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University announces decreased fees, room, board costs

Student activities fee, recreation fee waived for fall semester, readmission fee, late registration fee eliminated permanently

The University will decrease some student fees for the Fall 2020 semester, according to an Aug. 12 email from Student Financial Services. 

Student Financial Services stated in their email that these decisions were motivated by the University’s decision yesterday to postpone the planned arrival of students until late September. In an email to The Herald, University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote, “The waiving of fees conveyed to students today is one additional way that Brown is supporting students financially in this time of uncertainty.” 

For those students who will reside on campus, the University has decreased housing and meal fees to reflect the new plan for a shortened on-campus semester. The plan, announced Aug. 11, would allow students to move into campus residences during the week of Sept. 21, before in-person classes potentially resume on Oct. 5. Housing costs fell from $4,587 to $3,910. The cost of the 20 meals per week and Kosher/Halal meal plans decreased from $3,054 to $2,447, while the 14 and 7 meals per week plans decreased from $2,880 to $2,304 and from $2,368 to $1,994 dollars, respectively.

Students studying remotely and not living off-campus in the Providence area will see a reduction of more than $600 in fees, according to the email. Specifically, the University has eliminated the non-resident fee of $470. Additionally, the University will waive the $143 activity fee and $33 recreation fee for all students. Prior to the Aug. 12 update, the recreation fee was only to be waived for students studying remotely, despite the Nelson Gym remaining closed for the fall semester. Student Financial Services noted that the removal of the activity and recreation fee changed the financial aid cost of attendance for the Fall 2020 semester, which may impact financial aid eligibility for some students. The Office of Financial Aid will notify students whose financial aid eligibility has changed.

Finally, the University announced that it would waive both the readmission and late registration fees for Fiscal Year 2021 and would eliminate them permanently in Fiscal Year 2022. The readmission fee of $70 previously applied to students returning to Brown after taking leave. The University will waive the $15 fee for registering for courses after the preregistration period closes, but will retain the $15 fee for students who register for classes after shopping period closes.

In the days leading up to the announcement that Brown’s plan would change, a petition from the Undergraduate Council of Students calling for the non-resident fee and readmission fee to be removed circulated on social media. The petition, which has collected over 1,800 signatures online, was not mentioned in the University email. UCS President Jason Carroll said that when UCS previously tried to get the University to waive these two fees, they were met with pushback from the administration. Carroll said that the decision to drop the fees now “really shows what student labor and student advocacy can do and what changes can be made.”


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