A building from Brown University can be seen above.

Following the announcement in September of this year, Brown University’s campaign to eliminate student loans for “moderate-income” students appears to be a roaring success so far. The fundraising effort recently surpassed the initial $30 million goal, less than three months after launch. New and returning students will start receiving financial aid from Brown University in the form of scholarships for the next academic year.

The moved was hailed as a solution to the challenges experienced by middle-class families when it comes to paying for college tuition. Students from these families often don’t qualify for helpful financial aid packages offered to low-income students, and they cannot cover the cost of college as well as high-income students.

The donation campaign benefited from a large group of alumni and school supporters, numbering over two thousand individual donors. Individual contributions ranged in size from $1 to multi-million dollar donations. The Brown Promise campaign plans to raise an additional $90 million to hit the overall sustainable program goal of $120 million.

Brown University President Christina Brown praised the community for its support of the “Brown Promise” to eliminate student loans for less-fortunate applicants. Paxton said that Brown “was committed to making a Brown education accessible.”

As an Ivy League school, Brown University hopes to attract the top academic talent in the country (and beyond), regardless of the economic situation of the student. In an announcement, President Paxton said the Brown Promise “amplifies our commitment to bringing the best and brightest students to Brown.”

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Top universities around the world compete for the attention of high-achieving high school students. With a new financial aid program in place, Brown University might become an even more attractive destination for young scholars.

Other universities and colleges have similar programs in place already. The University of Michigan, SUNY schools, and the CUNY system in New York City have all made headlines recently for low-income tuition relief.

The State of New York wants to cover tuition at state schools for families earning less than $125 thousand per year through its Excelsior Scholarship program.

The University of Michigan is looking to waive tuition, a value of roughly $60 thousand, for in-state families with less than $65 thousand annual income.

Many of these initiatives are reactions to a common problem experienced by college students and graduates across America. Tuition is high, and student loans are rampant. Many students take out private student loans when they're capped out on federal lending.

Student loan payments for prior education make up one of the largest categories of consumer debt in America, second only to mortgages. Currently, the average student debt per borrower is about $30,000, and the default rate, about 11.5 percent, indicates that more than a tenth of borrowers are defaulting.

image copyright Matt