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What Does It Really Cost to Attend Brown University?

In the past, high school graduates didn’t necessarily have to secure a college degree to find a good job. However, times have changed, and these days a majority of students pursue bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions. Despite there being more students paying tuition, colleges have become much more expensive. As of 2015, the average cost of four-year tuition at a private college was $134,600, and experts predict that number could climb to more than $300,000 in the next 20 years.


Like most private institutions, Brown University has a high cost of tuition that can easily result in sticker shock for parents and students alike. However, it’s important to remember that the price listed in the college brochure isn’t necessarily the same one paid by the majority of incoming freshmen.


So what does it really cost to attend Brown University? Read on to discover why college costs are so variable, as well as what you can expect to receive in financial aid and other funding.


Want to learn what Brown University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Brown University needs to know.


Why College Costs Are Highly Variable


While it’s easy to be discouraged by high tuition rates, the good news is that very few families pay the sticker price for a college degree. Overall, students in lower income brackets pay less tuition than those in the upper economic tiers. Moreover, private schools tend to have more flexibility than public schools with regard to tuition rates. Because of their larger endowments, private schools can often afford to provide more financial aid to students who need it.


Rather than letting your family be dissuaded by a sky-high sticker price, it’s important to look at the net price of a college degree. Referring to the actual out-of-pocket college costs, the net price is found by taking the sticker price and subtracting the value of scholarships, grants, and financial aid. It’s important to consider local, state, and federal government aid, as well as institutional funding. Additionally, students may qualify for merit-based scholarships for academic or athletic achievements.


What Is the List Price at Brown University?


For the 2016-2017 school year, the list price for tuition and room and board at Brown University was $68,106 per year. Because Brown is a private institution, the cost is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. While most students don’t pay the list price at Brown, those from families earning $175,000 a year are more likely to pay this rate.


What Is the Brown University Financial Aid Net Price?


Brown’s net price for 2016-2017 is far less than the sticker price. In fact, the average applicant receiving financial aid paid $57,717 per year in tuition and room and board.


What Is the Family Income-Based Cost of Attending Brown University?


The biggest factor that impacts a student’s net price tends to be family income. Average net tuition prices for Brown University are as follows:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $5,849
$30,001-$48,000 $7,164
$48,001-$75,000 $12,697
$75,001-$110,000 $22,282
$110,000 $44,695


Note that Brown is one of the few colleges in the nation that promise to meet 100% of a family’s demonstrated financial need.


How Much Merit Aid Do Brown University Students Receive?


Brown does not offer merit-based scholarships, instead defaulting to only allocating need-based financial aid, as is typical of the most prestigious schools in the country.


How Many Brown University Students Take Out Loans?


Financial aid packages are comprised of both grants (monetary gifts that students are not expected to pay back) and loans. Brown became a no-loan school in the 2018-2019 academic year, meaning that the institution doesn’t offer loans as part of its financial aid packages.


Students can still take out federal loans, however, and approximately 68% of students do so, with the average federal loan per student totaling $2,923 across all four years.


Ways to Save Money on College


Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce college costs so your teen can attend their dream school. Along with federal grants, student loans, and merit-based aid, students can earn extra money through part-time jobs or work-study positions on campus. As a bonus, many work-study jobs feature plenty of down time for students to read or do homework.


Additionally, students can apply for independent scholarships, such as the National Merit Scholarship program. An academic competition, the National Merit program offers scholarships to students who score in the top 1% of PSAT test-takers. Around 50,000 students a year qualify for recognition in this prestigious program and 15,000 are awarded scholarships.


Want to learn more about scholarship opportunities for your teen? Check out our post on qualifying for a National Merit Scholarship. You can also learn about additional scholarship opportunities on the Brown University financial aid webpage.


Student Outcomes at Brown


Of course, sticker price isn’t the only important factor in selecting a college. Families should consider average student outcomes to assess whether or not they’re getting a solid return on their college investments. Currently, Brown University has a six-year graduation rate of 94%. A decade after graduating, the average Brown student was earning $67,500 annually.


Local Area Cost Considerations


Known for its rich nightlife and plethora of museums, Providence is more expensive than the average city in America. Currently, the city boasts a cost of living index of 112.8, meaning it’s just over 12% more expensive than the U.S. average. Housing is particularly pricey, with the average one-bedroom costing $1,723 per month in 2019. The average price for a two-bedroom is $2,405. Most students opt to live on-campus, however; all first-years are required to do so, and 74% of all undergraduates live at Brown.


It’s worth noting that the minimum wage in Rhode Island is higher than the national average. As of 2016, the state raised its minimum hourly wage to $9.60. The median income for workers in Rhode Island was $19.45 in 2017.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.