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Brown launches long-awaited college pipeline for PPSD students

Program will provide support for academics, college applications, financial literacy

Last fall, Brown launched its long-awaited Brown Collegiate Scholars Program, which the University has promoted as a college preparatory program for Providence high school students. First announced by President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20 in October 2021, the University will welcome students to the program this summer, roughly one year after its fall 2022 target.

The program is designed to “prepare cohorts of students from Providence to enter college degree programs after high school graduation,” according to a November 2023 University press release. 

The program also aims to “support students from a range of backgrounds, including and in particular those who are the first in their families to go to college and/or those who have limited financial resources,” wrote University Spokesperson Brian Clark in an email to The Herald, adding that it was developed before the Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious admissions.

Students apply in eighth grade to be admitted to the four-year program. As part of their application, the students submit grades, a short essay and a recommendation from a faculty member at their school. They may also be invited to interview with a Brown faculty member. A maximum of 30 students will be invited to join the pilot cohort, according to the program website.


While the BCSP does not alter a student’s chance for admission to Brown, “students who successfully complete the program will have demonstrated exceptional grit and academic promise,” wrote Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Logan Powell in an email to The Herald. 

The program has partnered “with community members and in a way that complements other existing efforts in the city and state to create successful college pipelines,” Clark wrote.

The University “spent significant time engaging both internal and external stakeholders,” Clark wrote. This entailed “more than 50 interviews and focus groups” with many PPSD stakeholders, including students, teachers and nonprofit leaders — a figure that has not changed since an October 2022 email to The Herald from Paxson’s office.

Maribeth Calabro, president of the Providence Teachers Union, said she “loves the idea of the program” but expressed frustration at the length of time it has taken to develop and launch. 

The delay, she said, “doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things (but) in the life of a student, (it) is a significantly long time, and it’s the difference between them having the opportunity and not having the opportunity” to access vital support.

Clark clarified that the original Fall 2022 timeline was a “target timeline” and not a definitive start date.

Dexter Vincent, a senior at Classical High School and co-director of the Providence Student Union thinks this program is a good way to make higher education more accessible.

Students “may not necessarily go to college, if not for this program,” he noted.

Demi Egunjobi, a senior at Classical High School and a fellow co-director of the PSU, first heard about the BCSP through her position on Brown’s Public Education Committee — a group that “provides oversight for Brown's relationship with” PPSD, according to the University’s website.

“I’m excited because this is a really good opportunity,” Egunjobi said. “If I were an eighth grader I would 100% apply… I’m really happy with the efforts Brown is making to engage with Providence more.”


Correction: A previous version of this article did not attribute a quote about partnerships with community members to University Spokesperson Brian Clark. The Herald regrets this error

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Talia LeVine

Talia LeVine is a photographer for The Herald and a University News Senior Staff Writer focusing on Admissions & Financial aid. She is a first-year from Seattle, WA studying Political Science with an emphasis on human rights.

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