Mayors from six Rhode Island cities announced their support for Rhode Island’s Promise scholarship, a proposal that would guarantee two years of free college tuition for Rhode Island students at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island.
“Students of all economic backgrounds should have the opportunity to succeed,” said Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena. “Providing two years of free college will position Rhode Island as a leader in education.”
“As municipal leaders, we spend our days talking about ways to invest into our cities economic and fiscal futures. I believe a key component to each of our future successes is also the investment we make into our students and their education,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “The creation of such an initiative will act as a complement to the existing programs already in place that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school. By alleviating some of the financial burden, I believe our students not only take advantage of such programs but have true ownership over their educational success.”
“I’m happy to join a coalition of mayors who know that this is one of the greatest investments we can make in our kids’ futures,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I firmly believe that access to college will make all the difference in the lives of our children, and that is why I applaud Governor Raimondo for this proposal. I look forward to working closely with her to make this a reality.”
Along with Johnston, Warwick and Providence, the mayors of Central Falls, Pawtucket and Cumberland also backed the proposal.
Governor Gina M. Raimondo introduced the initiative as part of her fiscal year 2018 budget, which is now under consideration by the Rhode Island General Assembly. The Promise Scholarship guarantees students who qualify for in-state tuition and enroll full-time, right after high school (or after earning a GED) two years of free college beginning with high school seniors who graduate this spring.