College students in Rhode Island may soon begin to feel some relief from college debt after Gov. Gina Raimondo proposed two years of free tuition for state schools in her Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

If the proposal passes, students at the Community College of Rhode Island, if enrolled full-time and complete on time, will receive their 2-year degree for free. At Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island, students will receive the last two years of their education, credits 61-120, for free. Students must be Rhode Island residents and will have to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher to maintain the two years of free tuition.

The proposal will cost the state $10 million in FY 2018, $13 million in FY 2019 and $18 million in FY 2020. By the year 2021, once the proposal is fully implemented, it will then cost the state $30 million each year.

Raimondo has attended different high schools in Rhode Island informing students about her new proposal. “This proposal would cut the price of URI in half because I propose that we pay for the second two years,” she said, “I think it’s an investment in the future. I think we can’t afford to miss this opportunity.”

High school seniors graduating this year from a public or private school, homeschooling, or obtain a GED before the age of 19, will be the first class to take advantage of this proposal if it passes. However, students must enroll in one of Rhode Island’s state colleges the immediate fall semester after graduation.

The governor presented her budget to the Rhode Island General Assembly in mid-January, who will now re-write and vote on whether or not it will go into effect. For more information on the governor’s proposal, visit FreeCollegeRI.com