SOUTH KINGSTOWN--Possible tuition increases await URI students if the university's requested operational budget is not approved. Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee will make a recommendation for funding either next month or at the beginning of February.
How can stakeholders (taxpayers, citizens, university students and parents) ensure that the budget recommendation of 71 million dollars for the next fiscal year is passed?
Vice President for Administration and Finance Robert Weygand, who is also a former Congressman said, "That is a lobbying effort. Such efforts are part of being in a country with a representative government. For decisions on the budget, like any other issue, people should talk to individuals who make the decisions," Weygand said.
On Nov. 2 Rhode Islanders approved the $61 million referendum allocating funds to URI, the largest employer in South Kingstown and South County. The money will fund the construction of the university's new Chemistry facility (the previous one was built during the Depression.) But physical development does not mean funds to make attending college more affordable in a state hit hard by the recession. Currently, the state’s unemployment rate is 11.4 percent and it has the highest home foreclosure rate in New England.