March 6, 2002

Brown U. Finalizes Admissions Policy

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Brown University became the final Ivy League university to adopt a need-blind admissions policy last week, as Brown President Ruth J. Simmons presented the University Corporation with a new proposal entitled, “Proposal for Academic Enrichment.”

A need-blind admissions policy means that Brown will admit students without consideration of their ability to pay.

Once students are admitted, the University will make the final decision as to how much aid the student will receive.

Currently, Brown admits 90 percent of each class of students on a need-blind basis. The remaining ten percent are admitted with some attention paid to finances.

According to Michael Bartini, director of financial aid, the changes in Brown’s admissions policy will not affect the class of 2006, which is currently in the process of admissions, but will instead begin with the class of 2007.

The admissions rule will not apply to international students. According to the Brown admissions office, nine percent of students at the University are international students.

Brown will not require students receiving financial aid to work in their first year on campus, according to Bartini.

“It’s all about the academic experience and getting the full benefit of what the campus has to offer,” he said.

Bartini added that by not having a work requirement, the administration “eases the transition from high school to college.”

In order to pay for the need-blind admissions rule, charges for undergraduates at Brown will increase 4.6 percent to $36,356 for the next academic year. In addition, the University plans to draw money from its endowment.

Laura Freid, executive vice president for public affairs and university relations said in a statement released by Brown, “The University’s new policy of need-blind undergraduate admission and its continuing commitment to fund 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need for all students will ensure access for all of our nation’s most promising students.”

The need blind admissions policy was included as part of a larger proposal developed by the University Corporation.

“The University is looking at a series of things we’re doing on campus. It’s part of a greater plan,” Bartini said.

Additional decisions made by the university included adding as many as 100 new faculty members in the next five to ten years, increasing support for graduate students and investing more money in the university’s libraries, academic space and information technology.

Brown will increase its annual budget to $36 million.

The budget is expected to spend $78 million over the next three years.

The university’s budget will be considered by the Corporation at its last meeting of the year in May.

Cornell currently uses a need-blind admissions policy.

According to the policy, “Cornell University makes admissions decisions without regard to the ability of students or parents to pay educational costs.”

Thomas Keane, director of financial aid and student employment at Cornell, said that a need-based admissions policy “says a lot about how we build a class as an institution.”

Keane added that with the need-blind policy, “we’re going to look at academics and extracurriculars and decide if you’re right for Cornell.”

“It’s beneficial to students because you can apply and put your credentials forward,” Keane said. According to Keane, the policy is “an important statement Cornell is making about its accessibility.”

Archived article by Kate Cooper