Brown Receives $100 Million — Largest Gift for University
Brown University has received a $100 million gift from a liquor importer for its financial aid program, allowing the Ivy League school to offer its neediest students outright grants instead of loans.
The gift is the largest single donation in Brown’s 240-year history. Its use for financial aid follows a trend of colleges with competitive admissions attempting to make themselves more financially accessible.
“It’s hard to convey how important it is for families, low-income families, to be spared the burden of taking out loans,” said Dr. Ruth Simmons, Brown’s president.
The donation comes from Sidney Frank, who attended Brown for one year as a member of the Class of 1942. He left to represent Pratt & Whitney Motors in Asia during World War II.
Frank recently gave $20 million for a new campus building, which will carry his name.
Frank made his money as a distilled spirits importer, and is credited with the success of products including Jagermeister Liqueur and Grey Goose vodka. Jagermeister’s rise to popularity has been attributed to a marketing strategy that included the use of scantily clad spokesmodels — called Jagerettes — who promoted the German liqueur in bars and restaurants.
He is chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., which he founded in 1972. In June, the company sold Grey Goose to Bacardi Limited for about $2 billion.
Frank said he could not afford to complete his Brown education, and wanted to help other students finish their degrees.
Currently, the neediest Brown students must take between $9,000 and $15,000 in loans during their four years at the university.
“It affects the students’ choices while they are students, it affects the parents’ ability to send other children to college. It’s quite crippling,” Simmons said, adding she hopes the change will show low-income high school students that private universities are open to them.
Starting next fall, 130 entering students will be designated Sidney E. Frank Scholars, and will not face the loan requirement.
Simmons said as the endowment fund grows, the university will expand the number of Frank scholarships.
Brown has revamped its financial aid program in recent years. The university admitted last year’s entering freshman class under a new need-blind admissions policy.
Previously, the university considered a student’s ability to pay in its admissions process.
Brown also eliminated a work-study requirement for first-year students beginning with the Class of 2006, and replaced those funds with additional scholarships.
— Associated Press
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