Online Schools and Colleges in Rhode Island

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

Rhode Island is home to 12 prestigious learning institutions, some of which offer excellent opportunities for online learning. The state is home to an Ivy League institution, one of the nation’s most prestigious design schools, many private and public colleges, a two-year community college and two specialty schools, one of which focuses on the culinary arts. Online schools in Rhode Island offer a variety of courses, certifications and degrees, giving students of all educational levels a program that meets their needs. All 12 post-secondary learning institutions in Rhode Island are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Learning opportunities at the K-12 level are also available in Rhode Island, though the state still lags behind most others when it comes to online learning for this group of students.

Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island 2020

Best Online Schools

Online schools and colleges in Rhode Island allow students to earn a degree and advance their career in a flexible and accessible format. Graduates with a bachelor's degree from the top universities in Rhode Island earn a median early career salary of $50,000-$70,000 per year.

This guide covers important information for students considering online schools and colleges in Rhode Island, including programs and resources for adult learners, cost considerations, and financial aid opportunities.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
Save this list:
1 Salve Regina University Newport, RI Tuition $37,270 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 68% Graduation Rate 68% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Salve Regina University provides 6 entirely-online master's degree programs, and an online PhD program in international relations. Students can earn a master's degree in healthcare administration and management, international relations, administration of justice and homeland security, innovation and strategic management, business administration or humanities. One format that classes follow is a 7-week interactive course, where student participation is asynchronous. Salve Regina accepts international students into online degree programs. Tuition is based on the level of degree program a student selects.

2 Johnson & Wales University-Providence Providence, RI Tuition $30,396 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 88% Graduation Rate 55% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Johnson & Wales University-Providence offers a wide range of online degree programs, including 27 bachelor's degrees, 23 master's degrees and 2 doctoral degrees. Undergraduate programs can be completed in 2-4 years, while master's programs can be completed in 2 years. JWD focuses their online bachelor's degrees on hospitality and service-industry careers such as baking or culinary arts and food service management, food and beverage entrepreneurship, hospitality management, restaurant management, hotel and lodging management, and residential hospitality management. Online program tuition costs vary by degree level. vary by degree level.

3 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI Tuition $29,976 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 64% Financial Aid 92% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Students seeking an online master's degree can find several options at Roger Williams University. This college offers master's degree programs in criminal justice, leadership, public administration and cybersecurity. Degree programs take 16 weeks to 2 years to complete, and RWU's cybersecurity master's degree requires students to commit to meeting continuing education requirements. RWU charges a set rate for each 3 credits in which a student enrolls and accepts transfer credit from other colleges, previous certifications and life experience.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
Save this list:
1 Salve Regina University Newport, RI Tuition $37,270 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 68% Graduation Rate 68% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Salve Regina University provides 6 entirely-online master's degree programs, and an online PhD program in international relations. Students can earn a master's degree in healthcare administration and management, international relations, administration of justice and homeland security, innovation and strategic management, business administration or humanities. One format that classes follow is a 7-week interactive course, where student participation is asynchronous. Salve Regina accepts international students into online degree programs. Tuition is based on the level of degree program a student selects.

2 Johnson & Wales University-Providence Providence, RI Tuition $30,396 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 88% Graduation Rate 55% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Johnson & Wales University-Providence offers a wide range of online degree programs, including 27 bachelor's degrees, 23 master's degrees and 2 doctoral degrees. Undergraduate programs can be completed in 2-4 years, while master's programs can be completed in 2 years. JWD focuses their online bachelor's degrees on hospitality and service-industry careers such as baking or culinary arts and food service management, food and beverage entrepreneurship, hospitality management, restaurant management, hotel and lodging management, and residential hospitality management. Online program tuition costs vary by degree level. vary by degree level.

3 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI Tuition $29,976 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 64% Financial Aid 92% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Students seeking an online master's degree can find several options at Roger Williams University. This college offers master's degree programs in criminal justice, leadership, public administration and cybersecurity. Degree programs take 16 weeks to 2 years to complete, and RWU's cybersecurity master's degree requires students to commit to meeting continuing education requirements. RWU charges a set rate for each 3 credits in which a student enrolls and accepts transfer credit from other colleges, previous certifications and life experience.

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Rhode Island?

Prospective online students in Rhode Island can choose from many schools and programs, which may feel overwhelming. Students can help narrow their search by consulting this list of Rhode Island institutions or reviewing the following resource.

How Much More Do College Grads in Rhode Island Make?

Postsecondary degrees offer many benefits, including higher salaries. PayScale reports that the median early career salary for bachelor's degree-holders at the top universities in Rhode Island ranges from $50,000-$70,000.

No degree can guarantee a particular salary, but the data below indicates that professionals with advanced degrees typically earn more than professionals with lower or no degrees.

Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in Rhode Island: Tuition and Financial Aid

Online schools and colleges in Rhode Island feature some of the highest tuition rates in the country. However, distance learners can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities to help offset the costs of tuition.

The following tables compare the average Rhode Island undergraduate tuition rates to national averages.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$7,924 $20,061

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$40,361 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Rhode Island

The tables above do not include education expenses like room and board or online fees. We cover several important cost considerations beyond tuition for online students below.

Textbook Expenses: Online students may need to purchase digital or physical textbooks and other learning materials.
Technology Fees: Some universities charge a technology fee to online students. Students typically pay this fee once per semester to cover the cost of online course administration.
Flat Online Fees: Separate from technology fees, online students may need to pay a one-time online fee. Schools usually require learners to pay this fee with the first tuition payment.
In-State Tuition Discounts: Some online programs allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates, while others offer tuition discounts to in-state students.
Travel Expenses: Depending on the program, online learners may need to fulfill on-campus requirements, which may include airfare and lodging expenses.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Rhode Island

Rhode Island participates in the New England Board of Higher Education Regional Student Program reciprocity agreement, which allows some out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates. Students can check the Regional Student Program website to learn whether they live in a qualifying state or attend a qualifying university.

Additionally, some schools allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency. Students should research the residency requirements at each prospective school.

Paying for College in Rhode Island: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Online students in Rhode Island can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities, including loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for Rhode Island students below.

Scholarships for Rhode Island College Students

NEEBC Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be attending an accredited program and demonstrate interest in the employee benefits field through their program or experience.

Amount: $5,000

Apply For Scholarship

NIADA Regional Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students with leadership experience, high academic achievement, and a commitment to community involvement qualify for this opportunity.

Amount: $3,500

Apply For Scholarship

First Generation Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports first-generation college students attending a four-year or two-year postsecondary institution. Applicants must be Rhode Island high school seniors with financial need. This scholarship is renewable.

Amount: $1,000-$1,500

Apply For Scholarship

Carter Roger Williams Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Rhode Island high school seniors accepted into an accredited university may apply for this scholarship. The committee looks for candidates who understand and embody the Roger Williams legacy.

Amount: Up to $20,000

Apply For Scholarship

Martin Luther King Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship benefits African American residents of Rhode Island. Applicants must enroll in an accredited college or technical school. The committee only considers students with financial need.

Amount: Amount varies

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Rhode Island College Students

Federal Pell Grant

Who Can Apply: The federal government provides this grant to students with demonstrable financial need. Applicants must fill out the FAFSA. Students can reapply for this grant each academic year.

Amount: Amount varies

Apply For Grant

Academic Competitiveness Grant

Who Can Apply: This grant supports first- and second-year students enrolled in postsecondary institutions across the country. Students need high academic achievement and demonstrable financial need.

Amount: Amount varies

Apply For Grant

National SMART Grant

Who Can Apply: The SMART Grant applies to third- and fourth-year students studying math, science, or an eligible foreign language. Students must demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Amount: Up to $4,000

Apply For Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Who Can Apply: The federal government partners with universities to award FSEOG grants for students with demonstrable financial need. Colleges determine the awardees for this grant.

Amount: $100-$4,000

Apply For Grant

TEACH Grant

Who Can Apply: Candidates must commit to teaching in a low-income elementary, middle, or secondary school for at least four years after graduation.

Amount: Maximum of $4,000

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Rhode Island

Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards with respect to student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic rigor. Attending an accredited school expands financial aid, education, and employment opportunities. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting bodies.

Regional and National Accreditation

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit vocational and technical schools, while regional accreditation applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Various regional accrediting bodies accredit schools based on the school's location. The New England Commission of Higher Education accredits Rhode Island schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Certain programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, social work, and nursing programs. Some professions, like nursing, require candidates to hold a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Most schools and programs feature accreditation information on their websites. Students can verify the accreditation status of any school or program through the Department of Education database or the CHEA official directory.

Online College and Adult Education in Rhode Island

Adult learners in Rhode Island can take advantage of many programs and resources to support their studies. We cover several of these opportunities and resources below.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Rhode Island

About 13% of Rhode Island students took at least one online class in 2015.

National online student enrollment increased by 4.4% between 2012 and 2015.

About 10% of Rhode Island graduate students took at least one online course in 2015.

Source: Online Learning Survey

Adult Education Programs for Rhode Island Students

  • Adult Education and GED: This initiative from the Rhode Island state government helps learners find GED programs, understand equivalency regulations, and locate testing centers.
  • Intensive English U.S.A.: Intensive English Programs (IEPs) help students learn English to prepare for postsecondary education and workforce training. This initiative increases access to IEPs.
  • College Access Challenge Grant Program: This federal program matches grant funds for students with financial need, increasing access to postsecondary education.

Online College Resources for Rhode Island Students

Current and prospective students in Rhode Island can take advantage of many resources to support their studies. The following resources offer information on topics like financial aid opportunities, program availability, and career planning for Rhode Island students.

  • Rhode Island Department of Education: This website offers links to government resources and initiatives, a database of Rhode Island colleges, and state-sponsored financial aid opportunities.
  • The CollegeBoard Financial Planning: This website helps students choose a tuition plan that suits their needs. Students can find information on savings plans, cost factors, and financial aid options.
  • Rhode Island Student Loan Authority: This site allows students to search for scholarships, find college planning assistance, access college essay reviews, and receive financial aid guidance.
  • Federal Student Aid: Students can use this website to search for scholarship and grant opportunities and learn about federal student loans.
  • BigFuture: This website features a college search engine, financial planning and financial aid advice, and helpful tips for first-time college applicants.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in Rhode Island

State
Degree Level
School Type
Environment