Beginning with the 2017 class, all RI high school graduates can choose to pursue an associate degree at the Community College of Rhode Island or a bachelor's degree at the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College for four semesters tuition free, regardless of their family income.
Students need to be RI residents enrolled full-time. The Promise will pay for two years tuition and mandatory fees at CCRI, or for tuition and fees for students' junior and senior years at URI or RIC.
The proposal estimates that once fully phased in, the program will require a $30-million state investment, which will be paid for through new revenues made available as a result of economic growth. Details about the proposal can be found at www.freecollegeri.com.
Introduced by Governor Raimondo in 2015, the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship makes it more affordable for Rhode Islanders to pursue a postsecondary degree or credential. The RI Promise initiative has not only infused more financial aid dollars into the system, but it also invests those dollars more strategically by creating more meaningful financial aid awards for students. As a need-based, last-dollar scholarship, RI Promise “fills the gap” between a student’s financial aid package and the actual costs of college.
The RI Promise is a “last-dollar scholarship” that fills in the gap between other aid, like Pell grants, and the actual costs of tuition and mandatory fees. Many students work extra hours or look to loan programs to fill this gap–that is if they decide to stay on the path to a postsecondary degree or credential. The last-dollar scholarship will help students stay on the path and reduce their dependency on loans.
There are no extra forms to fill out for this scholarship, only the FAFSA form that is required for federal student aid programs like Pell. The funds are distributed directly to the institution and are applied to the student’s bill for tuition and mandatory fees.