Rhode Island Education

Educational Opportunities in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is no slacker when it comes to educational opportunities. In spite of its small size (1,214 square miles), the Ocean State has plenty to offer students who come to further their education. With 14 colleges and universities and 18 post-secondary vocational facilities, Rhode Island can claim at least one opportunity for every 38 square miles of the state! Of course, these educational facilities aren’t spaced exactly that way and this number does not include Continuing Education or Lifelong Learning.

The location of the post-secondary facilities stretch from Woonsocket down central and eastern areas of the state to Newport with the highest and most diverse concentration being in Providence. The capital city is home to the Motoring Technical Training Institute, St Joseph School of Nursing, St Joseph Hospital - School of Anesthesia for Nurses, the Arthur Angelo School of Cosmetology and Hair Design, Brown University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island Hospital, Rhode Island School of Design, IMEDIA and the Sawyer School.

The remainder of post-secondary offerings are in order by city/town:

Barrington - Zion Bible College
Bristol - Roger Williams University and the Roger Williams University School of Law
Cranston - Gibbs College, Newport School of Hairdressing and Paul Mitchell School
Greenville - Mater Ecclesiae College
Kingston - University of Rhode Island
Lincoln - Career Education Institute (Lincoln Technical Institute)
Newport - Salve Regina University, the U. S. Naval War College and the International Yacht Restoration School
Pawtucket - New England Tractor Trailer Training School, the Sawyer School and the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island School of NAP
Smithfield - Bryant University
Warwick - New England Institute of Technology, Community College of Rhode Island and the Warwick Academy of Beauty Culture, Inc
Woonsocket - Rob Roy Academy

The post-secondary campuses have more than book learning to teach their students. The settings range from urban inner-city to the tranquil environment of more rural locations. Sandy beaches, acres of parks and parkland, museums, galleries and many historic landmarks are readily available to those who choose Rhode Island for their educational experience. History and art majors can benefit from the fact that this tiny state is one big museum/gallery/conservatory - rich in history and steeped in creativity.

Trends in Education - Budgetary

The opportunities are there, but will students be able to pursue them? There are three public colleges in Rhode Island and $17.8 million in proposed budget cuts for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. These cuts will impact tuition as well as scholarships. The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education is expected to raise tuition and fees even higher than the last fiscal year.

The reduction in scholarship aid is projected at $500,000 for the remainder of this fiscal year. That reduction will reach more than $1 million for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2008. Although these cuts to the higher education budgets are meant to close an ever-widening gap in the state budget, they also put Rhode Island out of step with the rest of the country. Other states have managed to pour more money into their higher education budgets. Rhode Island’s reduction in support will place a significant burden on students and their families.

Trends in Education - Scholastic

Colleges, university and technical schools report emerging trends in the choices of study that most students select. Interestingly enough, these trends seem to follow the same path as the economic development of Rhode Island. Most popular majors are in Health and Allied Services, Business and Commerce, Engineering and Engineering Technologies and the Social Sciences and History. Within the area of Business there is a strong showing for Hospitality and Tourism.

In the interest of exploring the diverse environments of post-secondary education, it is important to note a rather unique situation that exists in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Department of Corrections works closely with the Community College of Rhode Island. A number of non-credit courses are available to the inmates as well as Certificate courses and a small selection of basic education credit courses.

The Community College of Rhode Island has five campuses: Knight Campus in Warwick, Flanagan Campus in Lincoln, Liston Campus in Providence, Newport County Campus in Newport and the Downcity Campus in the heart of Downtown Providence.

There is also a satellite campus in Westerly. The Community College of Rhode Island is the largest two year degree-granting public college in New England. It opened to its first class of students in September of 1964 and moved to its permanent location at Knight Campus shortly thereafter. As with all Community (Junior) Colleges, the mission is to bring higher education to the urban population.

Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning

Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning have become requirements for both domestic and career-path individuals. At one point, in the 1970s, it was estimated that information was doubling every ten years. Today, we are riding the wave of information overload! Curiosity, exploration and learning - from birth to death - should render to an individual enough stored knowledge for survival.

There are several educational opportunities offering information, workshops and seminars that are designed to address issues impacting our quality of life today and into the future. These issues include our environment, the ecologically sensitive balance of flora to fauna, climate change and weather trends. We are stewards of Planet Earth and we must take responsibility for care and protection of our environment. Education is the key to this success.

The Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium are located at Roger Williams Park in Providence. This is the only planetarium in Rhode Island and it features state-of-the-art star projection against an enlarged dome ceiling.

Less than 20 miles away, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island has an Environmental Education Center located in Bristol. It conducts guided tours, provides interactive exhibits, educational talks centered around ecosystem themes such as life in tidal pools, Narragansett Bay marine life, fresh and saltwater marshes and special request programs for families, schools, colleges and companies.

Both of these sites are available to the public and also cooperate with colleges and universities that offer Environmental or Ecological Studies to their students.

The University of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center in West Greenwich is a 2300- acre retreat site for the study of natural environment. Lakes, forests and farmland combine into one big backyard full of learning, adventure, exploring and fun. The 75-acre lake is just a small part of the Center. The Center includes hiking trails, streams, ponds and an historical farm with Native American shelter and living area.

These various learning experiences are just the tip of the iceberg for the educational opportunities to be found in Rhode Island. From universities and colleges to vocational and casual learning situations, a student or visitor can learn it in Rhode Island.