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NKU and Gateway Announce River City Promise Program

New Pathway from High School to Career with Free Tuition


Feb. 4, 2020— Northern Kentucky University and Gateway Community & Technical College announce the River City Promise Program that offers free tuition and enhanced benefits for Pell eligible high school students from Northern Kentucky’s communities. 

River City Promise builds upon the Gateway2NKU dual admission program which offers explicit degree-pathways for students by eliminating the financial barriers of college. The program applies to students from Bellevue, Dayton, Holmes, Lloyd, Ludlow and Newport High School who graduate in May 2020 and beyond. 

“To truly increase access, it takes a wholistic approach to ensure students have a clear path on their educational experience,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “As we were renewing the successful Gateway2NKU program, it became clear that we could make a greater impact by extending it to high school students, so they begin their higher education journey with support from both institutions.”

All students participating in the RCP and Gateway2NKU programs will have a newly dedicated Service Center on Gateway’s campus for a smooth transition between the two institutions. It provides advising, financial literacy, admissions guidance and career alignment services.  

“Renewing our Gateway2NKU program strengthens, not only the bond between Gateway and NKU, but also our region,” said Gateway President Dr. Fernando Figueroa. “Having two strong education institutions working hand-in-hand to help our students succeed will help to ease our region's highly skilled workforce needs.” 

NKU students also benefit from Gateway2NKU’s reverse transfer–once they reach 60 hours, they can apply to receive their associate degree from Gateway. Additional benefits include joint recruitment and marketing opportunities, integrated orientation to ease the transition to campus and access to shared facilities. 

“This partnership shows the commitment both institutions share in providing opportunities for students to earn highly-valued degrees. River City Promise promotes student success and social mobility,” said Kimberly Scranage, NKU’s vice president for Enrollment and Degree Management. 

Since its inception in 2013, NKU has graduated 465 Gateway transfer students, with 128 participating in the Gateway2NKU program. 

“The announcement of the River City Promise Program is a tremendous boost to our region's efforts to grow and retain talent," said Gene Kirchner, vice president and COO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. "Northern Kentucky is experiencing a workforce shortage. Partnerships like this are critically important to ensuring that young people have access to educational opportunities which directly align with the current and future demand for skilled workers.”    

To learn more about the River City Promise Program or the Gateway2NKU partnership, visit the website.

About Gateway: Gateway is Northern Kentucky’s only public, two-year comprehensive community and technical college, and its SACS accreditation.  SACS accreditation means that Gateway students can transfer their course credits to four-year colleges and universities throughout the nation. With three convenient locations, Gateway is Northern Kentucky’s first step to a better life. Learn more here

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit