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Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, the four-year colleges in Rhode Island include 2 public and 11 private non-profit options.


    For the 2022-23 school year, the average in-state tuition for public four-year colleges in Rhode Island is $14,572, according to College Board.


    In the U.S., full-time undergraduate students attending college in 2021-22 received an average of $15,330 per year in financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar colleges in Rhode Island. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) — this  organization examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of postsecondary education programs in the northeastern United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the resources and services provided for on-campus students. Then, we used this information to calculate the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Colleges in Rhode Island

Best Colleges In Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Rhode Island

When choosing a college and degree program, you should consider how the degree will be useful in the future job market. As of May 2022, the five largest industries in Rhode Island are office and administrative support occupations, food preparation and serving, sales, business and financial operations, and healthcare practitioners.

Also, the fastest-growing occupations in the state that require a bachelor’s degree are materials engineers, religious workers, data scientists, information security analysts, and logisticians.

For an even better sense of the job opportunities that are available in Rhode Island, here are a few of the organizations that rank among the state’s largest employers: Lifespan Finance, Brown University, General Dymanics, CVS, and Miriam Hospital.

What’s Next?

While researching Rhode Island’s colleges, make sure you understand what financial aid is available. Here are some state and federal resources that can help you with finding and applying for grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities:

  • Rhode Island Foundation: This organization offers a variety of scholarships for Rhode Island college students.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, FAFSA is the main form students use to apply for financial aid for college. To determine if you’re eligible for aid, submit a completed FAFSA form online.
  • CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder. This tool will show you available scholarships, grants, and loans and can be filtered by state and degree type. It includes information such as dollar amounts, how to apply, qualifications, deadlines, and contact details.

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