The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that would tie some funding for public colleges and universities to their performance. Supporters say the aim is to increase timely graduation rates, and the number of students in high demand fields.
The new legislation would create a set a unique set of standards for the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island, to reach those goals. Supporters say the bill would shrink the skills gap, by getting students into the workforce quicker with the appropriate education.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed introduced the legislation, and said it will also relieve some of the debt burden for graduates.
"One of the things that on-time degree completion will do is reduce student debt," said Paiva Weed. "Spending five years in four year program actually adds 25 percent to the cost of college."
Paiva Weed points out that schools that do not meet the standards will still receive money, provided it is used to reach the new goals. Critics worry, the standards won’t take individual student circumstances into account.
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