Brown University

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#T-1, overall score 84.25/100

Fun Fact:

On the night before final exams begin, students strip naked and deliver donuts to people studying in the library in order to alleviate stress.

Why should Jewish students attend Brown? If you want to expand your horizons and engage yourself as both a thinker and a doer, Brown is the place for you. At Brown, Jewish students come together to ask questions, celebrate their Judaism in community, and emerge as Jews ready to engage the world and all of its complexities. Brown RISD Hillel is at the forefront of shaping some of the most important features of vibrant and sustainable Jewish community in America: through learning, relationships, prayer and service, we are cultivating a robust Judaism that is both deep and boldly pluralistic. From the Main Green’s classrooms to Hillel’s Social Hall, Jewish students at Brown from all backgrounds and walks of life come together and learn from one another. Mirroring the ethos created by Brown’s Open Curriculum, Brown RISD Hillel places students in the driver’s seat of their Jewish experience, empowering students to create an evolving set of initiatives of meaning to them and their peers. Students graduate from Brown with a profound sense of how their Judaism can relate to the real world and with a network of Jewish mentors, friends, and supporters. - Marshall Einhorn, executive director, Brown RISD Hillel


  • Location: Providence, R.I.
  • Region: New England
  • Campus type: Small city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,926
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,000
  • Jewish population share: 14%
  • Student origin: 6% in-state / 94% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Brown Daily Herald
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Bears
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Brownian Motion / Disco Inferno

What Students Say:

“The student community and school spirit is very individualized - people take independence to a new level, and while that self-motivation is an excellent skill, it detracts from the sense of collaboration and community.”…”There’s such a culture of happiness and self-care instead of stress, despite how successful everyone is, which is really hard to find on most campuses.”…”If you’re self-motivated, interested in exploring lots of subject areas, are willing to throw yourself into lots of new things and are willing to fail for the sake of learning, Brown is the place for you.”

COST & AID Score: 12.5/15

  • Score: 12.5/15
  • Tuition: $53,419
  • Room & board costs: $14,020
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $46,731
  • Average loan debt: $25,471
  • Starting median salary: $63,000

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 8%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Median SAT range: 1405-1570
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

What Students Say:

“The Open Curriculum means that no one is ever forced to take a class they’re not interested in, so everyone is really excited about the classes they end up taking and the activities they get involved in.”…”The Open Curriculum isn’t for everyone, and sometimes people get a little lost trying to figure out what to take, so in some ways more structure might be nice.”

ISRAEL Score: 15.67/20

SAFETY Score: 9/11

  • Score: 9/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 0
  • Campus crime rate: 6.85/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 5.75/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

What Students Say:

“I wish the Jewish community valued the needs of Zionist students, who are the most frequently subject to anti-Semitism and bullying on campus, more highly.”

JEWISH LIFE Score: 27.08/34

  • Score: 27.08/34
  • Hillel: Brown RISD Hillel
  • Chabad: The Rohr Chabad House Serving Brown University RISD J&W
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Other Jewish outreach group: Meor
  • Jewish fraternities: Beta Rho Pi
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Jewish a capella group: The Alef Beats
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 30
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 125
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 8 (4 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 3 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Janet Yellen
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Jews of Mixed Identity is a vital space for allowing students from multi-faith, multi-racial, Mizrahi or “bi-tribal” Jewish backgrounds to reflect upon what their “mixed-ness” is about. JMI affords a context for discussion and other programming through which students can explore their racial, cultural, political, ethnic, religious, gender identities and more alongside their identities as Jews.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: Kosher food is easily accessible both on and off campus. On campus, Brown University’s Dining Services offers a kosher meal plan that students sign up for at the start of the semester, with meals provided in the Sharpe Refectory (“Ratty”) during lunch and dinner (on Shabbat and holidays, the kosher meal plan is served out of the Hillel building). Off campus, numerous kosher restaurants are within two miles of campus, including one on Thayer Street, which runs through the heart of Brown’s campus.

What Students Say:

“We’ve really internalized the idea that however you chose to engage with your Jewish identity is valid and should be celebrated.”…”The Modern Orthodox community is not very large. We have all the resources available to make Modern Orthodox life possible here, but there just aren’t many Modern Orthodox Jews who enroll.”…”Having Hillel consistently billed as the center of Jewish life on campus can be exclusionary and isolating to students who do not agree with or want to engage in a space that represents Hillel International’s politics. The need for a space for Jews at Brown to build community across and beyond the bounds of Hillel has been identified, however, and there is movement towards satisfying that hunger.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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