higher education

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.

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.

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.

Rhode Island’s Board of Education votes Monday on a plan to split the board in to two separate councils. One council would focus on K-12 education, while the other would focus on higher education.

The plan comes after the state merged its separate boards of education, citing the need for better coordination of public schools and universities. Supporters said they were tired of hearing business and higher education leaders complain that graduates of Rhode Island high schools were unprepared for life after high school.

John Bender / RIPR

College students have long been known to experiment with drinking when they’re blowing off steam, and even use illegal drugs like marijuana.

But a growing number of college students are now turning to prescription drugs to get ahead academically.

The drugs, like Adderall, are used legally to treat conditions like Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and they’re increasingly common on college campuses around the country.

John Bender / RIPR

As public schools focus on raising test scores and getting more students ready for college, there is new scrutiny on teachers and the schools that teach them.

Rhode Island’s the Board of Education is scheduled to vote tonight on new standards for teacher preparation programs.

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Karen Castagno, head of the education school at Rhode Island College who explained some of the changes they are looking at.

URI

The University of Rhode Island will be offering a mini semester during the January break to help students get caught up on course work.  The semester will run from January 2nd to January 17th. One-hundred and twenty five students signed up during the first two days of enrollment.

Mini semester director John Olerio said students in especially demanding majors find it hard to finish their course work in four years.

Courtesy URI

The University of Rhode Island will unveil its new work-out center this week. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held this week on the new Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center.

It’s located in the former Roger Williams dining hall, which has undergone an eleven-million dollar renovation. It’s a 33-thousand square foot facility with state-of-the-art cardio equipment and weight lifting equipment.

Thomas Dougan, the university’s vice president for student affairs, said it replaces Mackal Field House, a much smaller facility that the school had long outgrown.

Brown University’s endowment earned investment returns of roughly 12.6 percent in fiscal year 2013, up sharply from just 1 percent in 2012. The University says its total long term investment pool is now worth $2.86 billion.

John Bender

Minority students and faculty are in relatively short supply at the University of Rhode Island, but efforts are underway to improve their numbers. Rhode Island Public Radio Education Reporter and Morning Edition Host Elisabeth Harrison sat down with URI's Vice President of Community, Equity and Diversity Naomi Thompson to talk about the challenges to increasing diversity on URI's campus.

RIPR FILE

Roger Williams University is reporting success with a new marketing tool. The tuition guarantee program takes the guesswork out of going to college.

Roger Williams University now offers all students a tuition guarantee. It’s an assurance that tuition will remain the same for all four years of an undergraduate’s education, provided the student stays enrolled continuously. University president Donald Farish said it’s not only increased the quality and size of their freshman class, but has boosted the freshman to sophomore retention rate from 78 to 84 percent.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Roger Williams University said it’s holding the line on tuition costs.  Tuition will remain just below 30-thousand dollars for the third year in a row.

And University president Donald Farish said he will keep it frozen as long as possible.

"Our goal is to make Roger Williams education a  little more affordable every year to a few more people by not increasing our tuition," said Farish.

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