Governor McKee Announces Budget Amendment for Hope Scholarship at Rhode Island College

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Rhode Island College Impact

“The Hope Scholarship is a win for students, families and all of Rhode Island.” -Governor McKee

From the Office of Governor Daniel McKee

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee today filed a budget amendment to his FY 24 budget proposal to fund the Hope Scholarship at Rhode Island College (RIC). The Hope Scholarship would provide last-dollar tuition support to RIC in-state students for their junior and senior years.

“The Hope Scholarship is a win for students, families and all of Rhode Island,” said Governor McKee. “We know that students who graduate with four year degrees will have higher earning potential and also help fill important professional positions within our economy. The Hope Scholarship will be a critical tool used to ensure affordability isn’t the reason our students don’t finish their four year degrees.”

“The Rhode Island Promise program has opened a path to higher education for many Rhode Island students, especially from underserved communities. The Hope Scholarship builds on that success, giving Rhode Islanders even more options to pursue a degree without the burden of additional student debt,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “As an alumna of Rhode Island College, I’m proud to join Governor McKee, President Warner, and Commissioner Gilkey in launching this pilot and I look forward to seeing the results over the coming years.”

The Hope Scholarship would be structured as a pilot. If approved by the General Assembly, the program would begin with funding provided to eligible juniors and seniors in the fall of 2023. The pilot is slated to end with the final cohort graduating in May 2026.

The Hope Scholarship would be available for in-state juniors and seniors at RIC provided that they have met eligibility requirements of a minimum GPA and have accumulated sufficient credits towards their major field of study in their freshman and sophomore year to assure they can stay on track to graduate.

“The Hope Scholarship is a smart investment in Rhode Island students that will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Rhode Island College President Jack R. Warner. “Rhode Island College leads the region in providing social mobility to graduates and more than 70 percent of our students continue to live, work and pursue advanced degrees in Rhode Island after graduation, so this benefits the state as much as the students.”

“A four-year degree is correlated with substantially increasing lifetime earning and wages. This is especially important for first generation students, and our families right here in Rhode Island,” said Postsecondary Education Commissioner Shannon Gilkey, Ed.D. “The Hope Scholarship pilot gives us the opportunity to address affordability in the final two years of these degrees and help raise generations of family income.”

The Hope Scholarship would be restricted to transfer students; students will not be eligible to receive both the Hope Scholarship and Rhode Island Promise scholarships. Community College of Rhode Island students who did not receive Rhode Island Promise scholarships would be eligible for the Hope Scholarship.

The governor is proposing that the scholarship be supported by $9.4 million in State Fiscal Recovery Funds and $1 million in RIC institutional financial aid over the three-year period.

The Hope Scholarship is designed to address affordability issues and increase the percent of students who earn their bachelor’s degree. This is beneficial for each student receiving a degree as it promises greater lifelong earnings, better overall health, and increased civic engagement. It is also a benefit to the state as a whole, as RIC is one of the leading producers of nurses, teachers, and social workers in Rhode Island.