Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Most Affordable Online Colleges

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Article Sources

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  1. Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  2. Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  3. At least 1% of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  4. "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources :

  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
  20. About RISLA, Accessed April 2017, https://www.risla.com/about
  21. RISLA Student Loan, Accessed April 2017, https://www.risla.com/risla-student-loan
  22. RISLA - College Planning Center of RI, Accessed April 2017, https://www.risla.com/college-planning-center
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Rhode Island is a state known for its beautiful beaches, seaside Colonial towns and outdoor recreation. Though it is the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island makes up for it in entertainment, being the location of the first game of polo, the first National Lawn Tennis Championship, and the first United States circus!

However, there's a lot more to the Ocean State than fun and games: Rhode Island is also a state ripe with opportunities for education, especially online education. As the National Center for Education Statistics notes, Rhode Island is home to 26 institutions of higher education:

  • Two public, four-year universities
  • One public community college
  • 12 private, nonprofit schools
  • 11 for-profit schools

Across the state, the best online universities in Rhode Island are offering their own web-based and on-campus programs for students around the world. If you're interested in learning more about the best online colleges in Rhode Island, including our rankings of the best and most affordable online colleges in the state, keep reading.

Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island for 2018-19

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Choosing between a set of schools isn't easy when you're unsure how they compare to each other. To make your job easier, we used data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to compare Rhode Island's online colleges on details such as acceptance rate, net price and number of online programs. The unique methodology we used to create this ranking can be read about in more detail at the bottom of this page; you can also use our methodology to create rankings yourself using our Top Colleges Tool.

1

Salve Regina University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$37,820
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
12
School Type
4-year

Salve Regina University is a Catholic, coeducational university set on an 80-acre campus near the picturesque Rhode Island waterfront. The university was begun by the Sisters of Mercy of Providence and held its first courses in Ochre Court, a 50-room French chateau, with only 58 students. It is certainly no exaggeration to say the university has grown substantially since those early days, but despite that, it remains true to its roots in wisdom, justice and spirituality.

While they are primarily known for their on-campus programming, Salve Regina has also stepped up to the plate to embrace online learning. Several master's degree or certificate programs can be taken completely online at Salve Regina, in subjects such as the humanities, social entrepreneurship or digital forensics. The university's online courses are asynchronous, meaning students can engage with lectures and study materials whenever is most convenient for them.

2

Roger Williams University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$32,100
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
12%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
15
School Type
4-year

If you're looking for a school that is interested in online education, look no further than Roger Williams University. Through RWU's online course management system, "Bridges," the university offers online programs in many different subjects and at many different degree levels. These programs are "stackable," meaning that a student can start by earning an entry-level degree and then put the courses from that program towards earning a more advanced degree. For example, a student might start off by earning a certificate, then use the courses they took to get a head start on earning an associate degree.

If the concept of a stackable degree program sounds complicated, don't worry. RWU supports its students with continuous advisement over the school year, giving them guidance through the many academic problems or questions that may pop up. Transfer students are particularly well off at RWU, considering that the school allows them to transfer in up to 45 credits for an associate program or 90 credits for a bachelor's program, whether they are for previous credits, military training, credit documentation (including life experience) or College Level Exam Prep (CLEP).

3

University of Rhode Island

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$12,884
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
5
School Type
4-year

The University of Rhode Island is the state's flagship school, and is known to be one of the premier research universities in the area. Rose Butler Browne, the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor's degree, earned that very historic degree from URI in 1921. Students across the globe can follow her example by enrolling in one of the university's distance learning programs.

In addition to its online, bachelor's-awarding RN-to-BS in nursing program, URI has multiple master's programs, graduate certificate programs and professional certificate programs accessible online for students who wish to pursue them. These programs cover fields such as nursing, digital forensics, cybersecurity and dietetics, and are supplemented by over 100 online courses that even on-campus students may want to consider — for flexibility's sake if nothing else.

4

Johnson & Wales University-Providence

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$30,746
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
7
School Type
4-year

Johnson & Wales University-Providence was founded in 1914 as a small business school by Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales, and it has since grown to make quite a name for itself. Its first online programs — begun in the 2009-2010 school year — were a pair of bachelor's degree programs in food service management. Within two years, JWU had restructured itself to include a College of Online Education… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Through JWU Online, students have access to many more online programs than it may initially appear. Programs are offered in a variety of online and hybrid formats, in subjects ranging from accounting, management and entrepreneurship to culinary arts, baking & pastry arts and hospitality. To learn more about their program variations, consider visiting their website. JWU Online also offers help for transfer students in the form of an online TES System, which can help you determine which of your credits transfer to JWU.

Affordable Online Colleges in Rhode Island for 2018-19

The following list names 7 schools in Rhode Island that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs for the state. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Rhode Island

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
University of Rhode Island$12,88416%54-year
Johnson & Wales University-Online$14,823100%64-year
Johnson & Wales University-Providence$30,7468%74-year
Roger Williams University$32,10012%154-year
Salve Regina University$37,82021%124-year

College Accreditation in Rhode Island

Students planning to attend a college in Rhode Island can check to ensure it is accredited through an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Accredited schools meet specific standards in education set by accrediting agencies.

In Rhode Island, the regional accrediting agency is the:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education oversees accreditation in six Northeast states, including Rhode Island. If a student finds a college in Rhode Island that is not accredited by this commission, they can verify with the U.S. Department of Education if it is accredited through another approved agency.

School Interviews

Diane J. Goldsmith
Online learning continues to evolve in several directions [especially] in how technological advances are allowing for the greater incorporation of adaptive learning in a wide variety of classes.

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
Successful online students are active learners, fully participating in the experience.

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.

Financial Aid Resources in Rhode Island

1.Rhode Island State Grant
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Rhode Island resident, a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, demonstrate financial need, and file the FAFSA. Applicant must be enrolled at least part time in a degree or certificate program.
Award Amount
$1,400
Application Deadline
March 1
Renewable
Recipient must maintain satisfactory academic progress, financial need, and residency to retain scholarship.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Academic Promise Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a high school senior, a Rhode Island resident, a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen, and be able to demonstrate academic merit and financial need. Must file the FAFSA and take either the SAT or ACT test in order to apply.
Award Amount
$2,500
Application Deadline
March 1
Renewable
Recipient must attend school on a full-time basis and meet GPA requirements for renewal.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation ...
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited nonprofit post-secondary institution offering either a two-year associate or a four-year college degree.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
April 28
Renewable
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
4.Frederick J. Benson Block Island Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
N/A
Award Amount
$1,500
Application Deadline
June 2
Renewable
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL

Rhode Island Loans

Though Rhode Island does not offer any student loans through the state proper, a nonprofit quasi-state authority has stepped in to provide assistance to students. The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) does not receive any funds from the state, but does provide low-cost state-based loans exclusively to Rhode Island students. Be sure to seek out scholarship and grant money before relying on student loans. If you find that you are still in need of financial assistance, you will need to fill out the FAFSA and supply information about your family's financial situation in order to apply for federal student loans. RISLA and other private loan programs have their own application processes.

Since RISLA is a nonprofit state-based agency, they claim to be able to offer some of the country's lowest fixed rates on education loans. In order to be eligible to apply, the student must be a Rhode Island resident, but there is no restriction on the amount of credits the student needs to earn per semester in order to keep the loan (full-time, half-time, and even less than half-time are all acceptable).

  • Application deadline:  Not specified
  • Award amount:  Up to $40,000 per year

Explore how student loans work in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Rhode Island

  • College Planning Center of RI offers both online and in-person resources to help students search for scholarships, plan for college, and learn about financial aid.
 
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