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Brown plans to move to need-blind admission for international students

Initiative to make international admissions need-blind requires fundraising

<p>Starting with the class of 2029, financial need will not have any bearing on the acceptance of international applicants. </p>

Starting with the class of 2029, financial need will not have any bearing on the acceptance of international applicants.

The University will begin moving toward need-blind admissions for international students over the next four years, according a Monday press release from President Christina Paxson P’19 that also included a broader suite of investments in financial aid and access to the University. 

Other initiatives announced include removing house equity from aid package calculations, which will eliminate tuition for families earning under $125,000, and developing a program to prepare PPSD students for selective four year institutions.

 Though the move will be implemented in the coming years, its impacts will begin “right away,” Paxson said, with “big increases” to international financial aid coming next year.

International admissions are currently need-aware, Paxson explained, meaning they operate with a budget constraint.


“It means we can spend only $9 million a year on financial aid for international students,” Paxson said. “As you admit, you’re keeping track. And when you hit that cap, you’re done.”

That cap will grow over the next few years. But international members of the class of 2029 — current high school freshmen, who will be admitted in fall 2024 and spring 2025 — will be the first to apply to the University without any financial constraint on their acceptance.

Paxson said need-blind admissions for international students has ranked among her priorities since the beginning of her tenure.

“It’s been ten years now,” she said. “I want to get this done.”

To grow the funding for international financial aid, the University will pull from the endowment and other existing funds, but will also embark on a new fundraising campaign; this is the only initiative in Monday’s announcement that will require further fundraising. Getting the funding to go fully-need blind, Paxson admitted, is a “heavy lift.” But she also expressed confidence that alums — who helped fund the elimination of loans from financial aid packages — will “lean in and help us get there.”

Provost Richard Locke P’18 said in the release that need-blind admissions for international students will positively impact everyone on campus, and the world at large.

“It will create new opportunities for students to learn from international peers who have distinct experiences and perspectives, while also providing a Brown education for talented young people who will go on to serve their communities locally, nationally and globally,” he said.

“We have incredibly talented international students,” Paxson said. “But we are turning down incredible students because they can’t afford to come to Brown. And at the end of the day, that’s not good for Brown, that’s not good for the world. Our mission is to promote the education of incredibly talented students. Until we’re need-blind for international students, we’re not doing that.”


Will Kubzansky

Will Kubzansky is the 133rd editor-in-chief and president of the Brown Daily Herald. Previously, he served as a University News editor overseeing the admission & financial aid and staff & student labor beats. In his free time, he plays the guitar and soccer — both poorly.

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