graduateshotline logo
Last Updated: September 19, 2021

Rhode Island - The Ocean State

Being the smallest state in the US, Rhode Island has a pretty dense population of about 1 million. The city of Providence is the capital of the state. The state was initially known as 'Roodt Eylandt', named by Adrian Block who was a Dutch explorer. The name meant red island representing the red hue of the state's soil. With the colonization of the state by the British, it was renamed Rhode Island.

Due to the excessively long coastline (more than 400 miles), the state got its popular nickname "The Ocean State". Other nicknames include 'Little Rhody' and 'The Smallest State'. Out of the thirteen colonies, Rhode Island was the first state to declare its independence from British rule. Rhode Island experiences a mildly humid climate most of the time, with the only exception being during winters (which are usually cold). The state is home to some of the best institutes of higher learning such as Brown University, and the University of Rhode Island.

Major Cities in Rhode Island


Providence is the largest city in the tiny state of Rhode Island with a population of about 180,000. It is one of the oldest cities in America, as it was founded in the year 1636. The city was founded by a Puritan clergyman named Roger Williams. Providence is a major educational hub that houses major institutions such as Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Providence College. The cost of living as well as pursuing education is comparatively higher than the national average. There are numerous attractions in this city like Roger Williams Park Zoo, The Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design RISD, The Providence Performing Arts Center, WaterFire, The Providence Athenaeum, etc.


Cranston is the second-biggest city of Rhode Island with an estimated population of 82,000. This city is known for its beauty and numerous landscapes. Even though the cost of living is higher than the national average, it is considered one of the safest cities to live in. Initially a native settlement of the Narragansett Indians, the place was later colonized by the English and renamed Cranston. It was established as a city in the year 1910. Popular sites include Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, Crescent Park Carousel, Cranston Public Library, Central Library, Pawtuxet Village, John L. Curran State Park, Meshanticut Park, and so on.


Warwick is the third-biggest city with a population of around 80,000. The city is well known for its rich history, especially during the Revolutionary War. It was founded in 1642 and was named after the 2nd Earl of Warwick, Robert Rich. Warwick is a major manufacturing hub and offers several job opportunities. The top companies in the city are Kent Hospital, J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, Kenney Manufacturing, and AstroNova. Popular destinations include Goddard State Park, Oakland Beach, Rocky Point Blueberry Farm, Warwick Public Library, and more.


With a population of about 72,000, Pawtucket is the fourth major city in Rhode Island. It was a largely industrialized city with various mills and had a flourishing textile industry as well. The place was founded in the year 1671. The city is currently a major manufacturing center, and many large companies like Hasbro, Inc., Collette, Tunstall Americas, Pet Food Experts, and Teknor Apex are headquartered here. Major tourist attractions in the city are Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark, Slater Memorial Park, Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, Pawtucket Falls, and Breaktime Bowl and Bar.

Economy/Job Market

Tuition Fee and Living Cost in Rhode Island

The cost of living in the Ocean State is comparatively higher than the national average. Housing costs, food, and utility costs are the highest, whereas healthcare services are the lowest when compared to the nation's average. The median household income in the state is about $68,000. The cost of pursuing an educational career is also costlier than the national average.

The average fee in a private institution is about $53,000 to $54,000, and the average fee in a public institute is around $27,000 (out-of-state). Considering the average fee of the institutions, if we compare the costs with that of Brown University (Providence), it is a much higher rate of around $62,000. Students planning to study here must be sure about their financial status or reach out for financial aid from their respective universities, or the websites of the specific scholarship program.

List of Few Major Universities/Colleges

Some of the top institutes of higher learning in the state are:

Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students

Scholarship programs and grants play a significant role in making education a burden-free experience. It is a great tool for deserving students who cannot afford quality education in a reputed institute. These programs can be categorized in several ways, based on merit, financial need, race, gender, major, and so on. Considering the high cost of living in Rhode Island as well as higher costs in educational institutions compared to the national average, scholarships are a necessity. However, due to the small size and lack of adequate funding, Rhode Island does not have many grant programs compared to other states. Despite this issue, several private organizations provide financial aid. All students must complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for any such program.


The Ocean State is not only known for being a small state with a rich history, but is also popular for its vibrant cities, beautiful, sunny beaches, and refreshing parks. It is also ideal to visit the state between May and October and experience the pleasant and warm weather. Major tourist attractions of the state are Roger Williams Park Zoo, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Cliff Walk, WaterFire Providence, Bellevue Avenue Mansions, Fort Adams State Park, Narragansett Bay Beaches, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, and more. The state is also popular for its wide range of seafood, with clams being the most sought-after food (eg. clam cakes and fried clam). Some of the best delicacies to be tried out in this state are calamari, lobster ravioli, zeppole, stuffies, and clam chowder.

Universities & Colleges in Rhode Island

University (city) Total StudentsUG (in) / UG (out)G (in) / G (out)
Brown University (Providence) 10760$61681 / $61681$61681 / $61681
University of Rhode Island (Kingston) 20628$15681 / $33454$16727 / $30318
Rhode Island School of Design (Providence) 2542$55408 / $55408$55408 / $55408
New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich) 3609$32408 / $32408$15681 / $15681
Rhode Island College (Providence) 9500$10454 / $25090$9409 / $16727
Roger Williams University School of Law (Bristol) 370$N/A / $N/A$N/A / $N/A
Providence College (Providence) 4562$48090 / $48090$9409 / $9409
Bryant University (Smithfield) 3670$41817 / $41817$28227 / $28227
Johnson & Wales University-Providence (Providence) 9454$31363 / $31363$12545 / $12545
Roger Williams University (Bristol) 5411$37636 / $37636$17772 / $17772
Salve Regina University (Newport) 2886$43908 / $43908$12545 / $12545

*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
- Recommended program (Top 250)