Rhode Island Board of Delegates

Representative Gregg Amore
Rhode Island General Assembly








Senator Louis P. DiPalma
Rhode Island General Assembly








Daniel P. Egan
Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island






Senator Hannah M. Gallo
Rhode Island General Assembly








Representative Joseph M. McNamara
Rhode Island General Assembly








Frank D. Sánchez
President,Rhode Island College







Naomi R. Thompson
Associate Vice President for Community, Equity & Diversity, University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Legislative Advisory Committee Members

Senator Louis DiPalma*
Vice Chair:
Member:  Education







Senator Hanna M. Gallo*
Committee on Education








Senator Harold Metts
Vice Chair:
Committee on Education








Representative Joseph M. McNamara*
Health, Education, and Welfare Committee








Representative Gregg Amore*
Deputy Majority Leader








Representative William W. O’Brien
Vice Chair:
Deputy Majority Leader, Corporations Committee







*NEBHE Board Member

Higher Education Fast Facts 

• According to NEBHE’s 2017-18 Published Tuition and Fees at Colleges and Universities in Rhode Island, in academic year 2017-18, the average combined in-state cost of tuition and fees in Rhode Island was $10,545 at public four-year colleges. This price marks an increase of 7% over 2016-17.

• The share of income needed to pay the average tuition and fee prices (both before and after the maximum Pell Grant award) has varied across income quintiles since 2011-12 (Figures 1 and 2).

• Rhode Island is considered a “high-debt state;” it ranks 10th in the nation among states in which college students graduate with the most debt. The average debt amount for students graduating from four-year public and private institutions in Rhode Island in 2016 was $31,217, and 61% of students graduated with loans. For comparison, the national average debt amount in 2016 was $28,699, and the proportion of students graduating with debt across the U.S. was 59%.

• In 2016-17, 14,925 first-time degree-/certificate-seeking undergraduates were enrolled in a Rhode Island postsecondary institution, marking a decrease of 5.9% since 2009-10.

• Rhode Island’s postsecondary attainment goal is for 70% of working-age adults to hold associate degree or higher by 2025. (“The Performance Incentive Funding Act of 2016“) According to A Stronger Nation, a report by the Lumina Foundation, Rhode Island’s current total attainment rate is 46.8% .

Program Participation and NEBHE’s Added Value 

NEBHE’s Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break provides Rhode Island residents with access to specialized undergraduate and graduate degree programs at public campuses in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont — all at a substantial tuition discount.

• In FY 2018, 1,062 Rhode Island residents participated in RSP Tuition Break and saved a total of $7,462,015 on tuition costs. The average program participant saved $8,613.

• In FY 2018, RSP provided $16,046,810 in tuition revenue and $1,334,235 in fee revenue to participating Rhode Island postsecondary institutions.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary, nationwide agreement among its member states and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. It is intended to increases the accessibility of distance education courses to students across state lines. Institutions that choose to participate agree to operate under common standards and procedures, providing a more uniform and less costly regulatory environment for institutions, more focused oversight responsibilities for states, and better resolution of student complaints. Rhode Island is a NEBHE state that serves as a member of SARA in this reciprocal relationship. For more information about Rhode Island’s participation and a list of approved institutions, click here.