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January 16, 2017

(Stew Milne/Associated Press)

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo wants to waive tuition for in-state college students. Her plan would offer two years tuition-free regardless of family income.

Raimondo says higher education must be more affordable and accessible and she wants Rhode Island's public colleges to be among the first to go tuition-free and subsidize all mandatory fees.

"When I was my children's age, most jobs in Rhode Island required nothing more than high school degree,” Raimondo said Monday morning. “But for all of our kids, that's not the case anymore. The reality is most jobs being created now in Rhode Island will require some degree or certificate beyond a high school diploma. We are going to stand up and make the college dream a reality for every Rhode Islander who wants it."

Raimondo's plan would guarantee two years of free college for every Rhode Island student who graduates on time from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, beginning with high school seniors who graduate this spring.

Of course, economists point out, her free-college plan isn’t really free. 

If passed by the General Assembly, Raimondo’s office estimates it would cost taxpayers about $30 million dollars each year, which it considers manageable.

Tennessee and Oregon already waive tuition costs not covered by federal grants for community college students, and earlier this month New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in announcing a plan to make public college there tuition-free for students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

Raimondo will officially roll out her plan during her State of the State address Tuesday.

EarlierTuition Impossible: Politicians Call For Debt-Free College

WGBHLessons For America: How German Higher Ed Controls Costs 

NPR Ed: Is Free College Really Free? 

increasing access and success, free college, higher ed

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