Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
Affording college is something on everyone’s mind, including parents. Back in the ‘90s, it was common for parents to take out savings bonds or start a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan to plan and save for college tuition.
Before I go on, I must tell you that I’m not a traditional college student. I am a Bridgewater State Alumni attending Rhode Island College for a second Bachelor’s degree. I’ve already lived my full college experience, dorm life included. The year I began college, which was 2009, the average cost of a Rhode Island four-year public college for an in-state student, not including room and board, was $18,509 for all four years; this included all tuition and fees. For a student who wished to live on campus, that amount was about $4,000 extra a year. For an out-of-state student, tuition averaged $24,642 for the full four years. This was for the 2009-2010 school year alone. These tuition numbers saw a hike of about $1,000 from the previous academic year.
Today’s average tuition for in-state students is about $5,483 a year, $13,249.50 for out-of-state, and $7,853 for our “Northeast Neighbors,” which consist of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Long Island and New York City Metro Area. The tuition amount has increased about 50% over the last 10 years, with some increases so subtle they have gone unnoticed.
Affordability is an important factor in deciding which college or university to attend. There is some good news to this: Rhode Island is home to 13 four-year colleges, 57% of which are considered public colleges. Of these 13 schools, RIC is ranked third in the state in terms of affordability of attendance for families with an income below $75,000 per year. Brown University is number one in the state, followed by Bryant University. On the national stage, RIC ranks number 64, and the previous universities rank 38 and 51 respectively. This is according to Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list. This list is comprised of 1,507 public, private non-profit, and for-profit schools in the U.S., ranking them in terms of how well they help students obtain marketable, affordable degrees. Nine four-year Rhode Island schools in total made the national list.
In addition to obtaining a degree that will be “usable,” we as RIC students also have bragging rights. During a call home when your parents ask you what you’re learning about in class, you can now respond that the most important thing you’ve learned so far didn’t come from the classroom, but from the news: that RIC really does give students a chance at a fulfilling future doing something they love.