The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education voted last week to increase tuition and fees at state public colleges for the 2010-2011 school year.
According to the Providence Journal, in-state students at the University of Rhode Island will pay 9.9 percent more next year, while students at Rhode Island College will pay 9 percent more, and students at the Community College of Rhode Island will face a 8.2 percent increase. Room and board fees will increase by about 5 percent at URI and RIC, the Journal reported.
Tuition and fees at Rhode Island state schools have been continually increasing in the last few years. Fees at the three colleges increased by about 10 percent for this school year, and overall tuition and fees have catapulted since 2004 — 64 percent at URI, 75 percent at RIC and 72 percent at CCRI, according to the Journal.
But these tuition and fee increases have not been met by similar increases in income. According to the Providence Journal, median family income in Rhode Island only grew by 11.3 percent between 2005 and 2008, making it increasingly difficult for poor and working class families to afford higher education.
Jane Fuscl, a spokesperson for RIC, said the school does not enjoy implementing these changes but has no choice in the matter.
"No one, including administration and students, are happy when there's a tuition increase on the horizon," she said.
Fuscl added that she hoped the tuition hike would be coupled with an increase in educational quality.
"Our mission is to provide affordable, quality education, and we hope to stay in that realm of possibility for our students," Fuscl said.
Joshua Laguerre, student body president at RIC, said an increase in tuition and fees will be detrimental for poorer students.
"RIC takes in a lot of first generation students," Laguerre said, adding that fewer low-income students will be able to attend after the tuition increase.
Laguerre said student demonstrations will likely occur before the bill passes.
"Don't be surprised if there is some kind of event or rally or something along those lines that takes place in the spring," he said.