Rhode Island College students rally for RIC Promise

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“With a mom who works a full time job, I’m responsible for keeping the house clean and making sure my nephew is taken care of until his mom, my sister, comes home from work,” said Rhode Island College (RIC) student Angela Pierre-Louis, who is also a pageant contestant. Because of school, home and pageant commitments, “I am unable to find a job that adequately fits my schedule.”

“With the Rhode Island College Promise program, I will be able to focus on a better future.”

RIC Promise is a state funded scholarship program that would cover the final two years of in-state tuition and mandatory fees for four-year, first-time undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time and meet other eligibility requirements. It is one of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo‘s top budget priorities.

Around fifty RIC students crowded the rotunda of the Rhode Island State House during a rally for the program that was going to be heard by the House Finance Committee that evening. At that committee hearing, Raimondo testified in person, a clear demonstration that expansion of this program, already in play at the Community College of Rhode Island, is one of her top priorities this budget cycle.

Gina Raimondo

“I was at RIC last week and had a chance to talk with a handful of students,” said Raimondo at the rally,” said Raimondo. “Every one of them worked more than one job, was going to school full time, and was struggling to make ends meet. And every one of them is someone that I would love to hire.”

RIC President Frank Sanchez also spoke in favor of expanding the program.

RIC Promise, if enacted, “will create one of the most affordable four-year college degrees in the entire nation,” said Sanchez. “It tells Rhode Islanders [that] if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to put some sweat equity towards your college degree, we’re going to help you get over the finish line.”

“At the moment I work two jobs,” said Rhode Island College student Brandon Philivay. “I help pay for the utilities at my apartment and I’m also a full time student.” Philivay maintains a 4.0 GPA.

“I currently pay for college out-of-pocket, with the help of my mother and father. I am also working to jobs to help,” said full time Rhode Island College Student Lucas Del Savio, who is also a member of a fraternity on campus. “I receive no financial aid whatsoever.” RIC Promise, said Del Savio, “would help me heavily.”

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  1. RIC was virtually free for all 4 years until the early 1960s, now its over $8000/year. Its not that the country is poorer now, its that the upper class that once endowed new universities has turned its back on the county, especially its youth. Ironic that this story appears just as the scandal of them spending literally millions on cheating to get their kids into elite schools while public colleges are increasingly underfunded.
    Though retired now, I taught at RIC for decades and saw the increasing struggle of students having to balance classes, family responsibilities, jobs, and higher and higher tuition. The son of a factory worker, I got my start because I was able to go to college virtually tuition-free (a policy that helped the country boom back then) , and I want the same for today’s students. Cheers for Governor Raimondo for using her time and political capital to promote this!

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