rhode island college

RI student loan default rate hits 12.8%; second-worst in New England

October 1st, 2013 at 2:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island has the second-highest student loan default rate in New England, but remains well-below the national default rate of 14.7%, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Mancuso résumé lacks experience of most US college leaders

July 19th, 2013 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s controversial nominee to oversee Rhode Island’s public colleges is defending her qualifications for the high-profile job despite lacking the same background in education as most of her would-be peers nationally.

A WPRI.com analysis of the résumés of every higher education commissioner – or equivalent official – across the country shows the majority of officials at the helm in their respective states have spent most of their careers in the education field.

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• Related: Watch Newsmakers with RI Education Board Chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso (April 7)


Proposal would build nursing school at ‘Dynamo House’

June 27th, 2013 at 1:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brown University President Christina Paxson said Thursday the university is exploring a deal that would allow Brown, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to share a vacant century-old building in the heart of Providence’s Jewelry District.

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• Related: Vacant ‘Dynamo House’ could house URI-RIC nursing school (April 11)


Vacant ‘Dynamo House’ could house URI-RIC nursing school

April 11th, 2013 at 3:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

dynamo_house_2012By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brown University has ended speculation that its growing School of Engineering might move into Dynamo House, but a different educational option is still alive: building a long-discussed new state nursing school in the long-vacant former power plant.

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RI’s 11 colleges get $200K to help leaders research economy

January 15th, 2013 at 3:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s 11 colleges and universities are combining forces to launch a new research group that will help state leaders understand what ails the local economy and what could help fix it.

The new College and University Research Collaborative was announced Tuesday by Gov. Lincoln Chafee during a news conference at the State House where he was joined by representatives from the schools and the president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Chafee said the state benefits from having so many institutions of higher education within its borders. “We’ve very lucky in Rhode Island,” he said.

The private Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council think tank recommended that Chafee create an independent research group in its report on economic development, commissioned after the collapse of 38 Studios. It was also urged by participants at the foundation’s Make It Happen RI event last fall.

“All of them collaborating on research, on information, on data that can be shared and used objectively by policymakers is not only groundbreaking but could be a national model,” said Neil Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO.

The collaborative will be made up of a leadership team, a panel of policymakers from the governor’s office and the General Assembly, research fellows and administrative support staff, according to an outline released Tuesday by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICU), which will oversee the collaborative.

The policy panel is expected to come up with a few major questions that Rhode Island officials need more information about, and then the research collaborative will find faculty members and other experts who can provide answers. The first project may be under way by March, AICU Rhode Island President Daniel Egan said.

“We think that having the colleges and universities use our faculty … to answer these questions will be profoundly important,” said former Congressman Ron Machtley, who is now president of Bryant University.

The research group has a $200,000 budget for its first year as a pilot program, with half the funding coming from the quasi-public R.I. Economic Development Corporation and the other half from the Rhode Island Foundation. Organizers said they hope to secure additional funding for a second year, and public forums will be held to coincide with major reports.

Also on hand for Tuesday’s announcement of the research collaborative was Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, who has clashed with Chafee in the past. But when a reporter asked whether they see each other as rivals or competitors, the pair jokingly put their arms around each other in front of the podium.

“We talked last week, we talked at The [Providence] Journal, and 90% of what we’re saying is the same thing,” Paiva Weed said. “I’m committed to working with the governor on behalf of the Senate.”

Chafee echoed her sentiments. “If you’re going to go forward, you’re better off with everybody pulling on the oars together, and sometimes it takes work,” the governor said. “It’s very, very important as we go forward with growing our economy that we work at working together.”

Paiva Weed, Steinberg and a number of reporters came downstairs to the 11 a.m. press conference with the colleges after attending an earlier one in the Senate lounge, where the Senate president released her own report and pledged to work on the economy. Steinberg said the timing was a good sign.

“If somebody told me a year ago we’d be going to two positive economic development-oriented press conferences in this building this morning, we’d all have kind of looked sideways,” he said. “Well, it’s happening and it’s provided by leadership.”

“We’re not as bad as any of the rankings say we are,” Steinberg added. “We know that. We just need to prove it.”

There will be more economic policy announcements in Rhode Island as the week goes on. Chafee is scheduled to release his proposed 2013-14 budget and make his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday night, and the House of Representatives will hold its own economic summit at Rhode Island College on Thursday.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

• Related: Two must-read articles about economic development and RI (Jan. 15)


One year at Brown costs the same as almost 6 years at RIC

June 9th, 2011 at 12:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

If you want a good deal on a college education in Rhode Island, go to RIC.

U.S. News & World Report is out with a new look at the cost of a bachelor’s degree at the nation’s institutions of higher education, and it offers more evidence of the jaw-dropping sticker price for tuition and fees these days.

Whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student, Rhode Island College offers the cheapest route to a BA around here. In fact, an in-state student could spend nearly six years studying at RIC for the same amount of money it would cost for one year at Brown University.

The figures also show one way the University of Rhode Island is dealing with deep cuts in taxpayer support – hiking the price of admission for students from outside the state. It’s more expensive for a non-Rhode Islander to attend URI than the private Johnson & Wales, according to U.S. News.

Here’s how much tuition and fees will set you back this academic year at Rhode Island’s nine four-year schools:

  • Brown: $40,820
  • RISD: $38,295
  • PC: $34,435
  • Bryant: $33,357
  • Salve: $31,450
  • RWU: $29,718
  • URI (out): $27,182
  • JWU: $24,141
  • RIC (out): $16,878
  • URI (in): $10,476
  • RIC (in): $6,986

Of course, none of that says anything about the actual value of a college degree. News stories “always focus on an over-educated bartender, and they are always wrong,” Education Sector’s Kevin Carey argues in The New Republic.

(photo: Rhode Island College)


URI takes to Facebook to promote Question #2

November 1st, 2010 at 11:34 am by under General Talk

Candidates aren’t the only ones embracing social media ahead of tomorrow’s election.

The University of Rhode Island has been buying Facebook ads to drum up support for Question #2 on tomorrow’s ballot, which would give the state permission to borrow $78 million to build a new chemistry building at URI and a new art building at RIC. Here’s the ad I saw, which leads to an Essential2RI fan page with more information:

I asked URI where the money was coming from to pay for the Facebook ads, and an administrator said the school has a separate account that takes donations solely for the purpose of promoting Question #2. URI expects to spend about $125,000 campaigning for the ballot question when all is said in done. The money has come from the URI Alumni Association, the URI Foundation, and some faculty groups, among others.

The URI/RIC question is one of four on tomorrow’s ballot in Rhode Island. The quartet of queries asks if the state should:

  1. remove “and Providence Plantations” from its official name?
  2. … borrow $78 million for the aforementioned new buildings at URI and RIC?
  3. … borrow $85 million for highway, road and bridge projects and RIPTA buses?
  4. … borrow $15 million to buy Rocky Point and Shooters and repair Fort Adams?

Across the border in Massachusetts, voters will decide on three ballot questions tomorrow.

As anyone who’s visited a Bay State liquor store lately knows, Question #1 would exempt alcohol from the state sales tax again, as was the case until last year. (The excise tax would stay.) Question #2 would repeal Chapter 40B, the long-controversial subsidized housing law enacted in 1969. And Question #3 – the one getting the most attention – would drop the Massachusetts sales tax rate from 6.25% to 3%.

P.S. Wondering about all that borrowing Rhode Island is asking to do? I took a look at the state’s debt level back in the late summer – see here and the follow-up here.