The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. The institution recently announced a plan to eliminate student loans.

One of the most prestigious universities in the entire world, Brown University, has recently promised to eliminate student loans from any university undergraduate financial aid package.

The news was announced via a press release issued by Brown University on September 20th, 2017.

The Providence, Rhode Island-based Ivy League institution is promising to replace packaged student loans with grant funds that will not have to repaid. This removal of student loans from financial aid packages is anticipated to impact all of Brown’s 6,500 current undergraduate students in addition to all future undergraduate attendees.

Where will the money be coming from that allows Brown the ability to fund each undergraduate’s education through grants? The money will be coming from a recently announced fundraising campaign that is part of Brown’s BrownTogether Campaign, which was launched in 2015. The BrownTogether Campaign is a $3 billion fundraising campaign, and the Ivy League university is looking to build upon that $3 billion by raising another $120 million to help fund their new initiative.

If Brown University is able to raise $120 million, the institution could implement its student loan-free financial aid plan as soon as the 2018 - 2019 academic year.

The fundraising effort to raise $120 million to eliminate student loans is being called The Brown Promise: The Future of Financial Aid at Brown.

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Brown University President Christina Paxson gave the following statement in the associated press release: “We’re committed to making a Brown education accessible to students from all income groups, so we can continue to accept the very best and brightest students from around the world.”

Both the larger BrownTogether Campaign and The Brown Promise campaigns build upon a 2003 Brown initiative that began a need-blind admissions policy. In 2003, Brown University made the decision to eliminate any consideration of an applicant’s ability to pay tuition when making undergraduate admission decisions. The move signalled Brown’s desire to keep finances from impeding a talented student’s ability to attend the Ivy League institution.

Five years after implementing the need-blind admissions policy, Brown eliminated parent contributions for any family with an income under $60,000. During that same time, Brown also replaced educational loans with scholarships for any student that comes from a family that has an income below $100,000.

Brown University's initiative to make the institution student loan-free is certainly a noble cause at a time when student loan debt hampers many young Americans. According to The Student Loan Report, the average student loan borrower owes $27,857 in educational debt. Additionally, the national student loan debt currently sits at $1.41 trillion, an amount collectively owed by more than 44 million Americans. 

Image Copyright © Robert Barnet