Governor Daniel McKee today joined House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, along with RIC President Jack R. Warner, faculty, staff and students at Rhode Island College to celebrate the launch of the Hope Scholarship with a ceremonial bill signing. The new scholarship, which was established by Gov. McKee and the General Assembly in the “RI Ready” FY2024 budget covers tuition and fees for eligible Rhode Island students in their final two years of a four-year degree at RIC.
The budget and enabling legislation created a five-year pilot of the Hope Scholarship, beginning with the new Fall 2023 semester. It applies to current juniors and seniors who are on track to graduate in four years (and meet all other eligibility requirements), as well as incoming freshman and some adult students. Approximately 300 RIC students are expected to benefit from the scholarship this year. Many of those students attended today’s bill signing.
“Rhode Island College is on the map in a big way,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The Hope Scholarship is turning the dream of college completion into a reality while increasing the earning potential of our RIC graduates. Thank you to the General Assembly for their partnership in getting this done and to the leadership of Rhode Island College that is paving an exciting new path forward for this institution.”
“Education should be a path to freedom and prosperity, but loan debt shackles students and families. The Hope Scholarship relieves that burden and makes a four-year degree more accessible for Rhode Islanders,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “This program will help our students and bolster our economy by ensuring that we have a qualified and educated workforce. As a proud Rhode Island College alumna, I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this pilot program in the coming years.”
“The Hope Scholarship at Rhode Island College is a transformative investment in public higher education in our state, one which will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Rhode Island College President Jack Warner. “This scholarship makes RIC by far the most affordable option for in-state students and makes a four-year degree accessible to many more Rhode Islanders. We are grateful to Gov. McKee, Speaker Shekarchi, Senate President Ruggerio, Sen. Ryan Pearson, Rep. Joseph McNamara, and the entire legislature for their vision and leadership.”
The Hope Scholarship is an earned merit, last-dollar scholarship that will close the gap after students in their junior and senior years have exhausted all other forms of financial aid. The result is that many in-state students will have the opportunity to earn a high-quality four-year degree for less than $25,000, by far the most affordable option in Rhode Island. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be Rhode Island residents who qualify for in-state tuition, be enrolled on a full-time basis, have declared a major, maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 and earned a minimum of 60 credits towards an eligible program of study. Students must also commit to live, work or continue their education in Rhode Island after graduation.
“The Hope Scholarship will enable more Rhode Islanders to achieve their educational goals, helping students create a better future for themselves and their families while enhancing the next generation of our workforce,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “Hope Scholarship participants must commit to staying in Rhode Island, which gives us a highly skilled workforce that will be more attractive to companies. In turn, this will strengthen our economy.”
“Higher education and workforce development in this state will rely more and more heavily on Rhode Island College. 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.” said Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson.
“Congratulations to all who championed the Hope Scholarship bill and made its passage a priority,” said David Caprio, Esq., Chairman, R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education. “This work will have a tremendous impact on Rhode Island College students, allowing them to worry less about financing their education and focus more ardently on their studies and earning their degrees. The state’s investment in people — in students — speaks volumes about the values we hold as a state in helping to make higher education more affordable and more accessible. Access to high quality public higher education supports our economy and our workforce and enriches the lives of so many who call Rhode Island home. The positive momentum that’s occurring at Rhode Island College is palpable and infectious, and I thank Jack Warner, Governor McKee, Speaker Shekarchi, President Ruggerio, and all who supported making the Hope Scholarship a reality.”
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