PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina M. Raimondo on Thursday unveiled the Rhode Island’s Promise scholarship to help students with proven academic performance bridge the gap between their financial aid package and actual college costs.
“Now more than ever, higher education can be the ladder to the middle class. Rhode Island’s Promise will open the door of opportunity for so many Rhode Islanders,” Raimondo said, adding that her father took advantage of the G.I. Bill to become the first person in her family to attend college. “That enabled him to get a good job. One person going to college changed all of our lives.”
Commissioner of Postsecondary Education Jim Purcell explained that Rhode Island’s Promise enables Rhode Island campuses to provide “meaningful financial aid packages that can make a strong impact on improving student success.”
Through the program, Rhode Island’s higher education grant program is restructured. The budget will include $10 million for the program in its first year.
The governor’s office said that for the first time, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island will have greater flexibility in the amount of funding they are awarding to close the gap between what a student can pay and the cost of college.
A press release from the governor’s office said that Rhode Island has the fourth-highest average student debt in the country at $31,561, and that this program will help students finish their studies.
“RIC wholeheartedly supports Gov. Raimondo’s efforts to make a college education more affordable for Rhode Islanders,” RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said. “Rhode Island’s Promise, her most recent initiative, has already benefited more than 500 RIC students.”
CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale said that a gap between a financial aid award and the amount needed to cover all costs of education is often a determining factor as to whether students will pursue college.
“Rhode Island’s Promise awards will fill this critical gap for thousands, allowing CCRI to double the number of students who receive enough aid to attend college at no cost to them,” he said.