higher education

Elisabeth Harrison

 A group of undergraduates at Roger Williams University have taken up the cause of an imprisoned Chinese dissident. And in the process they formed a special bond with his college-aged daughter. Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison reports the group was recently reunited at the Roger Williams campus in Bristol.

A small group of students sits on low couches in the library at Roger Williams University, just before lunchtime. One of them is a petite 20-year-old from China, with long, black hair and round cheeks. Her name is Jewher Ilham.

RIPR FILE

A Brown University graduate student is dead after an apparent suicide.

South Korean Hyoun Ju Sohn was a first year doctoral student in the Brown Physics Program.  Sohn fell or leapt from the university’s science library Tuesday.  The multi-story building sits in the heart of the school’s Providence campus. Police responded to the scene a little after noon. 

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Raimondo gave a sneak peak of several programs Wednesday that will be part of her budget proposal.

She's proposing $1.3 million dollars to help high school students get college credit, and $1.75 million to provide some loan forgiveness for college graduates. The idea of that program is to encourage more recent grads to stay in the state.

Courtesy RISD

After an international search, the Rhode Island School of Design has settled on one of its own to take over as president. RISD has tapped Rosanne Somerson, a RISD graduate who’s been serving as interim president since December 2013.

Former president John Maeda stepped down suddenly, after a rocky relationship with RISD faculty. Maeda surprised many at RISD when he announced he had taken a job at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

John Bender / RIPR

Roger Williams University is expanding its presence in Providence.  The school is moving into the former home of 38 Studios.

One Empire Plaza is best known as the headquarters for the now defunct videogame company 38 Studios. The building will house the Roger Williams; center for continuing studies, graduate programs, and the Latino Policy Insititute. President Donald Farish said the new location will better serve adult and non-traditional students.  “If we were doing things out of Bristol, we’d simply become inaccessible to huge portions of the state.”

Construction Begins On Joint Nursing School

Dec 15, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Construction began today at a brand new nursing school in Providence.  The project is a collaboration between three institutions.

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.  

The Project on Student Debt is out with its annual report, and the news is not good for students at Rhode Island's colleges and universities.

According to the report, students graduating from local institutions in 2013 had the fourth highest debt burdens in the country, averaging $31,561. Rhode Island's rank worsened from fifth highest for the class of 2012, when the average for student loans stood at $31,156.

The national average for student debt was $28,400.

The New England Institute of Technology says it is ready to begin an expansion long in the works for its East Greenwich campus. The project will include the technical college’s first residential dorm, a fitness facility and new classroom and dining space.

“This is an exciting day for New England Tech,” President Richard Gouse said in a statement announcing the project. “This expansion will allow us to offer on-campus housing for the first time in our college’s 75 year history.”

Courtesy Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College holds a ribbon cutting ceremony today for Alex and Ani Hall. The $17 million renovation project created the university’s first-ever arts building.  

The 1958 building originally housed a student center, cafeteria, and library.  RIC President Nancy Carriuolo says the renovated building has plenty of natural light and a special ventilation system to make sure the studios are safe for art making.

The University of Rhode Island kicks off its annual Honors Colloquium lecture series Tuesday.  This year’s theme is cyber security.

Stories of computer hacking seem to be all over the news these days.  Most recently Home Depot’s payment systems were hacked, leaving debit card information potentially exposed. URI professor of computer science Ed LaMagna said that most people are unaware just how vulnerable they are online.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A grand jury will not indict two Brown University football players who were accused of sexual assault by a student at Providence College. Universities around the country are facing controversy over how they handle sexual assault. Brown is one of more than 70 colleges under federal investigation.

Critics say colleges should do more to protect students and punish perpetrators of sexual assault. Brown officials have been reviewing their policy, and new students arriving on campus this week will receive more training on sexual assault.

Rhode Island's Board of Education has selected former Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell to lead the state's college system.

The board voted unanimously at its Monday meeting to appoint Purcell as the new commissioner of higher education. Details of his contract remain under negotiation, but Purcell is expected to earn between $135,000 and $175,000, which is considerably less than his $275,000 contract in Louisiana.

RIPR FILE

Rev. Bernard Lafayette Jr., a leader in the civil rights movement, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday.

Elisabeth Harrison

Recent college graduates in Rhode Island have some of the highest loan burdens in the country, according to a national study called the Project on Student Debt. At the same time, Rhode Island faces consistently high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

All that made me wonder what it’s like to finish college with significant debt, so I set out to meet some of the graduates facing this problem and the experts who study it. I’ve been amazed by the response to their stories.

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