Rhode Island’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Rhode Island

Of the three public schools, the University of Rhode Island is the largest, having more than 15,000 students in attendance. The main campus is located in Kingston, and the tuition rate is $14,000. The most prestigious school in the state is Brown University, a private Ivy League institution located in Providence. Over 9,000 students study on this campus in fields like biophysics, ethnic studies, and public health. Tuition is more expensive at about $55,000, but the school boasts a 96% graduation rate.

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Of the eight private schools, two are religiously affiliated. Both Salve Regina University and Providence College have under 5,000 students, though the tuition fees are more expensive at $40,000 and $51,000, respectively. Whether you seek an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Rhode Island also offers a unique opportunity for graduates. As a financial incentive to pursue a career or start a business in Rhode Island in the technology, engineering, design, or other sectors, the Wavemaker Fellowship program defrays student loan payments for up to four years.

Rhode Island is the smallest U.S. state, but it has more than 400 miles of coastline, giving it the nickname The Ocean State. With sandy beaches and colonial towns, this state offers relaxation and history. Rhode Island also has 11 public and private higher education institutions with an average tuition of just over $12,000.

Meet your academic goals at one of the higher learning centers in Rhode Island. Check out the top programs to see which school fits your needs.


What are Rhode Island’s Colleges & Universities?

Rhode Island’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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How do we determine Rhode Island's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 6 private universities in Rhode Island; all of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best private schools in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%. The top 3 surpass a 75% graduation rate.

5 Best Colleges & Universities in Rhode Island

  1. #1

    Brown University

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    What is Brown University known for?

    Brown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/29

    What is Rhode Island School of Design known for?

    Rhode Island School of Design’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Business
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Providence College

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/29

    What is Providence College known for?

    Providence College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    REQUEST INFO
  4. Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Roger Williams University known for?

    Roger Williams University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Bryant University

    Smithfield , RI

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Bryant University known for?

    Bryant University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    REQUEST INFO
  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Salve Regina University known for?

    Salve Regina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

Find Rhode Island’s best private school for your interest


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