The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

by

Updated June 5, 2023

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

As a partner state in the New England Board of Higher Education, Rhode Island offers diverse educational opportunities for students.

Colleges in Rhode Island offer online degree options at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A bachelor's degree meets the educational requirement for many growing careers. For example, financial managers, public relations managers, software developers, and operations research analysts in Rhode Island all earn annual mean wages of over $100,000.

Many of Rhode Island's growing industries prefer to hire candidates with college degrees. Careers in biomedical sciences, business services, and tech often require a bachelor's degree or higher. The Ocean State also offers opportunities in marine ecology, maritime construction, and environmental preservation.

Rhode Island's online colleges offer many enrollment options, including synchronous and asynchronous courses, self-paced classes, and accelerated programs. Demand for online programs has increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and many students prefer the flexibility of online learning schedules. Rhode Islanders also benefit from in-state tuition discounts when enrolling at public colleges and universities in the state.

Our list ranks the best online colleges in Rhode Island. We only include regionally accredited schools in our ranking to ensure each school meets the highest standard for granting degrees. Prospective students can use the list to find the right fit for their budget, interests, and career goals.

Featured Online Schools

The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

#1 The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Roger Williams University

  • Bristol, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For many online degree-seekers, Roger Williams University is an attractive choice. Students who enroll at the private institution can choose from 20 online offerings at undergraduate and graduate levels. The school has a track record in academic success through online coursework.

The school hosts academic and career service specialists at its Bristol campus, which online learners can also take advantage of. Degree-seekers connect with academic advisors and participate in virtual job fairs and career-planning events. Students can also take advantage of internships to gain hands-on experience. Upon completing the program, the college gives graduates an accredited degree.

Further information about the application process and specifics of online programs is available by contacting the school.

Roger Williams University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 578

Online Bachelor's Programs: 10

Online Master's Programs: 2

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 18%

Admission Rate: 85%

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,789
Out-of-state
$32,789
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,768
Out-of-state
$15,768
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
4,838
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

  • Kingston, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Rhode Island is a leader in online education. The public institution offers six online programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school has a proven track record in online education and a reputation for strong academics, making it a popular choice for distance learners.

The academic and career advisors located at the Kingston campus are also available to assist online learners. Programs like academic advising and virtual job fairs help degree-seekers plan for their academic and professional futures. The school also helps facilitate internships to help students gain hands-on experience. Upon completing the program, the college gives graduates an accredited degree.

Additional information about how to apply and what programs are available can be obtained by contacting the school directly.

University of Rhode Island at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 3,960

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Online Master's Programs: 2

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 3%

Admission Rate: 75%

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,590
Out-of-state
$29,710
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,734
Out-of-state
$26,512
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
17,465
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Salve Regina University

  • Newport, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Salve Regina University offers online programming that ranks highly among similar programs. Remote degrees at graduate and undergraduate levels are available to enrollees at this private school. Many distance learners enroll here because the school has a strong academic reputation and experience in online education.

Online learners can also work with academic and career services professionals located at the Newport campus. Degree-seekers can get help planning their academic and professional futures with offerings such as academic advising and virtual career fairs. Internships are also available to students, helping them gain valuable field experience. The degree that graduates are awarded reflects the school's full accreditation.

Contact the school with any questions about what programs are available online and how to apply to them.

Salve Regina University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 612

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Online Master's Programs: 6

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 20%

Admission Rate: 74%

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$40,750
Out-of-state
$40,750
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,890
Out-of-state
$10,890
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
2,771
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

Johnson & Wales University-Online

  • Providence, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online

Johnson & Wales University-Online is a leader in online education. The private institution's 25 online degrees include offerings at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Many distance learners choose to study at this school because of its track record in online education and reputation for academic quality.

The academic and career advisors located at the Providence campus are also available to assist online learners. Degree-seekers can get help planning their academic and professional futures with offerings such as academic advising and virtual career fairs. Students also gain first-hand experience in their field through internships. The degree that graduates receive reflects the school's full accreditation.

Potential applicants can get in touch with the school for additional details about program availability and the application process.

Johnson & Wales University-Online at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: Data not available

Online Bachelor's Programs: 16

Online Master's Programs: 8

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 100%

Admission Rate: 41%

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,365
Out-of-state
$13,365
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,734
Out-of-state
$13,734
Retention Rate
25%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
1,752
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 The Best Online Colleges in Rhode Island

New England Institute of Technology

  • East Greenwich, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

New England Institute of Technology is one of the best options available to online degree-seekers. Students who wish to study remotely at this private school can choose from five online programs at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Distance learners appreciate the way the school brings its reputation for academic success to its online programming.

Online learners benefit from support by academic and career services offices at the school's East Greenwich campus. Degree-seekers can also connect with academic advisors and participate in virtual job fairs, helping set them up for scholastic and professional success. Students can take advantage of internships to gain hands-on experience. The program grants graduates an accredited degree upon completion.

Contact the school with any questions about what programs are available online and how to apply to them.

New England Institute of Technology at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 746

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Online Master's Programs: 3

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 9%

Admission Rate: 63%

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,100
Out-of-state
$29,100
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
2,516
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Rhode Island Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Employment in Rhode Island

Rhode Islanders benefit from above-average salaries and a strong economy. Rhode Island's major industries include biomedical sciences, cybersecurity and data analytics, maritime fields like shipbuilding and environmental preservation, and business services. Transportation and tourism also have strong growth projections.

Rhode Islanders earn salaries above the national average. The mean annual wage in Rhode Island exceeds $60,000, compared to the national mean of $56,310. As of Jan. 2021, the state's 7.2% unemployment rate slightly exceeds the national unemployment rate, and its 110.6 cost of living also exceeds the national average.

By earning a college degree, Rhode Islanders increase their career options and earning potential. More than 1 in 3 Rhode Islanders possess a bachelor's degree or higher, and many of the state's highest-paying and fastest-growing careers require a bachelor's-level education. As the data below show, several of Rhode Island's fastest-growing careers offer six-figure salaries.

The following information covers some of the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Rhode Island. Salary information applies specifically to Rhode Island, while job growth data pertains to the United States.

Top 10 Fastest-Growing, Highest-Paying Careers in Rhode Island
Career Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Annual Mean Salary (2020) Education Required
Medical and Health Services Managers 32% $130,620 Bachelor's
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers 22% $108,060 Bachelor's
Financial Managers 15% $169,070 Bachelor's
Management Analysts 11% $93,980 Bachelor's
Computer and Information Systems Managers 10% $156,980 Bachelor's
Computer Systems Analysts 7% $99,010 Bachelor's
Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists, All Other 6% $88,110 Bachelor's
Financial and Investment Analysts, Financial Risk Specialists, and Financial Specialists, All Other 5% $88,930 Bachelor's
General and Operations Managers 4% $155,290 Bachelor's
Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric 4% $206,670 Doctoral
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Associate Degrees in Rhode Island

Many Rhode Island colleges also offer online associate degrees. An associate degree offers foundational training in business, technology, the liberal arts, and engineering. The Community College of Rhode Island offers online courses at a significant discount compared to four-year tuition rates.

After completing associate degrees, graduates can enter the workforce in fields like allied healthcare, applied technology, or other vocational fields. A transfer-ready associate degree often meets the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree. With an associate degree, students can transfer into four-year colleges and complete bachelor's degree in about two years.

Online Graduate Degrees in Rhode Island

Rhode Island's universities offer many online graduate programs in diverse disciplines. For example, graduate students can earn an online master's in healthcare management or an online master's in library and information studies from the University of Rhode Island. Roger Williams University offers online graduate degrees in subjects like criminal justice, public administration, and cybersecurity. These programs prepare graduates for careers in growing industries in Rhode Island.

Online programs appeal to working professionals seeking career advancement or to transition into a new career. The flexible schedule of an online program makes it easier to work while completing graduate courses. Many online programs accept transfer credits, which can shorten the degree timeline and save students money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Most Popular Online College in Rhode Island?

Roger Williams University, the University of Rhode Island, and Johnson & Wales University rank among the most popular online colleges in Rhode Island.

Is Online College Cheaper in Rhode Island?

An online enrollment status can save students money. In addition to potential tuition discounts, distance learners can save on transportation, living expenses, and other costs. However, online programs can also include additional fees, so it's good to do your own research before enrolling.

What Is the Most Popular Degree in Rhode Island?

The most popular degrees in Rhode Island include business, healthcare, education, and the liberal arts. Many online colleges in Rhode Island offer fully online degrees in these areas.

Can You Get a College Degree Completely Online?

Yes. Many colleges and universities offer fully online programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels across a variety of fields.

Do Employers Care if You Have an Online Degree?

An online degree from an accredited college meets the same educational standards as an in-person degree. Often, the degree iself won't even say that it was earned online. As a result, employers will hire candidates with online degrees.

Learn more, do more.

More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office