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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island College (RIC) will officially launch its primarily state-funded scholarship program this fall.

The Hope Scholarship will provide last-dollar tuition to eligible in-state students during their junior and senior years. The scholarship will be made available to both new and current RIC students.

“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 set aside $9.4 million in his proposed state budget to fund the Hope Scholarship, which will be initially structured as a pilot program. The $14 million budget proposal was approved by the R.I. General Assembly and signed into law by McKee last week.

“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, meet a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement and have accumulated a sufficient amount of credits toward their field of study. Those who qualify must also commit to live, work or continue their education in Rhode Island after graduation.

Students who previously received an R.I. Promise scholarship while attending the Community College of Rhode Island won’t be eligible for the Hope Scholarship.

The R.I. Promise program, which provides two years of free tuition for eligible high school graduates and costs the state roughly $7 million annually, was enshrined 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.

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