Brown University’s financial aid office will face a $3 million deficit this year and expects a $4 million deficit next year, officials announced Monday. But Brown spokesman Mark Nickel said the deficit will not affect its plans to offer need-blind financial aid beginning next year.
Nickel said the financial aid office’s deficit was because of a higher yield in the incoming class and a rise in financial need among returning students. Nickel said the rise in need among returning students was partially because of the poor economy.
Yale Director of University Financial Aid Myra Smith said that despite the economic downturn, Yale is not over budget this year and does not expect to be next year.
The Brown announcement came after an Advisory Committee on University Planning meeting Monday, during which Elizabeth Huidekoper, Brown’s executive vice president of finance and administration, announced that her office is facing a $1 million deficit.
Nickel said Brown would provide funds to make up for the deficit. He said that during the economic downturn in the early 1990s, Brown used its entire discretionary fund of $1 million to fund financial aid deficits. Nickel said that Brown had not decided what monies would be used in this case, but that the university would keep its promise of meeting 100 percent of demonstrated student financial need.
“There are a variety of ways of finding the resources to meet our obligations,” Nickel said. “We aren’t going to back away from any financial aid.”
The change to need-blind admissions, which begins next year, will not be affected by the deficit, Nickel said.
“The university decided to go need-blind and it will be need-blind,” he said. “We will continue to honor it.”
Smith said Yale’s financial aid office is not concerned about its budget for the 2002-03 school year.
“I can tell you that we’re in good shape for this year,” she said. “It’s always a challenge at places that are need blind in their admissions policy because we can project what the financial aid budget will be based on past experience, but you never know what the new class is going to look like.”
Smith said she thought next year would not pose any significant budget problems and said she thought that the projections for next year would be reasonably on target, but that it is sometimes hard to anticipate the need of one class versus another.
“We’re pretty far into the economic downturn, so we’ve seen some [increases in need] this year,” she said. “We see it when students come in and ask for a review of their financial aid, so in many ways it’s built into our models already.”
The financial aid office will have a better idea of what the budget will look like once the evaluation of early decision applicants begins in December, Smith said.