Rhode Island Governor Proposes Two Years of Free College

on January 17, 2017

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo has proposed making two years of college free to all Rhode Islanders, following a tide of free higher-education proposals that are cropping up across the country.


Raimondo’s plan, dubbed the Rhode Island's Promise, guarantees two free years of college for every Rhode Island student at who graduates on time from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. It is slated to begin with high school seniors who graduate this spring.


“When I was my children's age, most jobs in Rhode Island required nothing more than high school degree,” the governor said when unveiling the proposal Monday. “But for all of our kids, that’s not the case anymore. The reality is most jobs being created now in Rhode Island will require some degree or certificate beyond a high school diploma.”


The plan will work by footing the bill for the entire cost of tuition and mandatory fees for full-time students who qualify for in-state tuition earning an associate’s degree at CCRI. At RIC and URI, the scholarship will cover tuition and fees for a student’s junior and senior years.


Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. There is no income limit.


The plan is projected to cost $30 million, which the state plans to pay for by allocating new revenues generated by recent economic growth. The plan was well received by leaders in Rhode Island’s state legislature.


A recent poll by the Campaign for Free College Tuition found that almost 73 percent of American voters support state-sponsored, free college tuition. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan earlier this month that would provide free college tuition to New Yorkers earning up to $125,000.

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