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Brown University in Rhode Island
In a Nutshell
Brown University is a small private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Part of the Ivy League, Brown is a prestigious and reputable university with strong undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as two professional schools: Alpert Medical School, and the School of Engineering. Brown is one of only two Ivy League schools that does not have a law school or business school.
The undergraduate school at Brown is known as the College, which currently has approximately 6,118 undergraduate students enrolled. The College is the oldest school of Brown University, and offers more than seventy concentrations to its undergraduate students, the most popular of which are Biology, History, and International Relations. Brown has an engineering school with both undergraduate and graduate studies, which is the oldest engineering program at an Ivy League school. Graduate programs at Brown have nearly 2,000 students, while the medical school has about 417.
Originally founded in 1764 in the city of Warren, this school was first called the College of Rhode Island. In 1770, the college moved to its Providence location, with help from donor Nicholas Brown and his family. In 1804, the college was renamed Brown University to reflect the Brown family’s generosity. The school started as an all-male school, but it was the first of the Ivies to accept students from any religion. In 1891, a women’s college opened on the northern part of campus, called Pembroke College, but the two colleges were integrated to become coeducational in 1971.
Brown is a selective university, with an admissions rate of 8.9 percent and over 90 percent of admitted students coming from the top 10 percent of their high school class. Brown has a strong focus on its undergraduate programs, more so than the other Ivy League institutions. One significant aspect of Brown’s undergraduate curriculum is that the school encourages students to choose on their own paths to completing their degree, offering an array of specialized programs, internships, and research opportunities. This system, known as an open curriculum, allows students to have the freedom to choose their course of study, truly exemplifying the concept of a liberal arts education.
Brown boasts a student to faculty ratio of just nine students to every one member of the faculty, and more than 70 percent of classes contain less than twenty students.
Bang For Your Buck
Tuition at Brown University runs at about $42,000 annually, plus room and board costs of about $11,000 per year. The total cost for a year at Brown, including tuition, room, board, books, and other expenses is estimated by the university to be about $56,150 annually. Brown has made an effort to reduce the amount of loans students take out, and students whose families have incomes of less than $100,000 annually are not required to take out loans to help pay for their education at Brown.
Brown offers financial assistance in the form of need-based aid, rather than merit-based. Students whose families have a combined income of less than $60,000 per year receive grants and aid to pay for their entire education. Other students can use outside scholarships to pay for their own portion of their tuition, as calculated based on their family’s ability to pay for their education.
Brown students represent every state in the country, in addition to 107 foreign countries. From its origins as a university open to students of all religious backgrounds, Brown has a continued commitment to diversity in all aspects.
Students at Brown live in residence halls on campus, though upperclassmen can choose to live off campus. Graduate students, medical students, and upperclassmen can live in the historic neighborhoods of Providence.
Greek life is fairly active at Brown, with ten residential fraternities and sororities with on-campus housing. About 13 percent of students at Brown are associated with a fraternity or sorority. Themed student housing is also available, which connects students with similar interests, including religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and special interests, like cooking. Brown has an active, vibrant social scene, particularly in terms of nightlife, which takes place both on and off the Brown campus.
With over 300 student organizations, Brown has a wide variety of options for students to get involved in their community. Brown University emphasizes community service, with its Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, that connects students with service opportunities in the community.
Sports are an important part of the social scene at Brown, as part of the Division I Ivy League, with thirty-seven varsity teams. Some of the top teams are football, men and women’s rowing, baseball, and even equestrian. Popular club sports are ultimate frisbee and women’s rugby.
Location, location, location!
Providence, Rhode Island is a compact city with plenty of shops, galleries, restaurants, and entertainment for students. Brown is located on top of College Hill in Providence. The main campus of Brown is home to large lawn areas and many academic buildings and dorms. Many of the academic departments are housed in Victorian-styled buildings, but much of the campus is characterized by brick buildings.
Aside from Brown’s main campus, it also contains the Pembroke Campus, which was previously the women’s college of Brown. This part of campus has dormitories a gym, and classrooms.
Why Brown Made Our List
As an Ivy League institution, Brown University has a long history and a strong reputation for providing a quality education to its students. Its commitment to helping lower-income students pay for their education, and a strong focus on research and diversity, Brown strives to give its students the best possible college experience.