The Veterans College began as the Veterans Extension Division in the fall of 1947, when the G.I. Bill encouraged many World War II veterans to seek a college education. It was an emergency situation. Some were applying too late for college; some who had not thought of college before the war did not have the appropriate preparatory studies for admission. Brown selected 486 of the 1400 applicants for places in the Veterans Extension Division. A major change in the University’s policy for the first time allowed the granting of regular credit for “extension” courses. At their first convocation in September, President Wriston told these new students, “You are not stepchildren of Brown. On the contrary, you have been favored by a radical and, to many, unbelievable change in policy. ... You are students in Brown University; you have open to you all its educational facilities ... you are meeting regular curricular requirements.” Participation in extra-curricular activities was not part of the arrangement, because these were already overextended by the return of the regular students.
The expectation was that students would take a few refresher courses while awaiting college admission. Actually, almost all of the veterans elected to study for a degree, 290 for the A.B., 154 for the Sc.B. in engineering, 28 for the Sc.B. in chemistry. Almost all of them took a full four-course load equivalent. The program had a maximum life of two years. After that the students were expected to be able to transfer to a college. While admission requirements had been lowered for this group, the required grade level was higher, with no credit allowed for D’s.
In November the name was changed to Veterans College in recognition of their academic work which compared very favorably with that of the regular students. At the end of the term the University shifted 139 students from the Veterans College to the regular College and three women to Pembroke, eighteen months earlier than originally planned.