college tuition

A series of education bills on the agenda at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday range from a tax credit for college graduates to funding for charter schools.

One bill would give recent college graduates a break on their state income taxes. The idea is to stem the so-called “brain drain,” when local graduates put their newly-minted degrees to work in other states.

The measure would give a maximum $5,000 credit for a worker who received a bachelor’s degree from a local college or university within the last 10 years.

A new bill introduced by East Providence Representative Helio Melo would double the state income tax deduction allowed for college savings accounts.

The bill would increase the maximum deduction from $500 to $1,000 for individuals, and up to $2,000 for couples filing jointly.

Melo, the former chair of the House Finance Committee, said he's hoping the added incentive will encourage families to set aside more money for college.

Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo will unveil details Wednesday of a plan to start college savings for every baby born in Rhode Island.

Under the initiative, the state’s CollegeBoundfund will offer to put aside $100 dollars for every newborn baby. Parents can choose whether to add additional funds over time.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of families with college savings plans, encourage more families to start saving early and make it easier to enroll in the CollegeBoundbaby program.

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Students at Rhode Island public colleges and universities could see tuition increases next year. 

The Board of Education’s Council on Higher Education has approved a budget with a nearly 3 percent increase at the University of Rhode Island and roughly 8 percent increases at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. 

Higher Education commissioner Jim Purcell said the increases come as state colleges have seen a 23 percent reduction in state funding over the last 5 years. 

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Jack Reed joined by Senators Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren outlined legislation Wednesday that curbs student loan debt.

The bill allows federal and private student loans to be refinanced at a lower rate with no refinancing fees. The interest on some loans can reach 14 percent. The bill lowers that to 3.86 percent. Reed said the bill is critical to the country’s future.