Office of the President
February 13, 2023
Tags Community Messages

February 2023 Corporation Meeting: Tuition, Fees and Salary for FY24; Planning for Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action in Admissions

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The Corporation of Brown University recently completed its winter meetings. The Corporation (the name given in the Charter of the University, written in 1764) is the University’s governing body. The Corporation comprises a Board of Fellows and a Board of Trustees and is responsible for matters of policy and long-term planning. More information about the trustees and fellows as a whole, biographies of members, and their roles and responsibilities can be found on the Corporation website:

Academic Priorities and Planning

Members of the Corporation received presentations and engaged in discussion around a wide range of University priorities, spanning academic affairs, educational innovation, affirmative action in admissions, community engagement and our commitment to Providence.

The Corporation heard from Interim Provost Larry Larson regarding our plans to increase the impact of our research, through implementation of the Operational Plan for Investing in Research, which was released to the campus last semester. Brown has recently launched several new interdisciplinary research initiatives, with significant growth potential. We expect more to be initiated in the time ahead. This discussion also included plans to invest in research infrastructure and systems in the coming months, and planned investments in doctoral and post-doctoral programs. Looking forward, we expect these overall initiatives to accelerate.

Dean of the College Rashid Zia led a discussion of academic innovation in the undergraduate program, building on the draft report of the Education Innovation Committee, which was distributed for feedback last summer. Grounded in our core commitment to providing students with opportunities to chart their own educational pathways, we are developing new approaches and simplified policies that better enable students to integrate study and experiential learning away from campus with their academic, personal and professional goals here at Brown. One of the important lessons that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic is that even when faculty and students are not physically in the same location, we can continue to study, teach and learn together. Dean Zia and others will be continuing that conversation with faculty, staff and students and developing programs, policies and initiatives in support of these efforts.

The Corporation also received an update regarding upcoming negotiations with the City of Providence regarding voluntary financial contributions from Executive Vice President for Planning & Policy Russell Carey. Closely related, Senior Vice President for Communications Cass Cliatt reviewed initiatives and platforms developed over the past two years in support of our long-running goal to more effectively inform the community about our commitment to Providence and generally increase community engagement. These efforts include a recently launched website detailing Brown’s Economic Impact in Providence and Rhode Island, which I encourage all members of the community to review and become familiar with.

I reviewed with the Corporation the various considerations and planning underway in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision expected in June on affirmative action in admissions. We know that the Supreme Court composition has changed since previous decisions upholding the consideration of race in admissions, and the current court has demonstrated a willingness to overturn decades of precedent. It was important to establish that the Supreme Court’s decision will not change Brown’s commitment to diversity, which is central to preparing our students to thrive in the complex and changing settings they’ll encounter after they graduate.

A group the provost formed has been meeting for several months to develop strategies and scenario planning for possible changes in the law. This includes enhancing recruitment practices to increase diversity in applicant pools; yield strategies for increasing the numbers of diverse candidates who accept offers of admission; and exploring application essay questions and other ways applicants can tell us how they are shaped by their identities, backgrounds and experiences.

The bottom line is Brown will comply with the law while sustaining our commitment to an assessment of applicants that considers the broad range of attributes they would bring to being a student at Brown.

Fiscal Year 2024 Tuition, Fees and Salary Pool

The February meeting of the Corporation traditionally includes consideration of the mid-cycle report and recommendations of the University Resources Committee (URC), which is composed of students, faculty and administrators. The URC operates on a full-year schedule and will present to me their recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2024 later this semester for action at the May meeting of the Corporation. This will include the University’s financial aid budget, which we expect to continue to outpace increases in tuition and fees.

The URC recommended a proposed increase in tuition and fees of 4.75% for undergraduate and non-variable graduate programs. I recommended the increase, and it was approved by the Corporation. The Corporation also approved recommended variable tuition increases to graduate, executive and medical programs, and summer and winter sessions.

Tuition remains a primary source of revenue for the University, and the approved increase will enable the continued provision of an excellent educational experience for our students. There will be an accompanying significant increase in the financial aid resources across all groups of students. The undergraduate financial aid budget, for example, is projected to increase approximately $17 million, a 9% increase.

Undergraduate financial aid has long been among the fastest-growing elements in the annual budget, with the University introducing a growing array of financial support measures as part of its commitment to welcoming students from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Brown meets 100% of each undergraduate’s demonstrated financial need, replaced loans with scholarships in University financial aid packages, eliminated consideration of home equity in considering families’ financial circumstances and reduced summer earnings expectations for high-need students. Brown covers full tuition for families earning $125,000 or less with typical assets, while students from families making less than $60,000 a year with typical assets receive scholarships that cover all expenses — tuition, room, board, books and other expenses.

In addition to tuition, a number of modest fee increases will assist in eliminating or reducing required fees for certain activities on campus. For example, a student recreation fee increase from $70 to $80 will enable Brown Athletics to eliminate direct charges for some group fitness and intramural sports participation. Separately, a $14 increase in the undergraduate student activities fee will enable additional free student activities, encouraging wider and more equitable participation.

The Corporation also approved a total faculty and staff salary pool of 4% for FY24, continuing a trend of investments to strengthen Brown’s ability to retain talented faculty and staff in a shifting labor market. Funds from the pool are allocated by senior academic and administrative leaders to support annual performance-based salary increases, equity adjustments and promotions over the course of the fiscal year. In recommending the high salary increase pool — which aside from a 4.25% pool in FY23, has more typically been in the range of 2.5% to 3.5% over the last decade — the URC considered factors ranging from recruitment and retention trends, labor markets impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, new employee opportunities for remote and hybrid work, and projections of economic inflation across the nation.

The committee’s FY24 recommendation also considered the recent substantial investments that Brown has made in compensation for faculty and staff. In addition to the salary pool last year, faculty and staff received a special one-time bonus payment of 3% (with a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $4,500) in March 2022. The committee further reviewed promotion and retention data that represented significant, targeted investments in staff salaries over the past year, largely driven by the tight labor market and post-pandemic job mobility.

Acceptance of Gifts and Other Actions

The Corporation formally accepted individual gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more made since October. Totaling approximately $84 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of the BrownTogether fundraising campaign depends on gifts of many dollar amounts, and all are essential to our success and deeply appreciated.

The Trustees and Fellows also approved the establishment of a number of endowed positions in recognition of generous gifts having been received. In addition, they approved establishing an endowed position from the increased market value of a previously established professorship. The latter is an example of ongoing efforts to deploy endowed resources in an effective manner in support of University priorities. When there are circumstances in which an endowed fund grows to the point that it can support an additional faculty position at the same level as a newly created endowed professorship, and when the donors agree, a new professorship will be established. Professorships established at this meeting include the following:

  • Two additional Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professorships in Science were established through the increased market value of the original endowment and with the generous support of the Thomas J. and Olive C. Watson Foundation;
  • The Jeffrey A. Brown and Barbara Horovitz Brown Professorship in Translational Medicine was established with the generous support of Jeffrey A. Brown and Barbara Horovitz Brown;
  • The Dean’s Professorship of Translational Oncology was established with the generous support of donors;
  • The Young Family Assistant Professorship was renamed the Young Family Professorship, additional generous support having been received from the Thomas J. and Olive C. Watson Foundation;
  • The Dean’s Professorship of Cancer Research was established with the generous support of donors.

In recognition of a generous gift from anonymous donors to help build, equip and maintain a residence hall at 250 Brook Street, the Corporation approved the naming of Chen Family Hall.

The Corporation approved the appointment of the following faculty members to named chairs:

  • Daniel Ibarra, Manning Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and Environment and Society;
  • Sendurai Mani, Dean's Professor of Translational Oncology;
  • Gyan Pareek, Krishnamurthi Family Professor of Urology;
  • Robert Sobol, Dean’s Professor of Cancer Research;
  • Roderick Spears, University Associate Professor of Migraine Research and Clinical Sciences.

The Board of Fellows approved the recommendation of the Faculty to establish the Data Science Institute, effective July 1, 2023.

In addition, members of the Committee on Academic Affairs participated in a panel discussion on “Reimagining Climate” featuring Brown faculty from a broad range of disciplines – oceanography, biology, political science, and history – whose research is on topics that are central to our understanding of climate change and possible responses to it. The Committee on Campus Life heard a presentation from the President of the Graduate Student Council and convened discussions with graduate students over breakfast Friday morning. The Fellows met with officers of the Medical Faculty Executive Committee to learn about issues of concern to Brown’s faculty members in our affiliated teaching hospitals.

Finally, upon recommendation from the Governance and Nominating Committee, and after a review and consultation process involving all members of the Trustees and Fellows, the Corporation voted to reappoint Secretary Richard Friedman ’79 to a third three-year term, through June 30, 2026. The officers of the Corporation may serve up to three three-year terms in their positions.


Christina H. Paxson