Rhode Island becomes 4th state to offer free community college tuition

By Ray Downs  |  Aug. 3, 2017 at 11:09 PM
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Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Rhode Island lawmakers voted to become the fourth state in the nation to offer free community college for state residents Thursday.

Lawmakers passed the state budget proposal, which included $2.8 million to fund the free tuition program for one year. Graduating high school seniors who maintain a 2.5 GPA and go to school full-time will be eligible, regardless of income.

The current tuition at the Community College of Rhode Island -- the only community college in the state -- is $2,074 per semester for in-state residents. But CCRI was already planning on striking tuition for incoming students in the fall semester of 2017 even before the budget officially passed.

"We're absolutely prepared to serve any student who wants to take classes here," said Patrick Stone, a spokesman for CCRI, reported WJAR.

The free tuition at community college plan is a partial win for Gov. Gina Raimondo, who had been pushing for a broader proposal that would have also made two years free at both of the state's 4-year colleges. But lawmakers rejected that plan.

Rhode Island joins three other states -- New York, Tennessee and Oregon -- that have approved plans to make community college free.

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