higher education


Ruth Simmons comes to the end of her tenure at Brown. Photo from Brown University.

Outgoing Brown President Ruth Simmons is preparing her final address to the campus community. She’s slated to speak tomorrow at a baccalaureate ceremony as part of Brown’s graduation weekend.

Economics has surpassed the biological sciences as the most popular field at Brown University. Roughly 220 members of the undergraduate class of 2012 will receive economics degrees during commencement exercises this weekend.

Biological sciences are the second most popular degree with 200 concentrators, while international relations comes in a distant third.

Thousands of college and university students received degrees across the state this weekend, but across the state, nearly half of Rhode Island residents do not have a bachelor’s degree. Business analysts often cite this statistic as one of the factors behind Rhode Island’s slow economic recovery.

To find out what’s behind the number, I met four Rhode Islanders who started college but never finished their degrees. They explained what got in the way of college, and what their lives have been like since leaving school.

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