Metro, News

R.I. public universities propose tuition increase

Tuition hikes still need approval from Governor Gina Raimondo

By
Staff Writer
Friday, November 22, 2019

Tuition rates may be on the rise for students at Rhode Island’s public post-secondary institutions. Recently, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island all proposed increases to in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees, which were approved by the Rhode Island Board of Education.

But according to Timothy DelGiudice, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, the proposed increases still need to undergo approval from state officials. “As with all budget requests, the Office of Management and Budget will review them and (Governor Gina Raimondo) may submit them as part of her budget in 2020,” he said.

At URI, the proposed increase for in-state tuition is 2.6 percent, which translates to a spike of $322, resulting in a new annual tuition rate of $12,922. At RIC, the proposed increase for in-state tuition is 7.1 percent, which translates to a hike of $681 annually to reach a total of $10,260. At CCRI, the proposed increase for in-state tuition is 3.4 percent, which translates to a rise of $160 for a total of $4,860 annually.

According to URI spokesperson Linda Acciardo, “the increase is reasonable.” URI monitors the Higher Education Price Index, which forecasts inflation for American colleges and universities, and “takes into account inflationary increases in higher education.” URI found that its tuition increase is comparable to the current 2.6 percent increase in HEPI, she said. Acciardo added that URI has the second lowest in-state tuition among the six New England public land grant institutions, only lagging behind the University of Maine.

Amy Kempe, director of marketing and communications at CCRI, said that CCRI tuition remains “well below the Pell level,” which is a federal grant given to low-income students to pay for higher education. The tuition increase at CCRI leaves the school’s tuition as the third lowest in the community college network in New England, Kempe said.

According to John Taraborelli, assistant director of college communications and marketing at RIC, the increase in the proposed budget also includes an investment in the college’s institutional financial aid, as well as “necessary investments in areas such as academic advising, technology and student support services to enhance student success.”

But there are also programs to help students afford a college education, like the Northeast Neighbors program at RIC “which extends a special tuition rate to students throughout New England, Long Island and metro New York City,” according to Taraborelli.  CCRI also grants the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship, which provides a full scholarship to “any full-time student attending (CCRI) directly from high school” according to DelGuidice. According to Kempe, this program will not be impacted despite the proposed tuition increases.

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