higher education

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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In the final installment of our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, education reporter Elisabeth Harrison visits the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority to speak with Executive Director Charlie Kelley. She asked him to walk through the payment system for a student who has borrowed $31,000, about the average for recent graduates in Rhode Island.

Elisabeth Harrison

Colleges all across Rhode Island hold graduation ceremonies this month, and many of their students will receive diplomas and then face thousands of dollars in student loans.  

As we continue our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looked at how mounting student loans are impacting students and the decisions they make about their future.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Many Rhode Islanders are paying off student loans that average more than $31,000, one of the highest student debt burdens in the nation. As we continue our series Paying for It: Rhode Islanders Struggle With Student Debt, we look at what happens when those loans are too much to handle.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education reporter Elisabeth Harrison met Allison Dean at her house on a quiet street in Warwick, sandwiched between the airport and Narragansett Bay.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island has the fifth highest rate of student loan debt in the country and experts say part of the reason is the large number of expensive, private colleges, like Bryant University, Providence College and Salve Regina in Newport. One of the most expensive is the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter, Elisabeth Harrison, met one graduate now staring down hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Ian Donnis

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung wants Rhode Island to go back to having separate state boards for K-through-12 and higher education.

Fung unveiled his education plan Thursday. He said he’d make the state education commissioner report directly to the governor, and eliminate a separate post for commissioner of higher education. Fung said he believes these structural changes will improve public education in Rhode Island.

Erika Smith / flickr

A major culinary conference wrapped up in Warwick, and Johnson & Wales students came away big winners.

URI Breaks Ground On New Center For LGBTQ Community

Apr 16, 2014

The University of Rhode Island broke ground this morning on a center for the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The center is unique among college campuses.

URI says it’s the only school in the nation to design and build a center specifically for the LGBTQ community.  State officials were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, and state senator Frank Ferri, who championed Rhode Island’s push for legal same-sex marriages.  Annie Russell is the center’s director.

Providence College officials are urging the public not to rush to judgment after The Wall Street Journal reported a police investigation of two basketball players, as the Friars head to Texas for the first round of NCAA tournament.

PC Spokesman Steve Maurano says the school conducted its own investigation of the sexual assault allegations when they first surfaced in November.

Courtesy Brown University

All this week we're marking Brown University's 250th birthday with a series of conversations reflecting on its past and looking into the Ivy League university's future. This morning (Wednesday) Rhode Island Public Radio's Scott MacKay talks with historian Ted Widmer about Brown's more recent past and where it's heading in the future.

One part-time faculty member says,"I earned so little that I sold my plasma on Tuesdays and Thursdays to pay for [my child’s] daycare costs.” Others describe turning to food stamps and earning salaries below the federal poverty level. The comments are detailed in a new report from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Courtesy RWU

Roger Williams University is taking a step you don’t hear about very often. It’s lowering its law school tuition by eighteen percent.

Roger Williams University Law School, like many around the country, has seen a significant drop in applications.   Not only is the price of law school prohibitive,  but those who can afford it often find it difficult to land jobs once they pass the bar.


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.

A new study out of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education has found that, on average, just four percent of people who sign up for online courses complete them.

A new study by the Institute for College Access and Success shows Rhode Island students carry the fifth highest debt burdens in the country. The study looked at student loans for the class of 2012. The average in Rhode Island was $31,156.

Several other New England state also ranked high on the list, including Maine and New Hampshire, which ranked second. The average student loan rate in New Hampshire was $32,698.