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Fresh Start Scholarship

Get Back on Track!

Do you want to complete a degree that you started in the past? Now is the time! This program designed for busy adult learners will allow you to attend CCRI tuition-free for up to two semesters.

You can:

  • Enroll full-time or part-time 
  • Take classes in-person or online 


To be eligible, you must: 

  • Be a RI resident (RI State Residency Policy)
  • Have attended classes at CCRI in the past and been enrolled in a certificate or associate degree program.
  • Not have earned an associate or a bachelor’s degree.
  • Not have attended any college between Fall 2023 - Spring 2024. 

Start Here

Click on each section below for important details.

The CCRI Fresh Start Scholarship funds up to two semesters for free to Rhode Island residents who previously attended CCRI and have not yet earned an associate degree or higher.  The scholarship will be offered for the Fall 2024 semester.

  • This is a "last-dollar" scholarship. It covers any tuition gaps not covered by other federal, state  and/or private grants and is awarded after all other financial aid resources have been exhausted.
  • The cost of books/course materials each semester will be supported including inclusive access online materials or a $30 per credit allowance. This may not cover the entire cost of books and course materials.
  • Scholarships are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Eligible students can enroll for the Fall 2024 term. 
  • Students must maintain continuous enrollment to receive the scholarship for two semesters.
  • Part-time or full-time enrollment is permitted.
  • Students may enroll in certificate or associate degree programs.
  • Students may only enroll in courses that count towards their program of study.
  • Students with military training, corporate training, work experience or other experiential learning, may be eligible for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL). Prior learning must be applicable to the student’s certificate or degree.
  • Disbursement of funds for initial and/or renewal scholarship awards is conditioned upon the State of Rhode Island's annual appropriation of sufficient funding for the Fresh Start Scholarship.

To be eligible for this scholarship, you must: 

  • Be a Rhode Island resident who qualifies for in-state tuition and fees pursuant to the Residency Policy as adopted by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
  • Have attended classes at CCRI in the past and been enrolled in a certificate or associate degree program. (Dual enrollment and noncredit workforce programs do not meet this requirement.)
  • Have not earned an associate or bachelor’s degree.
  • Have not been enrolled at CCRI or any college during the Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 semesters.The National Student Clearinghouse will be used to determine enrollment.
  • Have submitted a complete 2024- 2025 FAFSA. (Students who are ineligible for financial aid due to not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must complete the financial aid appeal process before or during the first semester of the scholarship.)

Other Considerations:

  • Prior outstanding balances with CCRI may be deferred upon review.
  • Students that have defaulted on their federal student loans will be considered. If you are in default, please contact [email protected] for information on the federal fresh start process for getting out of default.

Next Steps: 

1. APPLY: Submit a new application to CCRI for Fall 2024.
  • Your new application will reactivate your student account and allow you to register for classes.
2. FAFSA: Submit your 2024- 2025 FAFSA. 
  • This scholarship is not based on income. However, CCRI needs your FAFSA on file to be able to consider you for this scholarship.
  • If you need assistance, contact the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) to set up a free, 1-on-1 consultation with an advisor to walk through the FAFSA. You can contact the EOC at 401-455-6028 or [email protected].
  • You can also register for a FAFSA workshop here.
3. TRANSCRIPTS: Send official transcripts from other colleges that you've attended to [email protected].
  • Our Records Department will evaluate your transcripts to determine if any of your college credits can be transferred in to CCRI.
4. REGISTER: Register for your classes from your MyCCRI account.
  • Register early to get the best class schedule! How to Register.
  • Please consult the advising schedule to speak with an academic advisor if you need assistance choosing your classes.
  • You may only register for courses in your CCRI program of study.

See Advising Schedule

Is the scholarship income-based? 

No. However, our financial aid office still needs to have your FAFSA on file to be able to grant you an award. 

Is there anything the scholarship does not cover? 

The scholarship provides some assistance with the cost of books/course materials, but the entire cost may not be covered.

Can I take classes online and/or in person? 

Yes! CCRI offers many online courses to accommodate the busy lives of our adult learners. We also offer in-person classes for those who prefer face-to-face instruction, and some classes are a hybrid between the two. 

Can I take classes part-time? 

Yes!  You may take just one or two classes at a time if you have other obligations such as work and family to attend to. However, the scholarship will also allow you to attend full-time if you can. 

What classes can I take? 

You may only take classes that count towards your program of study. 

Can I get credit for my work/life experience? 

Yes! If your background includes military service, corporate training, work experience or other experiential learning that is related to your certificate or degree, you may be eligible for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL). Visit our prior learning web page to learn more about how you can shorten your time to degree completion, or contact our CPL Coordinator, Nicole Sheldon, at [email protected] Students with military training should visit for information and steps.


Will CCRI accept credits from another college? 

Yes! Request that your official college transcripts be sent to [email protected] for evaluation. Our records department will determine which classes can transfer in according to our policies.

Need Additional Financial Support?

RI Reconnect is here to help! This initiative was created to assist adult learners in Rhode Island reconnect with educational and job opportunities. Financial support is available for costs such as laptops, groceries, transportation and more! Fill out this short questionnaire to get connected with a RI Reconnect navigator!

Complete Questionnaire

In my first semester back through the Fresh Start Scholarship, I have earned two A's in my courses. This represents another chance for me to improve my life and secure a better future for myself and my family. I aspire to serve as an example for those who may believe it's too late to return and excel in their education. --Victor J. 

See what other scholarship recipients are saying!

This is a great beneficial program especially for people who are trying to return to college after a long pause or break, and really need the financial help. I cannot be more grateful to have been given the opportunity to get my degree thanks to Fresh Start!

– Allison A.

The Fresh Start Scholarship gave me exactly that: A fresh start to pick up from where I left off! These opportunities don't come along often and being able to take part has been a true blessing!

– Kamalich V.

I am extremely grateful for the scholarship at this time in my life. Starting college later in life with a family bears its own woes, but this opportunity just sweetened the goals I've set for myself. 

– Pamela D.

The Fresh Start Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to attend part-time without accumulating any debt while working two jobs and raising a family.

– Lisa L. 

The Fresh Start Scholarship has been an incredible blessing, changing my life for the better. As a single parent and aspiring artist, this opportunity has not only supported my dreams but also inspired me to become a role model for others in similar situations.

–Joann S. 

CCRI and the Fresh Start scholarship has provided me with the skills and opportunities to support my family's success and enrich the community where I live .

Genevieve K. 

I was thinking about going back to school when I learned about the Fresh Start Scholarship. The scholarship provided me with the opportunity to return to school and advance my career.

Tammy M.

The Fresh Start Scholarship allowed me to continue my goal of earning a degree while now facing new challenges of being an older adult learner with more responsibility outside of school.

– Jeremaih B.