dcsimg

Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Most Affordable Online Colleges
School Interviews
Diane J. Goldsmith
- Ph.D., Director of the Office for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Rhode Island
"For many years we have been offering online courses to student in our traditional face to face programs."
See entire interview

Introduction

According to 2012 data from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), some of the state industries expected to experience fast growth rates between 2010 and 2020 include health care and social assistance, educational services, and professional, scientific and technical services -- fields with careers that often call for a college education. Advancing technology and increasingly complex jobs will provide better opportunities for those who are highly educated and trained, the DLT reports.

A number of colleges and universities offer online degrees in Rhode Island, including:

  • Brown University features several pre-college online courses for high-school students, as well as a hybrid executive MBA program in partnership with IE Business School. Students study online and physically meet five times during the 15-month program in Africa, Spain and on-campus in Providence.
  • The New England Institute of Technology offers an online degree program for registered nurses seeking a Bachelor's degree in Nursing.
  • Johnson and Wales University offers students with associate degrees in Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts two online Bachelor's degree options: one in Food Service Management and Culinary Arts, and the other in Food Service Management and Baking and Pastry Arts.
  • Salve Regina University lets students pursue several graduate programs completely online in areas like international relations and business administration. Hybrid courses are also available for those who wish to learn on campus as well as online.

There are just over a million people living in Rhode Island, and among those between 18 and 24 years old, 11.5 percent have a bachelor's degree, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2012. Just over 50 percent have some college or an associate degree. Among those over 25, 12 percent have a graduate degree or higher, 18 percent have a bachelor's degree, and 8 percent have an associate degree. About one in five have attended college without earning a degree.

There are 456,100 workers in Rhode Island, and they earn an average of $23.47 an hour for an average annual wage of $48,820, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from 2013. Those workers who are looking to earn a college degree in the hopes of increasing their income with a better-paying job can apply to 11 different colleges or universities in the state.

Most Affordable Colleges in Rhode Island

The following list ranks 7 schools in Rhode Island that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2013-2014) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

University of Rhode Island

Tuition/Year
$12,450
Graduation Rate
63%
# of Online Degrees
2
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

In addition to a wide variety of online courses, URI also offers two online certificate programs. The professional certificate in Digital Forensics is for working professionals who don't have a four-year undergraduate degree, and the graduate certificate in Digital Forensics is for college graduates not interested in a Master's degree.
School Website: 
GO
2

Johnson & Wales University

Tuition/Year
$17,496
Graduation Rate
NA
# of Online Degrees
2
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Johnson and Wales University caters to students who have earned an Associate's degree in the culinary field and want to pursue their academic training. Their two online Bachelor's degree programs are in Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management.
School Website: 
GO
3

New England Institute of Technology

Tuition/Year
$21,285
Graduation Rate
51%
# of Online Degrees
1
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

New England Institute of Technology offers Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degrees in more than 40 programs, and many of the courses it offers are online. Its Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science degree program is completely online, and provides a practical and affordable way of helping registered nurses advance their careers.
School Website: 
GO
4

Roger Williams University

Tuition/Year
$31,668
Graduation Rate
63%
# of Online Degrees
8
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Roger Williams' online Bachelor's degree programs are in Community Development; Criminal Justice; Healthcare Administration; Industrial Technology; Public Administration; Social and Health Services; Social Science; and Technology Leadership and Management.
School Website: 
GO
5

Salve Regina University

Tuition/Year
$34,950
Graduation Rate
64%
# of Online Degrees
4
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Salve Regina University offers some of the best-priced, fully online degree programs in Rhode Island. Their online Master's degree programs include Business Administration; Humanities; International Relations; and Management. The school's Healthcare Administration and Rehabilitation Counseling programs are almost completely online, as well.
School Website: 
GO
6

Providence College

Tuition/Year
$43,245
Graduation Rate
85%
# of Online Degrees
0
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Although Providence doesn't offer online degree programs, it is always adding new, fully online courses to its catalog. Providence assures students that its online courses are just as rigorous as the on-campus classes; in fact, the college suggests that online students may have to work a little harder. Many classes are also offered in a hybrid format, in which some work is done online and some is done in person. Online courses are in the areas of Finance; History; Marketing; Communication; Philosophy; Sociology; and Theology.
School Website: 
GO
7

Brown University

Tuition/Year
$45,612
Graduation Rate
95%
# of Online Degrees
0
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Although the prestigious Brown University doesn't yet offer fully online degree programs, it does offer free, noncredit courses open to students around the world. Brown sees these free, open courses as a way to fulfill its mission to "serve the community, the nation and the world" in a spirit of free inquiry. The number of these courses is limited to two or three, depending on what time of year it is. Brown also offers tough, pre-college courses in which students work at an undergraduate level and receive certificates and course performance reports from their instructors. These 13 classes range from Biomedical Engineering to Storytelling in the Digital Age.
School Website: 
GO
School Interviews

Diane J. Goldsmith

Diane J. Goldsmith, Ph.D., Director of the Office for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Rhode Island

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at the University of Rhode Island?

For many years we have been offering online courses to student in our traditional face to face programs. Students use online courses because they like the modality, it better fits their schedule, and/or they are away from campus on internships or participating in other experiential programs. We are currently developing several online programs directed specifically at adult learners. This includes an MS in Dietetics, an RN to BS degree, an MS in Cybersecurity, and an MS in TESOL.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

Online programs can and should be as intellectually rigorous and as interactive as classroom based programs. Most online classes allow you to work on your schedule, but within a framework of due dates for class participation and assignments. Our website http://web.uri.edu/learningonline/ provides resources and suggestions for best practices in learning online.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning continues to evolve in several directions. I'm most interested in how technological advances are allowing for the greater incorporation of adaptive learning in a wide variety of classes. Adaptive learning can provide alternative pathways for students to experience learning as well as provide faculty with information on what students do well and what they need help with so that they can better focus their assignments and assessments.


Traci B. Warrington

Traci B. Warrington, DBA, Dean of Professional Studies, Salve Regina University

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Salve Regina University?

Salve Regina University offers 6 online master's degree programs in the following areas: Master of Business Administration (MBA), M.S. Innovation and Strategic Management, M.A. International Relations, M.S. Healthcare Administration and Management, M.A. Humanities, and M.S. Administration of Justice and Homeland Security.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

Be sure that online education is a good fit for you. Online learners must have access to the technology needed, be comfortable with technology, and be good managers of their own time. Once enrolled in an online course, access the course as soon as it is available. Keep a calendar of due dates for assignments, and keep current with the course requirements. Contact your instructor immediately if you have questions, and participate in the online discussions with fellow online students. Successful online students are active learners, fully participating in the experience.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Given online education's convenience and ability to reach students who may not otherwise be able to participate in higher education, I expect continued growth in this area. Quality standards and online learning management systems will become more sophisticated providing opportunities for course designers to further develop the student online experience to address the needs of different learning styles.

Top Cities For Students In Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island

Mean Wage

$47,840

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

540,000

Total Population

626,667

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$52,828

Economics

There are more than 540,000 workers who live in the Providence metropolitan area, a region that includes the cities of Fall River in Massachusetts and Warwick, RI, which is the second-largest city in the state after Providence itself. Workers in this metro area earn an average of $23 an hour for an average annual wage of $47,840

Demographics

Providence is the capital of Rhode Island, and it is the most populous city in the state, with 178,042 residents. Providence County has a population of 626,667, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and more than 410,000 are older than 25. Among those adults, 10 percent have a graduate or professional degree and nearly 16 percent have earned a Bachelor's degree.

Fun Facts

Despite its compact, metropolitan profile, Providence sports more than 1,200 acres of parks. The city itself has maintained its historic districts, including the largest continuous string of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is the premier art museum in the area.

Warwick(part of the Providence metro/county), Rhode Island

Mean Wage

$47,840

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

540,000

Total Population

626,667

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$52,828

Economics

Warwick, the second largest city in Rhode Island, is part of a metropolitan area with Providence that includes more than a half-million workers. These workers earn about $23 an hour for an average annual income of $47,840.

Demographics

There are 82,672 residents in Warwick, according to the Census Bureau, and the median household income is nearly $61,000. Just over 60,000 residents of Warwick are older than 25, and 11 percent of them have a graduate or professional degree, and 18.5 percent have a Bachelor's degree.

Fun Facts

Warwick was founded in 1642, so there is a lot of history in this town -- nautical, military and industrial history. In addition to visiting Warwick's various well-preserved historic sites, visitors also enjoy eating in its excellent seafood restaurants. The city also has three museums, 50 parks and playgrounds, and nearly 40 miles of coastline.

Cranston(part of the Providence metro/county), Rhode Island

Mean Wage

$47,840

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

540,000

Total Population

626,667

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$52,828

Economics

Cranston, the third-largest city in Rhode Island, is located in Providence County and contributes to the 540,000 workers who call this metropolitan area home. Workers in that metro area earn $23 an hour and about $48,000 a year.

Demographics

Cranston is home to 80,387 people, and the median household income there is $58,772, according to the Census Bureau. Nearly 57,000 residents are over the age of 25, and in that group, 11 percent have graduate or professional degrees and 18 percent have a Bachelor's degree. Eight percent have an Associate's degree.

Fun Facts

Cranston has a very strong Italian-American influence, and for many visitors that is reflected in the quality of the restaurants in the city. The historic Budlong Pool in Cranston is one of the largest in the country, and the important historical sites many visitors want to see include the Sprague Mansion, the Thomas Fenner House and Howard Prison.

 
Other Rhode Island Resources

National online colleges and universities offer additional educational options for Rhode Island residents. These schools are traditionally geared toward working adults, but today they feature courses and programs suited to a variety of academic and professional goals. 


  1. Brown University, http://www.brown.edu/academics/online-learning
  2. Diane J. Goldsmith, interview with the author, June 2015
  3. Johnson & Wales University, http://www.jwu.edu/content.aspx?id=63532
  4. Johnson & Wales University Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_%26_Wales_University#Notable_alumni
  5. List of Brown University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Brown_University_people
  6. New England Institute of Technology, http://www.neit.edu/Programs/Online-Degree-Program
  7. Providence College, http://www.providence.edu/sce/Documents/onlineandhybridcourses.pdf
  8. Providence College, Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salve_Regina_University#Notable_alumni
  9. Rhode Island Employment Trends and Workforce Issues, 2012, Rhode Island Dept. of Labor and Training, http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/publications/trends.htm
  10. Roger Williams University, http://rwu.edu/academics/schools-colleges/scs/online-learning/online-programs
  11. Roger Williams University Notable Faculty Members and Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_University#Notable_faculty_members_and_alumni
  12. Salve Regina University, http://www.salve.edu/graduate-studies/online-studies
  13. Salve Regina University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salve_Regina_University#Notable_alumni
  14. Traci B. Warrington, interview with the author, June 2015
  15. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  16. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ri.htm
  17. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_77200.htm
  18. University of Rhode Island, http://www.uri.edu/online/new_course_listing_summer_2014_wp.html
  19. University of Rhode Island Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Rhode_Island