The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) will present a 2019 Excellence Award
to the Rhode Island Promise initiative on
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 2 p.m. in the State Room at the
Rhode Island State House in Providence.
Cited nationally as a model of "free tuition" programs, the RI Promise scholarship was introduced by Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2017. The initiative currently offers free tuition to high school graduates entering the the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and requires the students be on track to get an associate degree in two years and maintain a 2.5 GPA. The RI Promise is a so-called "last-dollar" scholarship, meaning all other sources of financial aid must be exhausted first.
After introduction of the Promise at CCRI, the state's college-going rate for Rhode Island high school seniors has increased by 8.5% to 67.5%--the highest it's been since the number has been tracked.
Raimondo has proposed expanding the Promise Scholarship to cover tuition and all mandatory fees for part- and full-time adults at CCRI. She has also proposed expanding the Promise to Rhode Island College as a last-dollar scholarship covering tuition and all mandatory fees for a student's junior and senior years.
A remarkable 99% of new jobs created since the Great Recession have gone to people with a certificate or degree beyond high school.
"Rhode Island Promise is a pioneering model of efforts to make postsecondary education accessible and affordable, and we know that's critical to our future economic well-being," said NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas, citing national data showing bachelor's degree recipients earn $1 million more in their lifetime, and associate degree recipients earn $360,000 more, compared with high school graduates.
Increased earnings and education levels also lead to higher tax revenues, lower unemployment rates, higher home ownership rates, growth in the number of small businesses, improvements in health, higher rates of volunteering and voting, and lower levels of criminal behavior.
About NEBHE's Excellence Awards
Since 2003, NEBHE has formally recognized people and groups with New England Higher Education Excellence awards for their exceptional leadership on behalf of higher education and advancement of
collaboration, innovation and educational opportunity.
Last year, NEBHE honored
General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Westerly Education Cente
Previous Rhode Island recipients have ranged from the late U.S. Senator
Claiborne Pell to
governors Donald L. Carcieri and J. Joseph Garrahy
Robert D. Ballard to
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT program and the Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning Center.