2022 Pricing: the University of Rhode Island

CTAS cost forecasts for the University of Rhode Island’s 22/23 academic year and full 4-year program

CTAS is sharing its projections for 2022/23 academic year costs with information on individual colleges as a recurring feature.  Similar information for over 3,000 2- and 4-year schools is available at the CTAS site.

This post projects average net costs for the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

The University of Rhode Island is an interesting example of an “importer” flagship (a public university recruiting extensively from out-of-state), with a majority of its entering class coming from outside the state. In 2019, 57% of US students new full-time first years came from out-of-state, similar in proportion to the University of Alabama, which is widely-known for its national reach.

Students from neighboring New England states, New York and New Jersey are represented heavily, as one would expect. Taking one example, aside from those pursuing certain academic specialities, why would a student from New Jersey decide to attend Rhode Island instead of Rutgers and forsake the advantages of an in-state tuition rate? Because Rhode Island prices its out-of-state offers at the level of many university’s resident prices for higher income families. New Jersey students coming from households with $150k in annual earnings will pay $36k on average to attend Rutgers or $35k to attend Rowan – or $39k to attend University of Rhode Island. If you don’t love Rutgers’ New Brunswick locale, going north to Rhode Island isn’t much pricier.

We have identified repeatedly how private college enrollment practices are seeping into public institutional settings. Rhode Island perfectly illustrates this trend, with tuition revenues much exceeding other sources of support. Its meager endowment stood at under $200 million (2019), not a huge sum for a university with almost 15,000 undergrads and about 3,500 graduate students (total, including part-time). And state funding stood at 25% of 2021’s estimated tuition revenue (state aid of $87 million, per the budget). Rhode Island is “public” — but its economic profile looks a lot like tuition-driven private college competitors. For example, Quinnipiac University, a stressed private institution located nearby in central Connecticut, is a direct competitor for students outside Rhode Island. Quinnipiac has a similar student body size to Rhode Island’s out-of-state enrollment, admits at about the same rate, charges a little more, and has entering students with similar academic profiles. Now the state appropriations do provide a buffer for Rhode Island, but there are a whole lot of employees on campus who’s continued employment is tied to successful out-of-state undergrad recruitment, just like at Quinnipiac.

One final comment: we’d written about Southern Mississippi’s innovative tuition re-set for non-residents. Rhode Island’s out-of-state price curve as presented above is so flat it raises the question why the school even bothers. Rhode Island might want to seriously consider the Southern Miss move and lower its sticker price to the high $30k range. It could even consider going beyond that and set a single flat out-of-state attendance cost applicable to all with no aid fuss, perhaps making FAFSA filing optional for non-residents, and use that to market to students in neighboring states.

These projections represent informational projections that will change over time and are not a commitment either by CTAS or the applicable colleges.  Figures are rounded to the $500 avoid false specificity. Final net cost numbers will differ from these estimates for many reasons: changes to economic trends, decisions by the colleges both about their own policy and enrollment, as well as decisions about individual students.  Estimates of full program costs assume graduation in 4-years (for Bachelor’s) or 2-years (Associate) without any gaps, delays or added semesters/quarters.  We take pride in our numbers so, if you believe any should be corrected, please reach out to us at support@collegetuitionadvisoryservices.com and we will work with you to resolve the issue.

The University of Rhode Island’s satellite Narragansett Bay Campus by the seashore hosts its oceanography program and coastal institute.

Average Net Cost is a consumer-centric metric which shows costs as they are presented in commercial transactions outside of higher education.  It represents a full-time student’s cost of attending college including: tuition, room & board, fees and estimates of supplies less institutional aid of all kinds (including need-based and merit), and less federal and state/local aid.  Loans and other repayable amounts, along with work study earnings, are excluded and do not reduce the cost.  Room and board charges are on-campus costs for residential colleges; for students attending non-residential institutions, the college’s own estimate of such off-campus costs is mostly used.  CTAS’ Net Cost differs from the Net Price figure self-reported by colleges because it is comprehensive and covers all entering students, including the approximately 40% not included in Net Price calculations.

Read this post and others at our CTAS Higher Ed Business blog on Substack.