Undergraduate Financial Aid

Additional Initiatives Unique to Brown

Brown University supports a range of distinct initiatives to meet a family’s full demonstrated financial need.

These initiatives make it easier for students from moderate-income backgrounds to choose Brown and worry less about accruing debt that might limit their professional choices after graduation.

Starting with all students enrolled for the 2022-23 academic year, Brown will change the calculation of how much some families have to contribute to pay for their child’s education.

 

Book/Course Material Support (BCMS) Program

The Book/Course Material Support (BCMS) Program was developed to allow most Brown University Scholarship-eligible students to cover expenses for books and course materials that are required by instructors. The cost of these required materials will be covered by Brown.  

Since the cost of books and required course materials are being paid directly through the program, you will not see a book component in your estimated cost of attendance.

Students may have to purchase supplies such as notebooks, paper, etc. throughout the academic year and an estimate of those expenses has been included in the personal expense component of your cost of attendance

As part of your participation in the BCMS Program, all students must complete a canvas course each year as acknowledgment before being allowed to purchase your books and course materials. You will receive instructions and next steps for the canvas course and acknowledgment by mid-August before you arrive at Brown. Should you have additional questions about the program, please contact bcms@brown.edu. 

 

To remain eligible to participate in the BCMS Program, a student must retain eligibility for University Scholarship. If at any time in the future you are no longer funded with University Scholarship, you will no longer be eligible to participate in the BCMS Program and you will need to pursue outside resources to cover the cost of books and materials. Please contact financial_aid@brown.edu for questions regarding your eligibility. 

 

Eliminating Home Equity for a family’s Primary Residence:

The University will eliminate the consideration of a family’s home equity in their primary residence as an asset when calculating a student’s available financial resources.

A primary residence is the primary location where a family resides. This includes a house, townhouse, condominium, apartment, etc,. as long as it is where a family lives. If the family lives in and owns a multi-family home, that home is considered both a primary residence and a financial investment. In this case, the value of the portion of the property in which the student’s family resides, is considered home equity and will be excluded. The other residence(s) are included in the calculation as a family asset for both federal and institutional eligibility. 

 

The effect of this initiative on your parent contribution depends on your own individual financial situation. Student applications are reviewed individually; based on the family's financial profile and unique circumstances. There are many factors in determining the Parent Contribution and your home equity may have already been removed or reduced from our analysis. Therefore, you may not see a reduction in your overall parent contribution.

No. The value of the portion of the multi-family residence in which your family lives is considered home equity and the remainder is included as other real estate/investment for considering eligibility in both federal and University need-based aid calculations.

No. Because your family is not currently residing in the home, it is not considered your primary residence and; therefore, will be included as a parent asset when calculating available financial resources.

 

No, the amount of home equity that is being eliminated in our financial need analysis is established within the initial review of your financial aid application and will not be adjusted in future years based on any reallocation of assets.

Full Tuition (only) Scholarship

Families with a total annual income equal to or below $125,000, that have typical assets for their income level, may be eligible for funding that covers the full cost of tuition. As such, for those that qualify, the amount of University Scholarship, federal and state grants, and outside resources will be at a level that ensures the total is equal to the cost of tuition (does not include fees, housing, and meals). 

Total Income/Earnings: The family income amount is the Adjusted Gross Income (which appears on the parent’s federal tax return), plus any nontaxable income, business/rental property losses, capital losses, or depreciation on real and/or rental property, as well as business distributions/payments and social security benefits. With total parent income established, we deduct allowances for certain non-discretionary expenses. After allowances, the needs-analysis formula determines the percentage of any remaining income to be used for educational expenses. For additional factors considered for income/earnings and allowances, please review the chart under the Parent Income tab.

Typical Assets for a family’s income level usually reflects the sum of the following amounts:

  1. Cash, savings, checking
  2. Investments
  3. Equity in real estate other than the primary residence
  4. Business net worth

NOTE: Brown does not include assets that are in a qualified retirement plan such as 401k, 403b, IRA, Keogh, or equity in your primary residence 

**The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to make the final determination of the expected family contribution, in consideration of all factors affecting a family’s overall financial situation and ability to pay. 

 

  • Typical assets can include but are not limited to:
    • Cash, savings, checking
    • Investments
    • Equity in real estate other than the primary residence
    • Business net worth
  • Typical assets do not include:
    • Formal retirement (401k, 403b, IRA, Keogh)
    • Equity in your primary residence 

NOTE: The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to make the final determination of the expected family contribution, in consideration of all factors affecting a family’s overall financial situation and ability to pay.

 

  • Family income/earnings can include but are not limited to:
    • Adjusted gross income (which appears on the federal tax return) 
    • Any nontaxable income 
    • Business/rental property losses
    • Capital losses
    • Depreciation on real and/or rental property
    • Business distributions/payments 
    • Social Security benefits 

NOTE: For additional factors considered for income/earnings and allowances, please review the chart.

 

  • If your family experiences a significant or unexpected change in income/earnings after receiving your initial financial aid offer for the academic year or if you believe there are special circumstances that were not considered in the initial review of your financial aid application, please notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing.
  • Use the Appeal Form to help you explain and document special circumstances such as a significant and unexpected change in income due to job loss, salary reduction, or a change in benefits.

Reduced Student Earnings Expectations

Reduced Student Earnings Expectations for our highest-needs students (those with $0 parent contributions)

Starting with Academic Year 2022-23, the summer earnings expectation for students with a $0 Parent Contribution will be reduced by $1,000. This results in a student receiving a University Scholarship, federal grants, and/or outside scholarships in an amount of $1,000 ($500 per semester) in excess of direct costs for tuition, fees, room, and meals. With this change, Brown scholarships will cover all direct expenses while also supporting personal expenses.

 

$0 Parent Contribution Direct Cost Scholarship

Brown’s highest need students, coming from families with total incomes of less than $60,000 per year and assets less than $100,000, as determined by the Office of Financial Aid, will receive scholarship/grants equal to the amount of standard tuition, fees, room and meals.  

  • Reduces the amount the student is required to earn over the summer.
  • The student arrives on campus with a $0 student account balance.

Middle/Moderate Family Income

Brown is also providing University scholarships to families with middle/moderate total incomes and has increased the scholarship awarded to these families. Brown financial aid awards include federal, state and institutional, need-based scholarship, and a Work-Study or Campus Employment component, but no loans.

Health Insurance Scholarship

All students at Brown are required to have health insurance. If a student is receiving University need-based scholarship and does not have comparable insurance coverage, Brown will provide a health insurance scholarship to cover the costs of insurance.

These University initiatives are determined based on a family’s calculated total income. A family’s total income is determined by the Office of Financial aid through reviewing tax documents and financial aid application materials. Total income is the sum of Adjusted Gross Income plus all untaxed income. Examples of untaxed income include untaxed social security benefits, untaxed business revenue, pension contributions and withdrawals, child support received, etc. Please visit the parent income section of our website for complete details of the determination of total income.