The City Council on Thursday approved a resolution endorsing Governor Raimondo’s proposed expansion of the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship to provide every Rhode Island high school graduate with a two-year scholarship to an in-state public college or university.
The resolution was introduced by Council President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos (Ward 15), who lauded the proposal as a win for the state and its students: “The cost of higher education is an insurmountable barrier for so many families. Our high schools are full of talented young people eager to learn and achieve. Many of them dream of going to college but don’t have the financial resources to get there. This is their ticket to higher education, upward mobility, and economic security.”
Cracking the barrier to college, said Matos, can also have a tremendous impact on the state: “Cultivating a highly educated, highly skilled population is good for everyone. This proposal strengthens the state’s ability to retain its best young minds. Our state schools have so much to offer, and this is our chance to capitalize on that.”
Data suggests that an educated workforce is critical to economic development. According to the 2016 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook, 71% of jobs in Rhode Island will require post-secondary education by 2020. Between 2010 and 2014 in Rhode Island, adults with high school diplomas were almost three times more likely to be unemployed as those with bachelor’s degrees or higher.