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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

URI tuition and fees climb higher after trustees vote

Affordable state college education takes another hit

By Alexander Castro, Rhode Island Current

University of Rhode Island (URI) students will see higher tuition prices for next fall. 

A proposal to increase tuition — 3.6% for in-state students and 3.9% for out-of-state students for the 2024-2025 academic year — met unanimous approval from the Board of Trustees at a board meeting on Friday. 

The tuition increase was originally 3.5% for all students, but a Feb. 5 meeting of the trustees’ Finance and Facilities Sub-Committee retooled the recommended hike into two categories — a move similar to the 2023-2024 academic year, which saw a 3.3% increase for Rhode Islanders and 4.2% for out-of-state students.    

All students will also see a 0.9% increase in mandatory fees — $20 in all, for both the fitness center and student union. That brings the total cost of mandatory fees to $2,312.    

Abby Benson, interim vice president for administration and finance, noted at the Feb. 5 meeting that tuition costs are only a part of what’s called “total cost of attendance.” Housing, meal plans and other fees contribute to out-of-pocket price a student pays.

According to the URI website, for the 2024-2025 school year, URI tuition is $16,858 for Rhode Islanders and $36,846 for out-of-state and international students. 

New Englanders pursuing certain majors can pay a reduced rate of $27,768 via the New England Regional Tuition Program. The total cost of admission, with average housing and food costs added in, is $31,496 for in-state students and $51,484 for out-of-state students.    

These numbers, however, don’t reflect the changes of today’s vote, but URI spokesperson Dawn Bergantino said they would be updated soon. 

Bergantino also provided a university statement via email: “We continue to work in partnership with elected state officials to more fully fund the University, especially during this period of rising inflationary costs. The tuition and mandatory fees increase approved by the Board of Trustees is necessary to meet our promise of providing excellent academic opportunities.”

“Our goal is to ensure a URI education is always within reach for students across the Ocean State. Financial aid support will increase to more than $150 million — a record high for the University — and will provide continuing support for, and investment in, URI undergraduate and graduate students. This plan ensures that URI will remain among the most affordable flagship state universities in the Northeast.”

In recent trustees meetings, and at a Feb. 7 Senate Committee on Education hearing, URI President Marc Parlange stressed the need for more comprehensive state support. Before the Feb. 16 meeting went into executive session, Parlange reiterated this need. 

“I am asking the state for help. I really need their help right now so that we can have some breathing room, so that going forward we can generate new sources of revenue,” Parlange said. 

“Otherwise, we continue down this path that the University of Rhode Island has been operating now for decades, where each year you hope that the state will help you and recognize the importance of the university — and then you increase the student tuition.”



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