University of Rhode Island receives national recognition

Distinguished rankings include top scholarship recipients, graduation rates

Media Contact: Tracey Manni, 401-874-2145 |

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 14, 2019 — Several national organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, Business Insider, and the National Security Education Program, have recently recognized the University of Rhode Island for excellence in a variety of areas.

11th for Hollings Scholarships
URI ranks 11th in the nation for the total number of URI students selected to receive NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships, the most prestigious scholarship awarded to undergraduates studying marine sciences. Since 2009, 25 Hollings Scholarships have been awarded to URI students. The award provides selected students with a total of $19,000 toward tuition for their final two years of undergraduate study plus a paid, 10-week summer internship at a NOAA laboratory. More than 370 colleges were reviewed for this ranking.

“URI’s consistently strong performance in the NOAA Hollings Scholarship competition speaks to the strengths of our environmental and marine-focused programs and to the caliber of students in those programs,” said Kathleen Maher, director of URI’s Office of National Fellowships and Academic Opportunities.

Top five for retention and degree completion
The Washington, D.C.-based APLU named URI one of the top five universities in the nation for its innovative approach to increasing retention and degree completion. “It’s not enough to just help more students access college. We have to help more students graduate,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “That’s why we’re spotlighting five innovative public universities that have made exemplary strides in the number and share of their students completing degrees.”

According to URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald H. DeHayes, the University’s strategies for increasing degree completion involve a new financial aid model, new curriculum pathway maps, careful monitoring of semester credit completion rates, investing in new professional academic advisors and establishing an early-alert system to help identify students who are struggling.

“The University of Rhode Island is a dynamic institution, and we are thrilled to receive honors that reflect our commitments to our students,” DeHayes said.

10th fastest accelerated MBA program
MBA Central placed URI’s accelerated MBA program 10th in its recent Top 50 Fastest Accelerated MBA Degree Programs ranking. The programs considered for the ranking were those that could be completed in one year or less. “This quick completion time allows participants to focus in, finish their degree, and enjoy the benefits, all in a very fast paced and driven environment,” according to MBA Central’s ranking methodology website.

Top 50 underrated schools in America
Business Insider included URI in its ranking of the top 50 most underrated schools in America based on the school’s reputation and future earnings of its students. Business Insider determined the ranking by analyzing lists of Best Universities and Best Liberal Arts Colleges from US News & World Report’s annual college ranking, and analyzed median earnings for students from each school.

Internet security program ranked in top 28
Business Insider also included URI’s master’s in internet security program in its top 28 program ratings for 2019. The ranking methodology used by included data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and from the National Center for Education Statistics.

5th in the nation for Boren Scholars
URI was tied for 5th in the nation for the number of Boren Scholarship recipients awarded last year, with five scholars receiving the award in 2018. The David L. Boren Scholarship is one of the most prestigious study abroad awards offered to American college students. The National Security Education Program, a federal initiative to expand the pool of American citizens with foreign language and international skills, sponsors the scholarship. In exchange for funding, recipients agree to work for the federal government for at least one year.

URI’s success rate over the last decade is much higher than the national average, according to Maher.

Biotech program ranked 4th nationally
The University of Rhode Island’s program in biotechnology has been ranked fourth best in the nation by College Choice, an online resource for students selecting a college to attend. URI’s program was the highest ranked biotechnology program in New England. The ranking, which was announced in December, is based on program quality, affordability, value, reputation and satisfaction, and it factors in the rankings by U.S. News and World Report and statistics at

“We’re so pleased that our biotechnology program has been recognized by College Choice,” said Ed Bozzi, the URI clinical professor who directs the program. “We know our program is pretty special. We stress lab skills and lab knowledge, and our labs are equipped to mimic those in major industry facilities. Our internship placement rate is practically 100 percent. And our students compete very successfully with students from every other university in the country.”

21st for producing Peace Corps volunteers
URI ranked 21st in the nation among medium size schools on the Peace Corps’ 2018 Top Volunteer-producing Colleges list. In 2016, URI established the Peace Corps Prep Program to give students a competitive edge when applying for the Peace Corps upon graduation. Students take a combination of classes specializing in a Peace Corps work sector, like agriculture, health or education, and develop foreign language skills, leadership and enhanced intercultural competence.

URI designated New England’s only Green Ribbon college or university
The U.S. Secretary of Education named URI a 2018 Green Ribbon School, presenting the University with its Postsecondary Sustainability Award. URI is the only school in New England to be selected for this honor. The award recognizes institutions that embrace sustainability as a multi-dimensional value. URI has 11 facilities cited by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Environmental Education and Design (LEED), and for eight consecutive years the Princeton Review has named URI among the nation’s greenest colleges.