An article in “The Brown Daily Herald” by Ethan McCoy and Lindor Qunaj points out that Brown University struggles against its Ivy League counterparts in luring middle-class recruited athletes to come to Brown University once admitted. Why does it matter that they’re middle class? Well, according to the article, “Families with combined incomes of over $60,000 who still cannot afford a university’s full sticker price have to shop around the league for the best financial aid deals. For admits whose annual family incomes fall between $100,000 and $200,000, Brown is ‘struggling’ to compete with the big three — Harvard, Yale and Princeton — in its financial aid offers, according to Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger. As a result, Brown, in many cases, becomes the more expensive Ivy.”
In the end, it all comes down to the size of the endowments at the Ivy League colleges. Brown University has the smallest endowment of the eight Ivy League universities. According to the article, “Harvard, Yale and Princeton, whose endowments are far greater than those of the other five Ivy institutions, can better recruit because of their ability to offer superior financial aid packages. Brown’s $2.2 billion endowment is the smallest in the Ivy League. Harvard, Yale and Princeton have endowments of $27.4 billion, $16.7 billion and $14.4 billion, respectively. The schools are the top three in the country for per-student endowments.”
So a recruited athlete who would have to pay $50,000 at Brown University but would only have to pay $20,000 at Yale University would likely choose Yale University each and every time. What if that player could have made the difference on Brown’s lacrosse team in challenging Cornell University for the Ivy League title? Or the basketball team in Brown’s attempts to beat Harvard University and Princeton University? Is it coincidence that Harvard and Princeton won shares of the men’s Ivy League title in men’s basketball this year or does this have something to do with it? Harvard and Yale were also near the top of the Ivy League football standings last season…but then again, so was Brown as all tied for second place (Penn finished in first place).