Brown ranks 230th among 286 of the most selective colleges in the country for socioeconomic diversity, according to a Sept. 7 New York Times analysis.
The report measured socioeconomic diversity using the proportion of first-years receiving federal Pell Grants — which are awarded to low-income students to pay for college — in the 2020-21 academic year. The report ranked Brown below all other Ivy League schools and two other Rhode Island colleges in the report, Providence College and the University of Rhode Island.
For TK Monford '25, a Pell Grant recipient who applied to the University through QuestBridge, the report proved “surprising.”
Among low-income students, “the community we have (at Brown) is really strong,” he said. “I never thought of it as being smaller than other schools.”
Still, he noted that low-income students at the University are only a small portion of students.
“The number of kids who are low-income is really small, and I can be the only low-income person in the room,” he said. “It’s been a big cultural shock coming to Brown.”
“When you are looking at where Brown ranks, it is not surprising to me as a student,” wrote Niyanta Nepal '25, co-president of Students for Educational Equity, in a message to The Herald. “We have one of the wealthiest student bodies across the Ivy League.”
A 2017 database by the New York Times on research from Opportunity Insights, a Harvard research and policy organization co-directed by Professor of Economics John Friedman, reported that Brown ranked highest among Ivy League schools and similar elite colleges for student median household income.
University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald that the University “continues to make significant progress in enrolling talented students from a wide range of backgrounds.”
He cited the University’s coverage of all costs for students whose families make less than $60,000 and noted that the University meets all demonstrated need for financial assistance.
Clark added that Pell Grant eligibility is “one indicator of progress” in enrolling a diverse student body, The Herald previously reported. He additionally cited the University’s efforts to increase the representation of Pell-eligible and other first-generation and low-income students, like offering automatic fee waivers and expanding partnerships with “community organizations that support low-income students.”
Neil Mehta is a University News section editor and design chief at The Herald. They study public health and statistics at Brown. Outside the office, you can find Neil baking and playing Tetris.