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HIGHER EDUCATION

Pointing to inflation, Brown plans 4.5 percent tuition increase

The university also announced this week it would provide the highest salary pool bump for employees since 2009

Students make their across campus during a change in classes at Brown University.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Brown University’s highest governing board approved plans this week to increase tuition and hand out the college’s largest salary pool bump for employees in nearly two decades.

Tuition for Brown’s undergraduate education will increase by 4.5 percent for the 2024-25 academic year, to $68,612. Most of the university’s master’s and doctoral programs will also increase 4.5 percent, and medical school tuition will rise by 2.75 percent to $71,192, according to a press release posted on Brown’s website on Monday.

The faculty and staff salary pool will increase by 4.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2025, marking the highest pool raise for Brown’s employees since 2009.

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Not every employee will receive a full 4.5 percent pay bump in their annual merit increase. Funds from the salary pool are allocated by academic and administrative leaders to support “annual performance-based salary increases for employees, equity adjustments, retention and promotions over the course of the fiscal year,” Brown’s announcement said.

“Our ongoing priority as we consider challenging budget decisions is to keep costs manageable for students, through measured tuition increases and additional financial aid, while ensuring the growth of revenue to invest in our faculty and staff, who make fulfillment of our mission of teaching and research possible,” said Provost Francis J. Doyle III in a statement.

The Corporation of Brown University approved these new budget measures on Saturday based on recommendations from the University Resources Committee. The resources committee’s recommendations included a review of trends at Brown, and within higher education across the country.

With room, board, and other required fees factored in, the total cost of undergraduate attendance will increase by 4.75 percent. One of the primary factors in rate increases was ongoing inflation, according to Brown’s announcement. There’s been a 4 percent overall jump in expenses at colleges and universities in the last fiscal year, and the impact of inflation has “translated into higher operating costs for Brown and other schools.”

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Doyle, who chairs the University Resources Committee, said it strives to keep tuition and fees “low,” despite being key to sustaining investments in research, teaching, student support, financial aid, and other priorities. Brown’s 2025 budget won’t be finalized until May, but the university’s undergraduate financial aid budget is projected to increase around $13 million to $15 million, to a total of $202.6 million, said Doyle.

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The news comes as the annual cost of some Ivy League colleges is approaching $100,000. Brown’s total cost of attendance starting this fall is nearly $89,000. That’s the same as the University of Pennsylvania’s current cost of attendance for undergraduates, while Harvard’s cost of attendance totals more than $79,000 before financial aid. Next fall, Princeton University’s estimated cost of attendance will top nearly $87,000, which does not include health insurance or transportation.

Cornell estimates that students who are not New York state residents could pay more than $83,000 to attend if they live on-campus or in an Ithaca area off-campus apartment.

Dartmouth College in New Hampshire estimates the total cost to attend is nearly $87,800, but that does not include some additional fees associated with orientation for first-year students.

Other liberal colleges are projected to be even more expensive.

After raising tuition by 5 percent, the University of Southern California estimates its undergraduates are paying nearly $91,000 to attend and live on campus this year, before financial aid.

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Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.