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Rhode Island Becomes 4th State To Offer Free Community College Tuition

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is giving students a chance to further their education, excluding the one thing about college that many wish they could leave behind — debt.

Starting this upcoming academic year, The Promise Scholarship will allow students in Rhode Island to attend two years of community college at no cost.

While there are certain requirements to who can reap the benefits, Gov. Raimondo eventually wants for every student in Rhode Island to have the chance to get guaranteed free access to college.

In order to be considered, one must be a recent high school graduate of the most recent semester, a Rhode Island resident, and looking to attend college full time. Once enrolled, the student must maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 and earn at least 30 credits each year. There are no income requirements for the program, and GED recipients qualify as well.

Also, after graduation, students must agree to stay and work in the state for as long as they received the free tuition. In the case of Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), the only community college in the state, this would mean two years.

Oregon, Tennessee, and New York offer similar scholarships.

Under the state’s $9 billion budget, about $2.8 million will assist The Promise Scholarship in granting students $2,074 per semester for tuition and fees.

In a Facebook video posted Friday, Gov. Raimondo said the scholarship is a “game changer,” that will “level the playing field for thousands of Rhode Islanders who just want a shot.”

She has also said she would like to expand the tuition grants to include four-year colleges in the future.

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