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Sean Ferns named interim dean of financial aid

Search committee for permanent replacement does not yet have timeline

<p>The search committee is made up of deans from the Schools of Public Health and Professional Studies, as well as undergraduate and graduate representatives.</p>

The search committee is made up of deans from the Schools of Public Health and Professional Studies, as well as undergraduate and graduate representatives.

The University appointed Sean Ferns as its interim dean of financial aid in December, according to a Dec. 13 Today@Brown Announcement

Ferns’s appointment follows the retirement of former Dean of Financial Aid Jim Tilton at the end of 2022. Tilton announced his retirement in August 2022, The Herald previously reported

Previously, Ferns served as the senior director of operations and systems in the Office of Financial Aid. According to the announcement, he is committed to “financial aid across student levels and mak(ing) a Brown education more accessible to students from every income background.” Ferns declined to respond to a request for comment from The Herald.

Before arriving at Brown, where he has worked for 16 years, Ferns worked in financial aid at the University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University and Bryant University, according to the announcement.


A search committee has been formed to find a full-time replacement for Tilton, according to the announcement. It will be chaired by Logan Powell, associate provost for enrollment.  

The committee includes deans from across the University’s different schools — including the College, the School of Public Health and the Warren Alpert Medical School. Two other administrators, an undergraduate student and a graduate student will also serve on the committee.

Yohan Mutta ’23, a student ambassador for the Office of College Admission, will serve as the undergraduate representative. Powell offered him the opportunity following his work as an ambassador and tour guide, Mutta wrote in an email to The Herald.

Mutta wrote he would prioritize candidates who will support and implement many of the University’s recent financial aid initiatives, including need-blind admissions for international students and expanded financial aid for middle-income families

He added in the email that he will look for “someone with a vision or ideas on how to implement these initiatives but also conscious of finding and resolving gaps that exist within the current financial aid system.” 

Powell told The Herald that the committee has yet to convene or compile a list of candidates. He emphasized that the committee is still in “very early stages.”

The search committee has yet to announce their timeline for selecting a replacement for Tilton.


Owen Dahlkamp

Owen Dahlkamp is a Section Editor overseeing coverage for University News and Science & Research. Hailing from San Diego, CA, he is concentrating in political science and cognitive neuroscience with an interest in data analytics. In his free time, you can find him making spreadsheets at Dave’s Coffee.


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