This fall, Rhode Island College (RIC) will officially debut its predominantly state-funded scholarship program.
The Hope Scholarship will pay qualified in-state students with last-dollar tuition for their junior and senior years. Both new and current RIC students will be eligible for the grant.
“The Hope Scholarship will be an important tool in building the highly educated workforce to drive Rhode Island’s economic future,” RIC President Dr. Jack Warner said. “We know that a high-quality degree from Rhode Island College is the pathway to social mobility for so many Rhode Islanders.”
“This scholarship opens that pathway for many more people,” he continued. “It’s not just the scholarship recipients who benefit, but the entire state as we strengthen public higher education.”
Gov. Dan McKee included $9.4 million in his proposed state budget for the Hope Scholarship, which will begin as a trial program. Last week, McKee signed into law a $14 million budget proposal authorized by the Rhode Island General Assembly.
“Higher education and workforce development in this state will rely more and more heavily on Rhode Island College,” Senate Majority Leader Ryan Pearson said. “If we’re going to be able to staff those critical careers, such as education and nursing, then it is imperative that we make this investment in our future.”
Eligible juniors and seniors must be enrolled full-time, have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and have earned a sufficient number of credits in their field of study. Those who are eligible must also commit to living, working, or furthering their education in Rhode Island after graduation.
Students who have previously received an R.I. Promise scholarship while enrolled at the Community College of Rhode Island are ineligible for the Hope Scholarship.
The Rhode Island Promise program, which provides two years of free tuition to qualifying high school graduates and costs the state approximately $7 million per year, was enacted into law two years ago.
The pilot program would end with the 2026 graduating class, unless it is either extended or codified into state law like the R.I. Promise scholarship.