PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island’s four-year public colleges increased their tuition fees by $2,907 per year over the last five years, the seventh-highest rate of increase in the country, the Economic Progress Institute reported Tuesday.
The Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which made the calculations, noted that tuition increased by $1,850 per student across all four-year public colleges in the nation.
“More jobs in the future will require college-educated workers,” Phil Oliff, report author and CBPP policy analyst, said in a release. “For the sake of its economy and future workforce, Rhode Island should start reinvesting in its colleges and universities now.”
The state’s overall higher education investment dropped by almost 25 percent, or $1,719 per student adjusted for inflation at all of Rhode Island’s higher educational institutions, over the five-year period in question. Based on an average of about 31,000 students in the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, this amounts to more than $44.5 million in cuts since 2008, adjusted for inflation.
The data were released almost two months to the day after Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s “Moving Rhode Island Forward” 2013 budget speech, in which he proposed a $6 million surge in higher education funding for the state’s three public post-secondary education institutions while recommending a tuition freeze until the end of 2014.
David M. Dooley, president of URI, announced on Monday that the school would not increase its tuition for the 2013-2014 school year, remaining at $10,878 for in-state and $26,444 for out-of-state students.