Report: State funding for RI colleges up 10.8% since 2010

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island has upped funding for its three public colleges 10.8% since 2010, the second-largest increase in New England, according to a report released Monday by Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).

State funding for the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island jumped to $176.9 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year, up from $160.6 million five years ago.

Among New England states, only Massachusetts posted a larger increase, with state funding spiking by 49.5% over the last five years. Vermont and New Hampshire are two of only nine states nationwide that have cut state aid since 2010. All told, states have increased funding for higher education 9.6% to $81 billion during that period.

The annual survey on higher education funding, known as the Grapevine report, is published by Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy in cooperation with the SHEEO.

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee considered expanded funding for education – including the state colleges – one of his crowning achievements during his one term in office between 2011 and 2014. He regularly highlighted his efforts to restore cuts in higher education funding made under his predecessor, former Gov. Don Carcieri, as well as a three-year tuition freeze at each school.

“I had limited success, but this is one where I had full success,” Chafee told WPRI.com last July.

In December, the state Board of Education said it would ask new Gov. Gina Raimondo to raise tuition and fees for in-state students by 2.8% at URI, 7.8% at RIC and 8% at CCRI, according to a report in The Providence Journal.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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