of the recommendations was “growing the size of the student body” by five to 10 percent. Over the years, Locke said, the demand for a Brown education has increased exponentially, with applications rising from 32,380 for the class of 2020 to 46,568 for the class of 2025. Locke believes that with the new advances in online learning brought by the pandemic, more students could study abroad or pursue practical internships while concurrently taking Brown courses.  

Due to this demand and the interest of current undergraduates in studying abroad, which would lower the demand for on-campus housing in a given semester, the University could reasonably manage the increase in the student body population, Locke said. The committee estimates that this policy would lead to a budget increase of around $27 million.

Locke also presented a recommendation to expand the offerings of “nontraditional academic programming” — which includes winter and summer sessions, executive masters and precollege programs.

There is high demand for many of these programs, Locke said; the precollege program is “one of the most successful programs in the country,” and enrollment for intersession often fills up quickly. He believes that access to online, precollege and intersession courses could be extended to students beyond the Brown undergraduate community. 

Fully online masters, such as the newly launched Master’s in Cybersecurity, and other non-degree programs, could present alternative revenue streams as well.

Overall, the committee estimates that this expansion of nontraditional programming would result in a revenue increase of $14 million to $23 million. Locke stressed that this is just “a topline” estimate and not an exact value, given that starting and expanding programs would naturally entail new hires. Still, Locke said that the venture would remain lucrative and would benefit the University in the long run.

As a result of the pandemic, the committee recommended that the University reduce its travel costs and opt for a more strategic plan for purchasing resources, which would save roughly $1.3 million.

This would not affect travel carried out for research purposes nor eliminate travel altogether, Locke stressed. Instead, the shift would entail critically examining which activities could be done in person or virtually.

In addition, the committee recommended bolstering collaboration across departments to carry out more administrative tasks, such as registering degree candidates or logging student jobs into workday, rather than hiring new personnel.  

Locke said that this interdepartmental collaboration could save around $800,000, adding that it would also create new professional opportunities for staff.

In total, the committee believes that the series of recommendations would save the University around $4.7 million to $7.1 million and bring new yearly revenue of $20 million to $50 million.

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  1. April 8, 2021:
    > Though some attendees worried the University would simply increase enrollment targets with increased residential capacity, Al Dahlberg, assistant vice president of government and community relations for the University, said there are “no long term plans” to do so.

    https://www.browndailyherald.com/2021/04/08/ward-1-residents-criticize-revised-brook-street-dorm-plans/

    Well, that sure didn’t last long.

  2. Talcum X says:

    How much is Brown spending on racist and destructive DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity) programming and administrators?

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