College Proposal For Urban Youth

WRNI – Rhode Island higher education officials are proposing a new model to provide college education for urban youth. The effort would be a collaborative between the Community College of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College. It would serve those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to earn bachelors degrees.

"We believe the overall goal for the State ought to be increased educational attainment and especially to increase the percentage of the adult population that has a bachelors degree," said URI President Robert Carothers, "How to do that can't be done in the suburbs but in the urban centers of Rhode Island where the college-going rate is not that good."

Students would earn an associates degree from CCRI and then, through a process of concurrent enrollment, have the opportunity to continue towards a bachelors degree under the direction of faculty at URI and RIC.

"None of us can do what we're someplace else and transplant it into South Providence. We really have to design a new and better curriculum," said Carothers.

This new curriculum would emphasize personal attention and real world applications. The cost of attendance would be relatively inexpensive, $10,000 dollars per student for a bachelors degree.

"What we're proposing to deliver is a very different and we hope better educational experience at a very modest price," said Carothers.

Officials continue to work on the proposal. Next steps might include placing a bond issue on the ballot in 2004 to raise money for a new facility. They also will explore partnerships with school districts and charter schools, according to Carothers.
WRNI'S Deborah Becker discussed the proposal with Carothers on Morning Edition.