Community College of Rhode Island

Ian Donnis

Gov. Gina Raimondo hosted a media conference call with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Thursday. It’s the latest move in Democrat Raimondo’s efforts to rally support for her plan to provide two years of free tuition at the state’s public institutions.

Courtesy of URI

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s signature plan for free tuition at Rhode Island public colleges has generated opposition.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says she may have to make some changes to deal with the new statehouse landscape. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is poised Monday to announce a major education initiative that would make the first two years of public higher education tuition-free for Rhode Island high school graduates enrolled at the state’s three public colleges – the Community College of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, according to Statehouse sources.

The state Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to raise tuition at Rhode Island’s three public colleges and universities. The increases would be small, but they will still have an impact on students and their families, and on state efforts to increase the number of college graduates.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Council on Higher Education wants to freeze tuition at state colleges and universities for the upcoming academic year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with State Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell to ask about the cost of a college degree.

RIPR FILE

The Community College of Rhode Island plans to open a new facility in Westerly to train workers for Electric Boat.

The company needs welders and other specialized employees to build nuclear submarines. Rhode Island Education Commissioner Jim Purcell said the new center is part of an effort to be more responsive to Electric Boat and other companies.

“And we’ve made a commitment to actually have a learning center at Westerly, which is really going to support job opportunity and access not only here in Rhode Island, but also at the Groton, Ct. site,” said Purcell.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island's council for higher education has voted against tuition increases at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. 

In a letter, Governor Gina Raimondo had urged the council to keep tuition at current levels to make college more accessible to students.

"We must make it a priority to ensure that students who work hard, and want to pursue higher education, aren't prevented from doing so by high costs," Raimondo wrote.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A committee searching for the next president of Rhode Island’s community college meets Wednesday, as the group is narrows the field of candidates.


RIPR

College professors are raising concerns about a plan to tie state funding for higher education with performance. The proposal calls for targets in areas like graduation rates and degrees in high demand fields. Schools would have to meet the targets to qualify for part of their state funding starting after 2016.

Community College of Rhode Island English Professor Anthony Amore says students and faculty need to play a role in setting the performance measures.

The full Board of Education votes Monday on tuition increases for students at the university of Rhode Island, Rhode Island college and the state's community college system.  State higher education officials call it a modest increase.  They say it is necessary after two years with no increases at URI, and three years with no increase at CCRI.  

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Students at Rhode Island public colleges and universities could see tuition increases next year. 

The Board of Education’s Council on Higher Education has approved a budget with a nearly 3 percent increase at the University of Rhode Island and roughly 8 percent increases at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. 

Higher Education commissioner Jim Purcell said the increases come as state colleges have seen a 23 percent reduction in state funding over the last 5 years. 

RIPR FILE

Is Rhode Island government finally waking up to leveraging state colleges as wellsprings of economic development? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay sees some hopeful signs on Smith Hill.

After years of malign neglect of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities, the General Assembly finally appears to be turning a corner. Several elements in the state budget approved last week by the House Finance Committee show that Statehouse politicians are finally getting the message on the iron link between education and creating jobs in the Ocean State.

After too many years of giving short shrift to public higher education in Rhode Island,  the General Assembly and state government appear to have finally begun to reverse this short-sighted policy.

In the budget that cleared the House Finance Committee on a 14 to 2 vote Thursday, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island have won some important initiatives.

One of the most contentious issues in education remains high-stakes testing. In Rhode Island most of the strum and drang revolves around the New England Common Assessment Program Test.

This year, for the first time, R.I. high school seniors will have to pass the NECAP test to get a diploma. But the Rhode Island Department of Education, with little fanfare, on January 3rd issued a waiver policy that has been slowly circulating among education wonks and professionals around the state.

RIPR FILE

Seventy four undocumented students have enrolled at the state’s public colleges and universities.

They’re taking advantage of a policy the state adopted in 2011.

The controversial policy allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of Rhode Island’s schools of higher education. The seventy-four students taking advantage of the policy is about half the number lawmakers predicted. Ana Cano-Morales is the head of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. She offers several reasons for the lower-than-expected numbers.

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