This week in The Herald: Socioeconomic status and the Brown experience

This week, The Herald is publishing a four-part series exploring the role of socioeconomic status in the Brown education and experience. Titled “Money Matters,” the series examines an issue that has become particularly salient in recent months — how money influences Brown students’ admission, matriculation, campus experiences and life after Brown.

With the departure of President Ruth Simmons and arrival of incoming President Christina Paxson, the University has entered a transition period during which old priorities are examined and new ones may begin to take shape. In 2003, Simmons instituted need-blind admissions for domestic first-year applicants. Paxson, meanwhile, is one of several administrators who has expressed interest in expanding financial aid and concern about steadily climbing tuition. And the formation of a new student group, Brown for Financial Aid, has helped bring the issue of socioeconomic status to the forefront of student discussions. No matter what priorities President-elect Paxson eventually outlines, it is clear these issues are relevant to the community at large and should be thoroughly explored.

Through this series, The Herald hopes to help inform and add to the discussions surrounding socioeconomic status and financial aid at Brown. Yesterday’s story looks at the history of and current breakdown of class representation at Brown. Today, The Herald examines Brown’s aid offerings and priorities, comparing them to those at peer institutions. Tomorrow’s article will reflect on how students interact with peers of different social classes, and on Thursday, the series will look at how socioeconomic backgrounds influence the careers that Brown students ultimately pursue. These stories attempt to place disparate discussions about money and class in a larger, more unified context. We welcome your thoughts and input — whether in the form of letters, comments or continued discussions with fellow members of the Brown community.

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