URI announces third consecutive tuition increase, students weigh in

The University of Rhode Island has announced a tuition increase for the 2024-25 academic year, which marks the third consecutive year of a cost increase, and generates questions arising from the student body.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved of the proposal on Feb. 16, according to the Rhode Island Current . The proposal consists of a 3.3% increase for in-state students and 3.8% for out-of-state students. Dawn Bergantino, a spokesperson for the University provided a statement via email, justifying the board’s rationale.

“Our goal is to ensure a URI education is always within reach for students across the Ocean State,” Bergantino said. “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.”

URI currently is the second-most inexpensive option for students pursuing a degree at New England public universities, meaning it is more affordable than schools such as the University of Connecticut, University of Vermont and University of New Hampshire, according to WPRI. The University of Maine holds the title of most inexpensive.

While URI has not issued an official statement to students regarding the recent approval, URI President Marc Parlange had the opportunity to speak at the Feb. 16 meeting in which the proposal was approved, where he mentioned the importance of state-level financial support.

“I am asking the state for help,” Parlange said, “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. Otherwise, we continue down this path that the University of Rhode Island has been operating now for decades.”

With an increase in fees, there has been apparent backlash from URI students, 50% of whom are from out-of-state, according to the URI Admissions website . Many students wonder if they will actually feel the quality of life on campus improve.

“First of all, my thoughts are why?” second-year marine biology student Arthur Galt said. “I was honestly thinking for a while that I wish [the University] would be more transparent about where our tuition goes. They give me these chunks of sums on my bill and a big chunk is tuition. I feel like if I’m participating in this institution I’d like to know where it’s going.”

Galt wasn’t alone in his curiosity, as other students pegged the question: where will students see the effect of an increase in tuition on campus?

“I just want to know what is being added to our college that is going to affect us,” second-year textiles, fashion merchandising and design student Kiara Reyes said. “3% between all of the students is a lot…Where is our money going, what is it being used for?”

It is also evident that the rise of tuition directly impacts student’s mental and emotional health. About 54% of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree take out loans, according to research from USA Today .

“I’ve been lucky enough to have already been working and saving,” third-year film student Athena Stamatopoulos said. “For me I’ve had to take out less loans, but I know that the day is coming that I’m going to have to take out a lot of loans to cover this. I’m already anticipating the fact that I may not necessarily have to work directly out of school.”

URI has yet to release an official statement to students regarding the matter, but the new tuition prices are expected to soon be reflected on the URI Admissions website.