Online Colleges in Rhode Island
The country’s smallest state is taking big steps when it comes to higher education.
Rhode Island has joined Complete College America, a national effort to boost the number of college graduates in each state, which will in turn help sustain the economy. The statewide goal is to have 70% of working-age Rhode Islanders hold at least an associate’s degree by 2025. And so far, things are on track. Graduation rates for lower-income students in the state have surpassed the national average.
Clearly Rhode Island has lofty goals, but the state is working hard to reach them and provide excellent educational opportunities to its residents.
Overview of Higher Education in Rhode Island
As the country’s smallest state, Rhode Island spans just 48 miles north to south and 37 miles east to west. But despite its size, the state offers an ample variety of schools – research universities, private collages, a prestigious art school, and an Ivy League university.
In all, Rhode Island is home to 13 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Three are public schools and 10 are non-profit private schools. There are no for-profit schools.
While tuition rates in Rhode Island are above the national average, according to a 2016-2017 report by Collegeboard.org, it is not among the top 10 most expensive states in which to pursue higher education. Tuition and fees for an in-state student at one of Rhode Island’s public 4-year institutions is $11,410, on average. Out-of-state students will pay around $26,850.
Students in the state also have the benefit of a reciprocity agreement through the New England Regional Student Program (RSP). This agreement allows residents to enroll in degree programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont at a discount, if those programs are not offered by public schools within their home state. Altogether, the program provides access to 800 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 82 public colleges and universities!
About Online Colleges in Rhode Island
The rigors of college can be especially challenging for students who must also balance a career or family life. Online learning provides a convenient, flexible alternative that can fit around students’ existing schedules.
In 2012, the NCES indicated that 1.6% of Rhode Island’s higher education students were enrolled in online courses exclusively. Another 10.1% of students were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. Those numbers have risen in years since, as colleges have increased their online offerings.
Ivy League Brown University opened its first online undergraduate courses in 2013, and the program has continued to grow since. Mid-career professionals may be especially interested in Brown’s Executive Master programs, which blend online and on-campus study in the following programs: Business, Cybersecurity, Healthcare Leadership, Science and Technology Leadership.
Johnson & Wales University, a private nonprofit university in Providence, offers a particularly robust selection of online programs, including 19 Bachelor of Science degree programs from Accounting to Tourism & Hospitality Management, 7 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree programs and 24 graduate level programs.
Students at the largest community college system in New England, Community College of Rhode Island, can choose from more than 200 online courses a year.
Nearly all of the postsecondary schools in Rhode Island offer online courses and/or programs. The courses are taught by the same faculty as traditional on-campus courses, and the students have access to the same resources, including personal advisors, tutoring programs, financial assistance, career placement, and so on.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Rhode Island
If you plan to pursue a degree from a college or university in Rhode Island, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA can provide access to federal, state and private financial aid. Even if you don’t believe you will qualify for need-based assistance, you should still fill out the FAFSA. It is often required for low interest loans and scholarships as well.
It’s important to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. It becomes available on October 1st of each year, and many of the funds are distributed on a first come, first served basis.
The application itself includes questions about your income and the income of your parents (unless you’re considered independent), and the data you provide will be used to determine how much and what type of financial assistance you are offered.
As a Rhode Islander, you have access to an outstanding program called the RI Promise. Through this program, starting with the class of 2017, all Rhode Island high school graduates can pursue an associate degree at the Community College of Rhode Island or a bachelor’s degree at the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College for four semesters tuition free, regardless of their income. The program will cost the state about $30 million, which will be paid for by revenues from economic growth.
Additionally, many of Rhode Island’s colleges and universities offer their own financial aid programs, both need-based and merit-based. To learn more about these opportunities, check with the financial aid office at the school you have chosen.
Private scholarships can offer further financial assistance. Here are a few available to Rhode Islanders:
|Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship||For New England students who demonstrate a deep respect for animals and people; Not based on merit or need||
Up to $3500
|Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow, Jr. Scholarship||For New England senior in 2-year program or junior in 4-year program studying landscaping or horticulture; Must have GPA of 2.25 or higher; Preference given to student who plans to work in nursery after graduation and/or student with financial need||
|The Imperial Court of Rhode Island Memorial Scholarship Fund||For high school graduates who identify as a member o the LGBTQ community or have a parent/guardian who does||
|Thomas F. Black, Jr. Memorial Scholarship||For students entering their first year of law school; Based on financial need, academic performance, and community service||
|Desiree Mesolella Art Scholarship||For high school seniors pursuing a degree in the art field; Based on academics, artistic ability and passion Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher||
You can find even more scholarships by using search sites like Fastweb.com. Simply fill in some basic demographic information, and the site will match you with dozens of scholarship opportunities
List of Online Colleges in Rhode Island
|Online Colleges in Rhode Island||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Roger Williams University||Bristol, Rhode Island||$32,100||Regional||$50|
|Salve Regina University||Newport, Rhode Island||$37,820||Regional||$50|
|Johnson & Wales University||Providence, Rhode Island||$14,823||Regional||$0|
This tiny New England state is packed exceptional schools, offers a variety of online learning opportunities and can even offer financial aid to help with costs.
Rhode Island students are on the road to success.