Senator Glenford J. Shibley, R-Dist. 33, has written Board of Governors for Higher Education Chairman Lorne Adrain expressing his deep concern about two decisions the Board of Governors recently made.
“As a member of the Senate Education Committee and as the Senator for Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick and West Warwick, I am extraordinarily distressed to learn of the tuition rate hikes the board approved for in-state students at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island,” Shibley said.
Shibley, a 1973 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, said he was particularly troubled that the board approved a 9.5 percent increase for URI’s in-state students on the heels of granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.
“It is incumbent on the board to go back to the governor and request additional funding to mitigate or eliminate these staggering rate hikes. URI, being a state-funded university, should be just that – state funded. In this economic climate, it is unconscionable to ask our residents to pay ever-increasing tuition to attend their state colleges and university,” Shibley said in a statement.
The senator said he takes offense to the Board’s decision to grant undocumented students in-state tuition rates while charging legal U.S. citizens from other states more than double that rate. The board’s decision to eliminate public hearings on this issue by circumventing the General Assembly, he said, is entirely inappropriate.
“If the Board of Governors is in need of a common-sense consultant, I’m happy to offer my services free of charge,” Shibley said.
The tuition hike decision and the decision to allow undocumented students to pay in-state rates do nothing but create obstacles for Rhode Island residents who wish to attend any of the state’s three public institutions, Shibley said.
“We’re trying to get our young people to go to college, not find ways to make it more difficult to do so,” Shibley said.
Shibley added he is concerned that these two decisions could negatively affect alumni giving, both in and out of state, further harming the school’s revenue stream.
Shibley urged the Board to revisit both these decisions to keep access to higher learning both fair and affordable for Rhode Island residents. He also asked the board to take a close look at the processes they have been using to make such important decisions to ensure they are making the best possible use of their organizational structure.