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Not Good News

2

Replies to: Not Good News

  • modestmelodymodestmelody Registered User Posts: 4,654 Senior Member
    Well, MiPerson, I'm sorry that you had a poor tour guide but most of what you're talking about in here is either entirely unrepresentative of our campus (attitude) or a complete misunderstanding of a policy (SNC).

    Honestly, you're coming off with a pretty strong sense of entitlement in this thread and if you had such a bad experience that you're frustrated you should feel free to talk about it in your own thread where it would be more appropriate and where current students could address your concerns to see if your 2 hours on campus gave you a full enough picture to judge the entire place.
  • obsessivecollegeobsessivecollege Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    As a Brown grad and parent of a D who is applying this year, I am am not worried. 2 Billion is alot by any stretch. Brown is hardly hurting. All this means is they only have enough money to cover their budget for the next 20 years instead of 30.
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Registered User Posts: 4,654 Senior Member
    Well, obsessive, it is having some slightly more serious effects than that, but only in the context of Brown, rather than relative to everywhere else.

    The schools that are going to be really hurt are those middle schools that have spent a ton of money recently making their campuses rather modern to compete with the aging facilities of older prominent schools like Brown. They have far less money in the bank and did a lot of deficit spending to build these structures. Financial viability for those places ten years out is not looking good at all.

    We've been building a lot lately and doing more deficit spending in the past, but we've far from bankrupted ourselves. The largest effects is that the increased faculty will not have increased graduate students to compensate for their new size and several pertinent construction projects will not be started until later than anticipated as we wait for more donations to come in. That nice new fitness center with a swimming complex, the Creative Arts Center, the renovation of Faunce, the Mind Brain Center, and the Center for Nanotechnology are all probably going to be placed at least on hold while finances sure up and money trickles in at a slow pace.

    We'll be fine, financial aid will be fine, but our rapid improvement that's been going on for the last 8 years or so is going to be put on pause.

    Really, it's too bad that Brown didn't have better leadership with the two presidents before Ruth. Fundraising at that time seemed like a non-priority compared to now, resources were not handled well, general organization to watch spending and also to expand and spend coherently was largely lacking.

    I don't agree with everything Ruth has done but she has provided structure that our short lived presidencies of the 90s really screwed up with. If not for the changes in the actual university, the changes in governance and administrative structure under Ruth has probably made us significantly more secure than we would have been under some others in our recent past.

    If the economy does not improve in the next 6-8 months significantly, I expect to see many medium universities drop significant portions of their school and many top universities scrambling to rapidly restructure.
  • MiPerson80MiPerson80 Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    it sounds like modestmelody is with the Brown administration but I can think you need to understand what some parents see when they visit these schools. You said that there is a since of "entitlement" , and yes, if the parents are going to pay $50k/yr for a private school, we damn well should be heard! We did the "east coast" tour, Yale's tour guides were very good (they have to try out for these positions), Princeton and Dartmouth were very poor, you wouldn't believe the snide comments the Princeton student guide was making. Also, most parents have read the book "price of admissions" , where Brown , because of the low endowment, went after movie star kids and dropped the math requirement to get in.....so let's be realistic here, parents are getting very well informed, and when a school like Brown's endowmwnt goes down by $800 million, this would really worry me if I was a student here. There will be dramaitc cutbacks.
  • MiPerson80MiPerson80 Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    also, everyone know that schools could on using 4-5% of their endowment for a rolling 3 year average every year, so an $800M loss could be $32M to $40M cut for the upcoming year, we have to assume the stock market will be down for the next 2 years and these endowments got into a lot of illiquid investments, so the drop could be a lot worse than the $800M.
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Registered User Posts: 4,654 Senior Member
    MiPerson, if you read this forum a bit more you'll find I already posted where our president stated we're losing 60million from our budget this year, and 2billion is a safety estimation.

    Price of Admissions crap is from three presidents ago and lasted for about 3 years. That's precisely in that period where I said our presidents weren't looking at fund raising from the right angle.

    I don't know what you mean by "be heard" but as a tour guide with over 125 tours under his belt and who has trained tour guides in the past I can say that many of our tour guides are excellent-- but there are 65 tour guides filled by 180 students who want spots and we can't observe all of those guides all of the time. Sometimes you get a bad guide-- it's hardly representative of a school and if you really want to be a well-informed parent you'd be asking for a lot more than one students 1 hour schtick of which 85% is usually straight from a script.

    Our "low endowment" still puts us high on a list of very rich schools. Our alumni giving rate is top notch.

    I know exactly what cuts are looking to be made, not just from President's Simmons letters but from conversations with higher ups around campus. If you think that Brown is the only one, look around-- practically all of the top schools are recording 25-30% losses (and Brown's gains over the last 3-5 years outpaces most of our peers). Changes are definitely going to be made, but don't make it out to be the apocalypse because you've read one book, saw a single Brown student on a tour, and went into List Art for an info session (which we use because it's big and no professors wnat to teach in there, so we put our real classes in nicer rooms). Manning Chapel is sometimes used which is much nicer.
  • fredmurtz2fredmurtz2 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    The Price of Admissions demonstrates what is true at Brown is true anywhere else: If you are a movie star or, quite rich of course that would make you more desirable. But, the decision to adopt the new curriculum was wholly detached from other considerations -- a fact made plain even in Golden's book. There is a good amount of evidence even within Golden's book that says that the new curriculum was attractive to celebrities. Brown is one of a handful of schools that will treat you like an adult and cut the crap with Gen Ed nonsense. Do people mess up? Sure. Are some choices not the best in the long run? Of course. Welcome to Life!
  • MiPerson80MiPerson80 Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    yes, but at least a college graduate should be able to do second year HS algebra well, I somehow think these Brown admitted celebrity kids struggle with that. I was once with a very famous person who asked her assitant to figure out the 20% tip for the dinnner.
  • needanameneedaname Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
    I went to Brown in the mid-70s when the endowment was in terrible shape but nonetheless had a wonderful experience and a fabulous education. What makes Brown unique -- close relationships with professors, academic freedom, the ability to try different courses without fear of being penalized for one's performance, a bright student body with a wide range of interests -- will not change even if the endowment drops. Yes, the dorms might get a little shabbier, the grass might get a little scragglier, but one can still get a fine education and, after all, isn't that what college should be about?
  • wolfmanjackwolfmanjack Registered User Posts: 1,167 Senior Member
    I'll cut to the meat of the issue:

    MiPerson, I hate to tell you but you are not as well informed as you claim to be. You have lots of people on this forum willing to help you change that. This is representative of the people of Brown, not the "entitlement" you speak of. That's not to say there aren't some wealthy folk around but they don't represent everyone.
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Registered User Posts: 4,654 Senior Member
    Brown requires four units of math, science, English, and foreign language.

    MiPerson, what you're saying is just plain wrong.

    Oh, and wolfman is a student, who's a transfer from an underrepresented part of the US, and is much older than most students here. If there's ever been such a thing as an outsider's inside perspective, he has it.


    Btw, Jason, a girl working in my lab who's a freshman is from Kansas.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,595 Senior Member
    Having survived a few college tours, I think it would be unwise to place much if any reliance on the college tour or the tour guide as an important source of information in making decisions. We had a cute, personable, but rather self-absorbed tour guide at Brown. Could she have been more informative? Sure. Was she fun? Reasonably. Was she entitled? That word didn't even come to mind. Does that mean that all Brown students are cute or self-absorbed? Or is it a piece of evidence that is reasonably uncorrelated with what we as parents want to know? I'd say yes to the latter. I'd also agree that the admissions presentation done in a relatively uncomfortable setting and could have been a lot better, in part because many of the "well-informed" parents asked questions that they could have easily learned by reading Brown's literature in advance. Frankly, I was a little annoyed at the (entitled?) parents who would waste everyone else's time asking questions to which they should already have know the answers if they'd done the least little bit of reading. In addition to having done our pre-reading from Brown, we also read non-Brown evaluations of Brown, websites sampling student opinion, and spoke to students. We attended a class on a Friday morning and he stayed over with kids he knew Friday night and returned Saturday late afternoon. He felt he got a very good sense of the kids when he socialized with them and they left a party and went to a museum and talked about art. He felt that they were intellectually curious and willing to be uncool to pursue learning. He liked the kids he saw. Of course, this was a small sample too -- he didn't hang out with the football team or visit a frat. But, these experiences seem likely to produce more reliable information than a random tour guide.
  • wolfmanjackwolfmanjack Registered User Posts: 1,167 Senior Member
    A) Jason, ask her which city and report back. i had coffee with a girl from KC last Tuesday actually, but most people from KS at Brown are from the KC area.

    B) What's so bad about List 120, if you're all talking about List 120...

    C) I know a few football players and they are cool people, and a much needed element for Brown to maintain a little normalcy.
  • MiPerson80MiPerson80 Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    still, Brown's very low endowment hurts them, they should have been up to about $6B before the stock market crash, having $2.8B before the crash does hurt a school in the USNWR ranking. Compare this to Notre Dame which has about $6B and same size student bodies.

    Everyone needs to realize that 2009 is going to be extremely difficult for private colleges like Brown that have very low endowments.....$2B is not much of a cushion. I wonder if Brown can survive if this economic downturn keeps going for 2 more years. Remember, that donations also dry up during a downturn.
  • threedaughtersthreedaughters Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    "i wonder if Brown can survive" is a bit overwrought. Founded in 1764, Brown has managed to survive the Depression, Wars (Revolutionary,1812, etc) and the many challenges that will always arise. What matters is the resilience, creativity and values of an institution. President Simmons and the culture of Brown should make one confident that the university will meet the significant challenges ahead.
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