Report: Thousands of RI high school students earned free college credits last year

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Public high school students in Rhode Island earned 5,302 college credits at no cost to them during the 2015-16 school year, according to a new report released by the Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The credits were earned through “Prepare Rhode Island,” a state-funded program that allows students across the state to take college-level courses while they’re still in high school. The state budget set aside $1.3 million for the program last year.central-high-pic

“PrepareRI gives college-bound students a leg up,” Raimondo said during an event Tuesday morning at Central High School in Providence. “You enter college with credits under your belt, for free.”

Raimondo also spoke with three Central students – Tyrone Lindsey, Jaislene Vinas and Zachariah Akande – who have taken advantage of the program. All of them said they believe the classes will help prepare them for life beyond high school and reduce the cost of attending college.

All told, 3,807 students across the estate participated in the program last school year, taking a variety of courses ranging from math and English to social sciences and business. High schools work with the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island to offer the classes.

Of the students who took the college-level courses last year, 74% earned a B- or better, according to the report. About 97% earning a passing grade.

Raimondo was joined by Central principal Julia Carlson, Providence school Supt. Chris Maher and Education Commissioner Ken Wagner.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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