Raimondo tells NBC 10 she's willing to modify free tuition plan following poll results

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she is willing to compromise on her free college tuition plan. (WJAR)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she is willing to compromise on her free college tuition plan.

“I want this passed. And I am open to amendments to make it better,” Raimondo told NBC 10 News Wednesday during an exclusive interview on Connect to the Capitol with Dan Jaehnig.

Raimondo was reacting to a Bryant University poll that finds 60 percent support of her plan to give in-state students two years of free tuition at state colleges.

But the survey also found overwhelming agreement -- 81 percent -- to require students to have certain high school grades to be eligible, and 62 percent wanting a family's ability to pay factored in, which Raimondo's plan does not.

“I am absolutely listening to that feedback. And yes, I am open to changes to the program and I've said that to the legislature," Raimondo told NBC 10. "So I say, we've got to get this done. This is a game changer for our economy."

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who has criticized Raimondo's plan, was quick to point out the part of the poll that indicates people want stipulations on students who get the money.

“So that's a much different plan than is being proposed right now. It almost sounds like a scholarship program people are supporting,” Mattiello told NBC 10.

New York just passed a tuition plan that limits the program to families with an income under $100,000, requires students to maintain a minimum GPA, and requires students to stay in New York for as many years after graduation as they received the aid.

“We'll continue to look at education, but it'll probably be more around the lines supported by the public than the plan that is proposed,” Mattiello said.

He also said the focus should be on kindergarten through high school education.

“Let’s concentrate on fixing the system we have before creating new systems that may not be as effective as we would like,” Mattiello said.

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