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Mayors Announce Coalition for College Affordability

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI - Mayors from six Rhode Island cities announced their support for Rhode Island’s Promise scholarship, a proposal that would guarantee two years of free college tuition for Rhode Island students at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island.

“I am thrilled to see that the Governor is looking for ways to provide our youth across the state the opportunity to continue their education while reducing the financial burden associated with going to college,” said Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa. “Our youth will avoid the crippling college debt that has prevented many in my generation from starting families and buying homes.”

“Investing in our children and their futures is a top priority,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “The economy in Rhode Island changed on us 30 years ago; we saw manufacturing leave and our family members out of work. Our economy is evolving again and we cannot sit by idly. We must prepare our students, whether that’s through the traditional four-year college route or a training program.”

“As municipal leaders, we spend our days talking about ways to invest into our cities economic and fiscal futures. I believe a key component to each of our future successes is also the investment we make into our students and their education,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “The creation of such an initiative will act as a compliment to the existing programs already in place that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school. By alleviating some of the financial burden, I believe our students not only take advantage of such programs, but have true ownership over their educational success.”

“I’m happy to join a coalition of mayors who know that this is one of the greatest investments we can make in our kids’ futures,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I firmly believe that access to college will make all the difference in the lives of our children and that is why I applaud Governor Raimondo for this proposal. I look forward to working closely with her to make this a reality.”

“Education is of critical importance, and college affordability is a huge issue facing Rhode Island families," said Cumberland Mayor William Murray.  "Our state is right to act now on these issues for our students.  I look forward to working on the Governor's proposal with her and our legislative leaders."

“Students of all economic backgrounds should have the opportunity to succeed,” said Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena. “Providing two years of free college will position Rhode Island as a leader in education.”

Governor Gina M. Raimondo introduced the initiative as part of her FY 2018 budget, which is now under consideration by the Rhode Island General Assembly. The Promise Scholarship guarantees students who qualify for in-state tuition and enroll full-time, right after high school (or after earning a GED) two years of free college beginning with high school seniors who graduate this spring.



Media Contacts:

Wilder Arboleda

City of Central Falls



Lauren Greene

City of Pawtucket



Courtney Marciano

City of Warwick



Victor Morente

City of Providence

401-421-2489 ext. 5785


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