New program allows high school students to take free college credits

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – For years, Rhode Island high school students have been able to take college courses – but this year, those classes were free due to the Prepare Rhode Island program.

According to data we obtained, high school students took 2,840 college courses during the 2014/2015 school year. With the removal of the cost for the classes, the number jumped to 5,885 during the 2015/2016 school year.

Central Falls graduate Christopher Fontes was one of the students who took advantage of the courses in high school.

“It saves a lot of money because you take these classes in high school and then you don’t have to worry about paying for them again in college,” said Fontes.

Fontes said he will start his freshman year at the University of Connecticut with at least 12 credits.

“They really get you far if you put in the work,” he said.

The Prepare Rhode Island program costs $1.3 million dollars a year but the cost is worth it, according to Governor Gina Raimondo.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better we can do than invest in our future, invest to make sure young people have the skills they need to get a good job,” she said.

Fontes said he plans to become a sports medicine physician.

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