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Roger Williams University is addressing the critical issues of cost, debt and jobs head on. In the fall of 2012, we formally announced the Affordable Excellence initiative and invited the University community to engage in a comprehensive discussion of these issues and how we at RWU can address them for and with our students.

We have already made progress, determining how we can best build upon our solid academic foundation and expand our “value proposition” to students in all disciplines through an even wider series of offerings in project-based and hands-on learning, accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree options, internships, externships, community service opportunities, student/faculty research, career planning and financial advisement.

In just one year, people have noticed. Here's U.S. Senator Jack Reed's take, as stated in a news conference announcing an $861K federal grant to help the Town of Bristol turn its Naval Armory into a maritime center -- a project in which students and faculty at the Community Partnerships Center played a key role.

“[At] Roger Williams University… President Farish has committed himself not only to this particular community, but also to making college affordable and making the experience very practical – that students will not graduate from Roger Williams without being engaged in a real world project that helps make things happen.”

Here are some more details on our approach.

Access and Affordability

Building upon our successful enrollment strategies, we are increasing access and recruiting an increasingly diverse population of students who will thrive and prosper on our campus – and who will graduate with solid offers for employment and graduate education.

We have identified and are implementing processes that will make our high-value educational experience more affordable to a larger cohort of qualified students:

  • The first step to address affordability and access began with the decision to eliminate the standardized test score requirement for admission, focusing on a more holistic approach to recruiting and accepting those students who demonstrate the potential to succeed at RWU through qualities beyond those measured through test scores, class rank and high school GPA alone (for details see TEST OPTIONAL)
  • This was followed by the decision of the University’s Board of Trustees to FREEZE tuition for all currently enrolled full-time, undergraduate, day students at the 2012-13 level, and GUARANTEE that rate for those students who remain continuously enrolled, full-time over the next one, two or three years, depending on their current class level. Tuition for full-time, undergraduate, day students entering in fall 2014 will also be frozen at the 2012-13 level, and will be guaranteed for all who are continuously enrolled for four years (for details see TUITION FREEZE)

Our Value Proposition

At RWU we are building upon and expanding our value proposition, providing a relevant educational experience that affords students many opportunities to gain experience in both the liberal arts and professional programs, resulting in a more employable graduate by:

  • Offering an increasing number of opportunities for students to major and minor in a combination of liberal arts and professional programs that enhance one another (we are uniquely positioned to provide this blended education because of our established, highly regarded professional schools and strong liberal arts programs)
  • Providing significant, structured, rigorous and relevant opportunities for students to participate in hands-on and project-based learning in non-profit and for-profit organizations in the local community, across the state and the nation
  • Connecting with students early and often — beginning in the freshman year — to provide robust and relevant academic and career advising services with the goal of preparing students to enter the professional or post-graduate world with the skills and experience beyond the traditional offerings of most colleges and universities
  • Extending Living Learning Communities to more than 50% of the freshman class each year - giving students unprecedented access to faculty mentors, creating a smaller community within the University and built-in study groups, all while forging instant bonds to classmates
  • Serving more freshmen than ever before through the Roger Williams University Experience (RWU XP) in an effort to ease the transition from high school to college. Each session of the 10-week course tackles different subjects ranging from financial literacy and campus involvement to team building and preparation for academic advising
  • Introducing state-of-the-art technology through a partnership with Samsung which will reduce costs for students and the University, boost computing capacity across campus and allow computer labs to become collaborative learning spaces. This fall, rCloud makes its debut, as Samsung computing studio spaces and labs in the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation and the School of Continuing Studies open their doors, bringing enhanced hardware and software, cost savings all around and a more collaborative student experience
  • Maintaining our status as an undergraduate-focused university. This point cannot be stressed enough. Roger Williams University is an undergraduate-focused institution. You will never find a teaching assistant in our classrooms, in our labs or in our discussion groups. Faculty members are in the classroom teaching from the most basic introductory class to the senior level thesis