Free tuition a reality at CCRI

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The promise that Governor Gina Raimondo had continuously made to provide free college tuition for Rhode Islanders became a reality last week when the state Senate finally approved the FY18 budget more than a month into the new fiscal year, which in turn approved a $2.75 million allotment for the “Rhode Island Promise” scholarship program.

Starting this fall, Rhode Island residents who are under 19 and completed high school or received their GED within the past year will be eligible to apply for the scholarship, which will cover all tuition and related fees at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) to go towards a two-year associate’s degree, regardless of their income.

The only other requirements are that students must take a fulltime course load of at least 30 credits each semester for both years and must maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average.

Although the program was largely scaled back into a two-year pilot version of what Raimondo had originally intended – which included free tuition for juniors and seniors at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College – it remains a historic step towards free, in-state college education, and is the first program of its kind in New England, and the fourth state to do so, following Nevada, New York and Oregon.

“Our college is thrilled that the groundbreaking Rhode Island Promise program will be moving forward this fall at CCRI. We believe every high school student in Rhode Island deserves a chance to earn the degree or credential they need to begin a high-quality career right here in Rhode Island,” said CCRI President Meghan Hughes, in a statement.

CCRI will be hosting two “Enrollment Days,” from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug 10 and Aug 17 in Room 1040 at the Knight Campus in Warwick to assist students who wish to take advantage of the program. Representatives from the admissions and financial aid offices will be there to help students fill out applications for the FAFSA and the college itself, in addition to taking placement tests and registering for fall classes.

Interested students who cannot attend either of the enrollment days can also apply online, or contact the Advising and Counseling Center at 825-1240 or by email at advising@ccri.edu. The priority deadline to apply is Aug 25.

Although students will lose access to the scholarship should they not maintain a 2.5 GPA, they will be able to re-earn the scholarship the following semester if they climb back to a 2.5. So, for example, if a student only got a 2.4 GPA in the fall semester, they would have to pay for the spring semester. If they got a 2.5 cumulative GPA during the spring, they could access free tuition again the following Fall semester. However if a student fails to achieve 30 credits during a full year, they will lose access to the scholarship and not be able to earn it for the second year of their tuition.

The Rhode Island Department of Education does not yet have information available about where students from the class of 2017 will be attending college, and individual districts collect this information anecdotally, so it is unclear how many incoming freshmen will be seeking a free education at CCRI come this fall. More will be known after CCRI holds their information sessions.

According to Patrick Stone, director of marketing, communications and publications for CCRI, the college estimates that they will have between 1,200 and 1,300 students apply for the scholarship – which amounts to 200 more incoming students than estimates for previous years. Stone said that increase is a direct result of the availability of the new scholarship.

The normal cost of tuition at CCRI is $4,148 per year for in state students. The Rhode Island Promise is a “last dollar” scholarship, meaning that any financial aid, such as Pell grants and other scholarships, will be used first. Rhode Island Promise will cover any leftover cost for eligible students.

Stone said that a vast majority of students who attend CCRI already utilize some form of financial aid, and that the school isn’t concerned at all about overspending the state’s budget allotment.

“We are reading, willing and able to accommodate the new students,” he said. “We're excited and we're positive it’s going to make a good impact.”

Stone said that CCRI educates more Rhode Islanders than any other school in the state. CCRI has an annual enrollment of about 15,000 students. According to Stone, 90 percent of CCRI graduates from the class of 2015 have stayed in Rhode Island, either pursuing more education or working within the state economy.

“Which is why this is such a great investment in the future of Rhode Island,” Stone said. “Nobody is training more employees and employers, the backbone of the Rhode Island economy, than CCRI. This program is a long term investment in the state.”

Comments

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richardcorrente

Please don't call this "free tuition". Be honest. It isn't free. It's "taxpayer-paid".

Plus, if it applies only to those who are "under the age of 19", then it has age discrimination associated with it as well.

In any event, it is NOT free. It shouldn't be labeled that way in my opinion.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, August 8
richardcorrente

Dear CrickeeRaven,

I never said I won the election. I did get the sopport of 13,278 voters that will become my base for 2018. Your percentages of 65 - 35 are accurate though. What I did say is

1. My message got through, and the message has always been more important than the man. My message of "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" was repeated to the City Council so often by so many of the 80,000 Warwick taxpayers that when Avedisian tried to insert 29 TAX-INCREASING AMENDMENTS, EACH ONE WAS VOTED DOWN UNANIMOUSLY!!! My campaign had something to do with that Crispy, whether you admit it or not. And speaking of unanimous, I was UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSED by the Warwick Democratic Committee, which includes all 9 City Council Members, many of which campaigned with me.

2. I never gave myself a "made-up title" any more than you gave yourself a made-up title by combining a cricket with a raven. I call myself "The Taxpayers Mayor" because I feel that I am a servant to the taxpayers and I proudly reveal my identity. No one knows why you call yourself "CrickeeRaven" because you're too cowardly to reveal who you really are. What are you afraid of ? Being held responsible for what you say?

So, like I said "Be honest".

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, August 8
Thecaptain

Rick,

You are an imbecile. You had ZERO to do with the city council and the budget process. The words fool and moron are the only ones that come to mind.

Tuesday, August 8
Thecaptain

Yet you still do not answer the question as to where your car BANKRS was registered when you unregistered it in Warwick but continued to drive for 3 years during your tax / mortgage default and subsequent forcible eviction from 177 Grand View Dr.

Tuesday, August 8
CrickeeRaven

Hello again Thecaptain:

As you rightly point out, the fake "mayor" prefers to bully other commenters over answering for his tax delinquencies. The imaginary "base" of voters he claims to have is yet further proof of his unfitness for office.

That he should tell others to "be honest" in light of his long and documented history of disproven claims only serves to extend his record of humiliating himself on this site. We can be assured that he will continue in his future comments.

Tuesday, August 8
CrickeeRaven

One other thing I wonder, Thecaptain:

When the fake "mayor" wastes yet more money on another losing run for office and creates campaign literature with his disproven claims and imaginary title, where will "spent two years making excuses and running away from proof of his delinquencies" appear?

Tuesday, August 8
perky4175

this is a waste of tax payers money if your going to offer free college then it should be for every one

and gina says that these people have to stay in ri for 2 yrs were are they going to work wendys or burger king

the only jobs that she has created are for her friends from brown just like she wants to stop paying inmates $3 a hour

to clean state buildings and hire a private co for $30 a hour

Tuesday, August 8
VoWarwick2017

I have two problems with this:

1. Stop using the word FREE it is going to cost tax payers a lot of money to send kids to high school on the hill. Just wondering how much do you think CCRI is going to raise its tuition by?

2. In Warwick - and much of Rhode Island - the public schools are BAD! The majority of the kids getting punted through the system cannot read, write or do basic math. This CCRI deal makes it seem like they are just trying to cover up the bad primary and secondary system with a "junior college".

Wednesday, August 9
RISchadenfreude

VoWarwick2017,

The teachers' unions are thrilled that Gina's found a new way to cover their ineptitude.

CCRI's primary courses are remedial skills classes which were already being used to pad out the students' curriculae; students with good skills (private, parochial and Classical students, for example) don't get challenged until their second year, if at all.

I also can't wait to see the tuition & fee increases now that they have a new source of Other People's (Taxpayer) Money- it'll likely be worse than the increases that have occurred since the Feds took over student loan programs.

A CCRI diploma currently carries about as much weight as one from a RI public high school- what do you wager it'll be worth in the coming years?

Thursday, August 10
RISchadenfreude

Crock O' Ravin',

The only thing worse than the "Mayor's" pandering is your, and Cap'n Crunch's, continued response to it; as the saying goes, "Never take the Devil as your example".

You both have way too much time on your hands and turn finding relevant, thoughtful comments on the articles into an Easter Egg hunt- you're no better than your target.

Friday, August 11