Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Taking online classes in a Rhode Island college can be a great way to save money while still getting a quality education. Studying online can mean paying close to in-state tuition prices even when you live in a different state than your school of choice. This is can be especially helpful if you already work in another state, or want to save money while establishing residency in Rhode Island.

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Higher Learning Initiatives in Rhode Island

Statewide Virtual Education Act

The Statewide Virtual Education Act was signed into law in 2012. It promotes the use of virtual learning in K-12 classrooms. The law also requires that all online education programs used in Rhode Island schools be consistent with state standards for traditional instruction, as well as fulfill high school graduation requirements. The act calls for the Commissioner and the Board of Regents for elementary and secondary education to create guidelines for the use of online courses in the state’s school districts.

The Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation was founded in 1916 and is the only community foundation serving the state of Rhode Island. As a philanthropic organization, the foundation has two main initiatives: health and education. In terms of education, the Rhode Island Foundation continues to give generously to public education, trusting the state to allocate the funds as it sees fit. A large portion of the funds support state education programs that seek to improve and promote the use of technology in the classroom, including access to computer-based education.

Popular Degree Programs in Rhode Island

Online colleges in Rhode Island stay relevant by offering majors students want to take. This not only brings in students and funding for research and other projects, but also ensures students can earn degrees that remain relevant in changing state, national, and global economies.

  • Intercultural and International Studies: Compared to the rest of the country, more Rhode Island residents have degrees in intercultural or international studies than anywhere else. While not the most popular degrees in the state, their high percentage means that Rhode Island schools are a good choice for these fields of study.
  • Business Management and Administration: This is one of the most common fields of study in the country. The appeal of high-salary positions is the main draw behind business degrees of all types, but they can also be valuable in other industries.

Paying for College in Rhode Island

Cost is a major factor for many students, and paying for an online college in Rhode Island can get pricey. Studying online can often be cheaper than on-campus. Other costs, like food, books and transportation, can also influence your choice of school, and are things you should think about when deciding where you want to apply.

Tuition Prices

As you can see from the table below, Rhode Island’s average tuition is higher than the national average. Keep in mind too that tuition doesn’t reflect room and board, transportation, and other costs.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

 Public Two YearPublic Four Year
Rhode Island$4,560$12,530
U.S. Average$4,234$9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is only slightly higher than the nation overall, which means that finding work there is much the same as many other states. The annual mean wage is slightly higher than the national average, which is connected to a number of factors, including high cost of living as well as the small state population and high level of academic achievement.

Unemployment rate, August 2018
Rhode Island3.9%
United States3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
Rhode Island$53,110
United States$50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in Rhode Island

Make sure you choose an accredited online college in Rhode Island to ensure that you’re getting a quality education. Accreditation is how colleges and universities prove that they meet the requirements to teach students and award degrees. Accreditation comes in two forms: regional and national. Regional accreditation is usually geared toward public universities and colleges, while national accreditation is for private colleges and some technical schools. Neither is better than the other. In Rhode Island public colleges are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

You may also find schools with programmatic accreditation, which refers to specific departments or programs being accredited by professional organizations within that field. While these accreditations are not required for a quality education, they do indicate that a school holds itself to an even higher standard, and such schools often look good on resumes and applications to graduate schools. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding where you want to apply.

Scholarships for Rhode Island Online College Students

Online college classes in Rhode Island can get expensive, but scholarships can help. Unlike loans, scholarships are not paid back. In addition to being competitive, some scholarships are targeted at specific populations, such as women, people of color, or veterans.

Carter Roger Williams Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Rhode Island resident high school seniors with a strong academic record, demonstrable financial need, and who emulate the state’s founder as demonstrated by an essay.
Amount: Up to $20,000

Apply Here

AAA Northeast Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Children or dependents of AAA Northeast employees (excluding executives) must complete an essay, have at least a 2.5 GPA, and be high school seniors or in their first three years of college.
Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply Here

Cataract Fire Company #2 Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school seniors who are residents of Warwick entering their first year at a college or technical school. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $2,000

Apply Here

Antonio Cirino Memorial Fund

Who Can Apply: Rhode Island residents who intend to pursue a graduate degree in education or in the arts with an intention to teach. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $12,000

Apply Here

GFWC WCSC Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Women over the age of 19, who are residents of Washington County, can demonstrate financial need, and are enrolled in or have been accepted to their first degree, vocational, or certificate program.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Rhode Island PBS Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Rhode Island resident graduating high school senior or a currently enrolled college student with demonstrable progress toward a career in broadcasting, communications, or journalism.
Amount: Up to $15,000

Apply Here

Sergeant Cornel Young, Jr. Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school juniors living in Providence, who can demonstrate financial need, and have overcome a serious academic obstacle. Applicants must be nominated by a guidance counselor.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Westerly College Club / Lois Hamilton Fontaine Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Women who live in Westerly or a neighboring town, have already completed their first year of college, can demonstrate financial need, and are working toward a bachelor’s degree.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

FMC Ice Sports Skaters Scholarship Application

Who Can Apply: New England residents who participate in ice hockey, figure skating, or recreational skating at FMC arenas. Applicants must submit an essay.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

New England Employee Benefits Council Scholarship

Who Can Apply: College students (undergraduate or graduate) residing or studying in New England, with the intention of pursuing a career in employee benefits.
Amount: Up to $5,000

Apply Here

Resources for Students in Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island Foundation: This community organization works to improve life in the state by promoting and helping to fund nonprofit organizations. Education is a major focus for the Foundation, and they support over 100 scholarships for Rhode Island students at the high school, college, and graduate level.
  • State of Rhode Island Office of Innovation: An initiative of the governor’s office, the Office of Innovation works to help improve and support public systems like education within the state. They maintain a variety of projects including the Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative, a cross-university program that works to help students save money on books.
  • RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner: This office is tasked with ensuring that Rhode Island residents have access to quality higher education within the state. They do this through analysis, planning, and policy development among other projects and initiatives. The website also hosts numerous resources for students within the state.

Online Schools in Rhode Island

Johnson & Wales University-Providence

Providence, RI

  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Average Net Price: $24,666

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New England Institute of Technology

Warwick, RI

  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Average Net Price: $25,835

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University of Rhode Island

Kingston, RI

  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Average Net Price: $18,267

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