Brown College, a small, private institution in Minnesota, takes pride in the more than 60 years of post-secondary training it has under its belt. The college was founded in 1946 by Richard and Helen Brown and was then an institute for schooling students in radio broadcasting under the moniker American Institute of the Air. In 1954, television production was added to the school’s curriculum, as were some electronics programs.
Over the next several years, more and more programs were added, and the school changed hands several times, being purchased first by CBS and then by the National Education Center. It is now affiliated with the Career Education Corporation, one of the largest providers of private postsecondary education in the world.
It also changed location twice, finding a home in Mendota Heights in 1997. In 2001, continued expansion prompted another name change, this time to Brown College, and that same year, a satellite campus was opened in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
In 2004, the Browns were inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Recently, the Brooklyn Center campus, now a branch campus, relocated to a nearby building in the same city. The main campus remains in Mendota Heights, perched on 18 acres of land in this city with a small-town feel.
Brown maintains relatively small class sizes in order to give each student personal attention and meaningful instruction. Lecture classes at the college do not contain more than 45 students each, and laboratory classes have a limit of 35 students. The maximum number of students in any online class is 20.
The college awards associate and bachelor’s degrees in five programs of study and also features a degree program in business management. The Broadcasting program, around which the college was originally established, offers an associate of applied science degree in radio broadcasting. The program encompasses business aspects of the broadcasting industry, such as sales and station management, as well as helping students to develop their on-air presences and persona. In addition, the radio broadcasting program touches on the relationship between radio and the internet and features a practicum project or internship.
The Healthcare program allows students to pursue associate of applied science degrees in either the medical assistant or the health information technician fields. These short-term programs are hands-on in nature and designed to help busy adults quickly and thoroughly prepare for entry into the healthcare industry.
The Visual Communications program awards an associate of applied science degree in visual communications, along with bachelor of science degrees in photography, graphic design, interior design, and multimedia. These programs are aimed at honing students’ technical skills in these creative and demanding fields while also developing their innate talents.
The Technology track has majors for every type of student, whether they are analytical and computer savvy or imaginative and creative. Brown offers associate of applied science degrees in network development and software development and also features bachelor of science degrees in information technology and game design and development.
The Criminal Justice program addresses the functions and operations of various fields of criminal justice, such as the courts and the probation system. Students will combine theory and practice in achieving either an associate of applied science or a bachelor of science degree in this program.
Brown’s Business Management degree program allows students to earn a bachelor of science in as little as 36 months. The program teaches the basics of business management theory and also branches off into such areas as marketing and human resource management.
Most Popular Fields of Study
All applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED certificate and must successfully pass a background check, having no felony convictions on their records. Applicants must submit a college application, as well as high school transcripts and copies of immunization records. They will also be asked to attend an admissions interview, which serves to explore applicants’ educational needs and goals and to determine whether the school is a good fit for them. Interviews may be done in person, or prospective students living outside the area may request a telephone interview.
Certain programs of study carry specific additional admissions requirements. The radio broadcasting program requires applicants to record a vocal audition, either while touring the college or via telephone, and submit it for review by a faculty committee. The programs of business management, criminal justice, and game design and development require applicants to complete the Admissions Assessment. Applicants to the business management and criminal justice programs must score at least a 14 on this assessment, while game design and development applicants must score at least a 20.
Applicants are permitted to enroll in single courses and will be considered non-degree students. Students can take a maximum of 15 credits as single-subject students. After that, they must enroll in a degree program in order to continue studying.
Just about all students here receive some type of financial aid, whether it is a grant, scholarship, loan, or some other source of monetary help. The first thing all students seeking financial aid must do is fill out a FAFSA form, which helps to determine whether they are eligible for federal aid. Students who qualify for federal aid are often awarded a Pell Grant, which can provide as much as $5,550 per year toward the cost of tuition and fees, and Pell Grant eligibility opens the door to other grants. Students eligible for Pell Grants may also receive a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which is based on exceptional need, or an Academic Competitiveness Grant which depends on financial need and academic qualifications.
Brown offers its students a number of scholarships, which are usually based on academic merit, financial need, a student’s field of study, affiliation with a specific group or club, or some combination of those. The Veterans Scholarship, for example, is a $1,000 award given to a new student who demonstrates strong academic ability and has been honorably discharged from the military. The Academic Scholarship is a $2,250 award for new students with strong academic marks, and the Returning Student Scholarship gives $500 to academically strong students who want to re-enroll at Brown after a one- or two-term break.
Loans can be taken out by parents or students and generally do not need to be paid back until a few months after the student is no longer enrolled in college at least part-time. Certain federal loans, like the Stafford Loan, carry low interest, and some may even be subsidized, meaning the government pays the interest.
Federal and state work study programs, in which students are paid to work at an on-campus location, are helpful resources, and some students may qualify for special benefits, such as veterans’ benefits. In addition, employers of some returning adult students may offer tuition assistance or reimbursement.
Students who have questions about financial aid should contact the financial aid office.
This campus is largely a commuter facility, so there are no dormitories available for students to live on-campus. However, there are plenty of activities and groups to help students connect with their peers or to navigate their courses of study. The campus library and a virtual library contain countless valuable research and study materials, and the career services center employs counselors who can help students make the most of their time here and aid them in finding employment once that time is at an end.
The Academic Support Center provides tutoring in writing, math, and online support. For tutoring in other areas, students can speak with their instructors during office hours.
The student lounge and cafeteria are popular places to meet with friends, and students can also connect with peers and alumni via the online communities on MySpace, Facebook, Visual Diner, or YouTube. While online, students can plug into the Voice of Brown College, which streams a variety of music and news around the clock.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The college boasts numerous successful alumni in just about all of its degree programs. However, the radio broadcasting program has always been the heart of the college, and it’s in that area that Brown alumni really shine. Twenty-three graduates of the college have been named to the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
The museum is located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and houses a large collection of antique radio, television, and other broadcasting equipment. Each year, the museum selects new inductees into its hall of fame, including recent honorees like ABC and ESPN sportscaster Brad Nessler and Peabody Award-winning news anchor Cyndy Brucato.
Some of the alumni who can be found in the hall of fame include Roy Finden, a broadcaster who returned to spend 35 years as an instructor; Marc Kalman, president and general manager of ABC-Minneapolis; and Dean Sorenson, who founded the Sorenson Broadcasting Company and owned 22 radio stations through Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.
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