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July 20, 2017

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo continues to push her ambitious plan to make community college tuition-free, even after state lawmakers scaled it back.

First proposed in January, Raimondo’s plan grabbed national headlines. If approved, it would cover tuition and mandatory fees for the first two years at the state's only community college or the last two years at its four-year schools.

"It's almost impossible to get a good job these days, unless you have some credential or college degree past high school. Except most people can't afford it," Raimondo told WGBH News.

Related: How New York’s Free College Plan Could Disrupt Higher Ed Market

Unlike other free-college plans approved in New York, Tennessee and Oregon, there are no income limits.

Raimondo said her $30 million plan would benefit up to 8,000 students, but lawmakers in Providence struggling to reach a budget compromise have approved just $3 million, only enough to cover community college for some 2,000 students.

“I was disappointed not to get the full amount,” Raimondo said Thursday, pledging to lobby for the program. “I'm not going to stop. There's always next year and the next year."

Raimondo's office says it may turn to private philanthropy to help fill the funding gap.

Earlier: Could Rhode Island Make Free College A Reality?

WATCH: WGBH’s Jim Braude asks Governor Raimondo about the fate of her tuition-free community college plan:

increasing access and success, free college, higher ed, rhode island

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