As of Thursday, Rhode Island is the fourth state to make community college free. It follows in the foot steps of New York, Oregon, and Tennesse.
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Starting this fall, the brand new Promise Scholarship will cover tuition for students at the Community College of Rhode Island, regardless of that student and their family's income. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, students must be residents of the state of Rhode Island and have graduated from high school the previous spring. While enrolled at the Community College of Rhode Island they must be full-time students and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5.
Those stipulations immediately bar a certain number of students as many current students are not fill-time, and many of those beginning at the community college this fall graduated high school prior to last spring. Still, it's estimated that 1,200 to 1,300 will get to use the scholarship this fall.
The $2.8 million which will go toward these payments come as part of the state's budget. New York's similar program will also be launched this fall. The Oregon and Tennessee programs began in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
While we will have to wait until the program's launch to see exactly how it unfolds, it is exciting to see more states following suit on affordable education.