Rhode Island’s Council on Higher Education wants to freeze tuition at state colleges and universities for the upcoming academic year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with State Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell to ask about the cost of a college degree.
Purcell is urging lawmakers to increase state funding for public colleges, in part to make up for the tuition freeze. He points out the low rates of state funding for higher education have contributed to Rhode Island's high tuition rates. The state is home to some of the most expensive public colleges in the country, although tuition and fees are close to the average in the region.
“The New England states have always been a high tuition state,” said Purcell. “I think what we have to think about is how are we going to build our economy and do it in a way that really opens access to all our citizens, and in order to that we really have to have affordability on our college campuses.”
Purcell says public colleges can and should explore cost savings, but he adds that measures like increasing class size must be considered carefully.
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