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Rhode Island free college tuition program paying dividends

PROVIDENCE — Supporters of a free tuition program at the Community College of Rhode Island say graduation rates have improved, but there is room to do better.

The two-year graduation rate at the college hit 19% this year, more than tripling its historical average of 6% and putting it above the national average. Enrollment has surged, especially for minority students.

But CCRI President Meghan Hughes tells The Boston Globe the college has more work to do when it comes to raising graduation rates for the low-income students the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship free tuition program was designed to help.

Hughes said the college is raising private money to better support low-income students.

The college expects to spend about $7 million this year on the program, which includes tuition and more student support.

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