Testimony in support of S2551, Rhode Island Promise Scholarship and Hope Scholarship Pilot Program

Last updated: March 29, 2024

The Economic Progress Institute supports Senator Gu’s S 2551, which extends the time for which a student may enroll to qualify for the Promise Scholarship or the Hope Scholarship up to one year after high school graduation. 

Rhode Islanders deserve to have equal access to high-quality higher education – this requires financial assistance for students, particularly low-income students. College is among the single most expensive investments Americans make, alongside car or home ownership. There are significant long-term economic benefits associated with a college education.1

In 2023, recent college graduates age 22-27 working full-time earned $24,000 more per year than their counterparts with only a high school degree.2 Public universities, such as RIC and CCRI, have been avenues for social mobility for many Rhode Islanders. Ensuring that youth from historically disadvantaged backgrounds have access to this valuable resource would also improve equity in the state. 

Extending the Hope and Promise Scholarship to students up to a year after graduation is critical for ensuring that all students interested in perusing a college education at Rhode Island public universities have access to them. EPI has heard directly from foster youth that they need more time after high school to access these scholarship opportunities, as many of them need time to process their trauma before being ready to pursue higher education. S 2551 would also help immigrants and other marginalized young people by giving them more time to navigate and apply for these scholarship programs and graduate from state universities. Students receiving the Hope Scholarship have cited that the scholarship has eased their families' financial burdens and has increased opportunities to pursue careers in nursing and computer science.3

Senator Gu’s S 2551 would improve equity for marginalized youth and allow for more prospective students to receive the financial assistance they need to pursue higher education and graduate with a college degree. The Economic Progress Institute urges passage.

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