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Online and On-Campus Colleges in
RHODE ISLAND

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Rhode Island

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed June 16, 2017: About RIC, Rhode Island College , http://www.ric.edu/aboutric/Pages/default.aspx; Online Programs/Certificates, University of Rhode Island, http://web.uri.edu/online/online-programscertificates/; About, Brown University, https://www.brown.edu/about; About Salve Regina, Salve Regina University, http://www.salve.edu/about-salve; Academic Programs, RWU School of Continuing Studies, Roger Williams University, https://scs.rwu.edu/academic-programs; Fast Facts, Providence College, http://www.providence.edu/about/fast-facts; About JWU, Johnson & Wales University, https://www.jwu.edu/about/; Online Undergraduate & Bachelor Degree Programs, Johnson & Wales University, https://online.jwu.edu/academics/undergraduate; At a Glance, Bryant University, http://www.bryant.edu/about/at-a-glance/; About, Rhode Island School of Design, http://www.risd.edu/about/;
  • RI Promise, Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, accessed May 13, 2017, https://www.riopc.edu/page/ri_promise/
  • Army National Guard Benefits, Rhode Island Army National Guard, accessed May 13, 2017, http://www.riarmynationalguard.com/free-college/
  • Paul Sherlock Scholarship, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, accessed May 13, 2017, https://www.risla.com/paul-sherlock-scholarship
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Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., but the educational opportunities are many and diverse. From the hallowed halls of the Ivy League to regional public institutions, the colleges and universities in the Ocean State offer something for just about everyone.

We wanted to help students sort out which schools were the best traditional and online colleges in Rhode Island, so we gathered data on each institution and did a detailed analysis. We also provided some information on job market projections for regional graduates, financial aid options exclusive to Rhode Island residents and the most popular degree programs for in-state students.

If you attend the Community College of Rhode Island, you may be able to neatly transfer your associate degree credits into a bachelor's program at one of the state's four-year schools. We've included a link to CCRI's transfer agreements at the bottom of the page, and you can check with your advisor for more details.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Rhode Island

Here they are: the best traditional and online colleges in Rhode Island, based on their aggregate score. For information about our 13-point ranking methodology and the U.S. Department of Education sources we consulted, select the button below.

Methodology
1Rhode Island College+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Affordability was the primary factor that put this medium-sized Providence school over the top for our No. 1 spot overall. Rhode Island College was home to the lowest raw cost of tuition and fees in the state by a considerable amount, and it also took top marks in a more comprehensive measure of college cost.

Average net price is a metric designed to calculate an estimate for the out-of-pocket cost of college — including meals, housing, books and other necessities on top of tuition and fees — which takes into account the expected amount of institutional grant aid per student. RIC took the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings, respectively, for the average net price charged to middle- and low-income students in 2015.

Additional Info
2University of Rhode Island+
ADMISSION RATE
74%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

The largest institution in the state by a long shot comes in at No. 2, thanks to its high rankings on student access and affordability metrics. The University of Rhode Island's performance came in second in the raw tuition cost category, and its average net price figures for middle- and low-income students placed at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.

The Kingston school provides students with the second-largest catalog of academic degrees in the state. And students who are looking for the flexibility of distance education can choose among over 100 courses taught in the virtual classroom. In fact, more than 35 percent of URI students took at least one online class in 2015. Working registered nurses seem to be taking advantage of URI's fully online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program — the school awarded more B.S.N. degrees in 2015 than in any other major.

Additional Info
3Brown University+
ADMISSION RATE
9%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Rhode Island's outpost of the Ivy League takes the No. 3 spot, partially on the strength of some elite student success statistics. Brown University's rates of graduation and first-year student retention both ranked No. 1 in Rhode Island in 2015-16, and its position on both metrics fell in the 99th percentile of all 1,649 schools we analyzed.

Out of all the schools in the state, Brown's students have the widest variety of options when it comes to selecting a course of study. The school's 214 different degree programs gave it the No. 1 ranking for that metric.

Students at Brown had the state's highest proportion of their tuition covered by institutional grants: the average net price for low- and middle-income students at the school ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the state.

Additional Info
4Salve Regina University+
ADMISSION RATE
73%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

This small, private Catholic institution features one of the lowest average costs for books and supplies in the state. The other affordability numbers for Salve Regina University matched its overall ranking fairly closely — it came in at No. 4 for its proportion of institutional grant aid awarded, its average net price for low-income students and the median college debt of its graduates.

Salve Regina was also one of the top online colleges for Rhode Island students, featuring the state's second-largest online catalog and taking the No. 2 spot for distance education enrollment. Alumni of the Newport school also managed to unburden themselves of student loan debt with limited difficulty, according to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. More than 90 percent of Salve Regina graduates reported being able to pay off their loan balances within three years of leaving school.

Additional Info
5Roger Williams University+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
12

Roger Williams University was the top destination for students seeking an online bachelor's degree program in Rhode Island in 2015-16, according to NCES numbers. No other school in the state offered a larger distance education degree catalog than this Providence institution, which offers online or hybrid programs in such subjects as community development, cybersecurity, public administration, criminal justice and the social sciences.

Flexibility measures for non-traditional students seeking an on-campus or hybrid education are available here as well, including degree plans that can be completed entirely in evenings and on weekends and options to turn life experience into college credit. RWU also tied for the top spot in average affordability of books and supplies.

Additional Info
6Providence College+
ADMISSION RATE
57%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The third Providence-based school on our list is a private Catholic and Dominican college that celebrated the centennial of its founding in 2017. Providence College posted the No. 3 graduation rate in the state in 2015-16 and features seven out of the ten on-campus flexibility measures we looked for, including tuition payment plans, credit for life experiences and placement services for graduates.

Average net price figures for low- and middle-income students ranked No. 5 and No. 6 in the state, respectively; just two other schools in the state charged students less on average for necessary books and supplies. While Providence College's marketing program was the most popular one on campus, in terms of the number of awarded bachelor's degrees, students interested in subjects still have 99 additional degree programs from which to choose.

Additional Info
7Johnson & Wales University - Providence+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
3

The Providence campus of this private, multi-state institution offers Rhode Island's No. 3 most affordable tuition and fees cost and ranks No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, in the average net price categories for middle- and low-income students. JWU Providence focuses on campus-based flexibility for its students as well, featuring eight of the ten such initiatives included our analysis.

The Johnson & Wales University system also features an extensive online campus. Undergraduate students can choose among more than 20 Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) degree plans. Major subjects for online study include culinary arts, health science, advertising and marketing, hospitality management, international business and more.

Additional Info
8Bryant University+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Bryant University ranked No. 3 in the state for its percentage of first-year students returning to continue their degree plans at the sophomore level, and just three other schools in Rhode Island posted higher graduation rates in 2015-16. This private Smithfield institution, founded in 1863, also ranked No. 6 in the state for the raw costs of its tuition, fees, books and supplies.

Graduates of Bryant reportedly had considerable success in managing their student debt, as well. More than 90 percent of recent alumni were able to eliminate their student loans within 36 months of finishing their degree programs, according to College Scorecard — good for the No. 3 rank statewide on that metric.

Additional Info
9Rhode Island School of Design+
ADMISSION RATE
37%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Rounding out the list at No. 9 is the Rhode Island School of Design, a small private arts college in Providence. The graduation and retention rates at RISD (pronounced RIZ-dee) were each No. 2 in the state and fell just outside the top 50 of all 1,649 schools we surveyed nationwide. Rhode Island's second-highest average tuition and fees cost can be found here, but just four other schools in the state covered a larger percentage of tuition with institutional grant aid.

RISD alumni had a three-year student loan repayment rate that was No. 1 in the state and No. 50 nationwide. Despite carrying a median college debt load that landed above the state average, more than 92 percent of RISD grads paid off their loan balances within three years.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Rhode Island

Whether you're hoping to pick a major that's common among students in your state or stay away from the most crowded parts of the academic landscape, it can help to know which study plans are the most popular. Here's a list of the top degree programs by enrollment in Rhode Island.

In-Demand Careers in Rhode Island

Certain career fields are expected to see significantly more growth than others in the coming years, according to employment projections by state and national statistical agencies. Check out this rundown of top careers in the state and see if one matches up with the degree you're planning to pursue.

Career Title Projected Job Growth Total Employment Annual Salary
Statisticians39.5%30$81,920
Riggers39.4%70$42,580
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers39.4%1,530$42,410
Operations Research Analysts37%460-
Painters, Transportation Equipment32.7%360$44,840
Information Security Analysts31.7%340$103,280
Actuaries31.7%190$93,350
Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators30.9%100$32,850
Insulation Workers, Mechanical27.3%-$78,560
Software Developers, Applications26.5%2,180$92,310
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners26.5%90$38,910
Interpreters and Translators26.4%90$52,880
Credit Counselors26.3%180$56,120
Sheet Metal Workers26.1%500$52,050
Software Developers, Systems Software24.6%1,110$108,820
Web Developers24.4%400-
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic23.7%70$51,160
Computer Systems Analysts23.6%1,820$93,500
Computer and Information Systems Managers23.4%1,160$141,240
Industrial Machinery Mechanics23.1%570$52,140
Physical Therapist Assistants22.9%340$55,050
Electricians22.8%2,040$53,130
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists22.5%1,520$68,920
Physical Therapists22.5%910$83,800
Physical Therapist Aides22.2%270$26,890
Brickmasons and Blockmasons21.5%-$66,850
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic21.5%430$37,650
Machinists21.2%1,490$43,170
Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders21.2%130$39,430
Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters20.4%220$29,360
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Rhode Island

Rhode Island residents can take advantage of several exclusive state-funded aid programs, such as the RI Promise program, which pays tuition and fees for four semesters of full-time study for high school graduates at participating state institutions, regardless of family income. The State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) pays up to five courses worth of tuition per semester for members of the Rhode Island National Guard enrolled at three RI state institutions. And the Paul Sherlock Scholarship awards aid to qualifying Rhode Island residents whose expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated to be below $12,800.

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund
Applicants must be U.S. residents or resident aliens who are permanent residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont. They must be enrolled in a demanding undergraduate course of study pursuing their first degrees. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Applicants must demonstrate citizenship, character, serious-mindedness and financial need.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$18,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

May 1

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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Brown University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
One Prospect Street
City
Providence
State
RI
Zip Code
02912
Website
www.brown.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
680-780
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
690-780
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
690-780
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
31-34
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
6,652
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$75
Admission Rate
9%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$49,346
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
9
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Bryant University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1150 Douglas Pike
City
Smithfield
State
RI
Zip Code
02917
Website
www.bryant.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,459
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$39,808
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Providence College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 Cunningham Square
City
Providence
State
RI
Zip Code
02918
Website
www.providence.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,028
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$65
Admission Rate
57%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$45,400
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
2%
Rhode Island College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
600 Mount Pleasant Ave
City
Providence
State
RI
Zip Code
02908
Website
www.ric.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
400-520
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-510
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
400-500
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
16-21
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,446
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,197
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
2%
University of Rhode Island
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Green Hall, 35 Campus Avenue
City
Kingston
State
RI
Zip Code
02881
Website
www.uri.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
490-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
470-570
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
13,641
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$65
Admission Rate
74%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$12,862
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
2
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
36%
Rhode Island School of Design
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2 College St
City
Providence
State
RI
Zip Code
02903
Website
www.risd.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
560-680
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
580-720
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
580-690
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
25-32
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,014
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$60
Admission Rate
37%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$45,840
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
9
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Roger Williams University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
One Old Ferry Road
City
Bristol
State
RI
Zip Code
02809
Website
www.rwu.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,555
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
78%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$31,800
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
12
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
13%
Salve Regina University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
100 Ochre Point Avenue
City
Newport
State
RI
Zip Code
02840
Website
www.salve.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,157
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
73%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$36,740
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
9
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
13%
University of Wyoming
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Corner of Ninth and Ivinson
City
Laramie
State
WY
Zip Code
82071
Website
www.uwyo.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-615
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
490-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
10,045
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
96%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$4,178
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
10
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
29%
Johnson & Wales University-Providence
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
8 Abbott Park Place
City
Providence
State
RI
Zip Code
02903
Website
www.jwu.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
8,768
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
82%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$29,226
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
3
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
9%
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