Here's How to Apply for RI's New Free College Initiative

Step-by-step guidelines on how to score two years of free college through Rhode Island's Promise.



On Monday, at the Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, Governor Gina Raimondo announced her plan to offer two years of free college to Rhode Island students attending the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College or the University of Rhode Island. Pending budget approval, this year's graduating high school class is eligible for the Rhode Island's Promise program, which is projected to cost the state $30 million a year at full implementation. Here are the details:

Who can apply: Rhode Island residents in the high school graduating class of 2017 and beyond, as well as students who earn their GED before age nineteen.

The residency requirement: Three years in-state.

High school academic requirements: None. Students must earn admittance to URI and RIC; CCRI has an open admissions policy.

Enrollment deadline: Students must enroll the immediate fall semester after graduation.

How does CCRI's plan work? Students can earn a two-year associate's degree for free.

How does RIC and URI's plan work? The state will pay for a student's junior and senior years. (One year of in-state tuition is $8,206 at RIC and $12,884 at URI.)

College academic requirements: Students must enroll full-time and must maintain a 2.0 grade point average. (That's a C average.) Students at RIC and URI must also declare a major by the end of sophomore year. Students must complete college on time to qualify; that means an associate's in two years at CCRI and a bachelor's in four years at URI and RIC.

How to apply: Submit an application to CCRI, RIC or URI. (Both RIC and URI accept the Common Application.) Then, fill out a FAFSA application. All students are encouraged to fill out FAFSA forms annually, however incoming students at RIC and URI do not need FAFSA forms for free tuition until their junior and senior years. High school seniors looking to attend CCRI should fill out a FAFSA form by July 1, 2017.

Fall semester application deadlines: URI: Feb. 1; RIC: March 15; CCRI: Aug. 25.


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