Rhode Island · School Talk

Bipartisan Support for Free College All the Way From Tennessee

governor haslam
Governor Haslam of Tennessee

Bipartisanship has come to Rhode Island and it is thanks to the RI Promise Scholarship proposal, the plan to make our public colleges and universities free for two years for all students. The plan is arguably the most comprehensive of its kind but is facing push back from the legislature, particularly the Speaker of the House. Based on recent polling, 60 percent of voters like the plan.

Education Week reported on the support from the Tennessee governor:

Rhode Island’s Democratic governor has invited a Republican counterpart to help make the case for her plan to provide free tuition for two years at public colleges.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam talked with Rhode Island business leaders on a conference call Thursday.

Tennessee three years ago became the first state to make community college tuition-free for new high school graduates, and is considering an expansion to include older adults. Raimondo’s plan would go further, including not just community colleges but the last two years at four-year institutions. She says it’s a workforce development initiative.

New York just passed a more expansive law.

Raimondo’s proposal is endorsed by business groups but faces skepticism in the Democrat-controlled legislature. Top lawmakers have voiced concerns about the cost.

Most of us are pining for the two parties to come together and it’s nice to see a taste of it here in our little state.

What do you think?

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