On Jan. 4, 2019, Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed into law Act 8155, titled The Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship program. This bill was introduced by Sen. Tregenza Roach, who now serves as Lieutenant Governor, and was unanimously supported by the 32nd Legislature.

This Act is part of a national movement that is attempting to transform the nation’s understanding of the role and importance of higher education to the future of this country. Numerous states have enacted laws which provide free tuition for community colleges. Only the state of New York has enacted legislation that provides free tuition for four-year baccalaureate degrees. There are also various private colleges that have developed free tuition programs. However, with the passage and signing of Act 8155, the Virgin Islands becomes the first and the University of the Virgin Islands now becomes the first Historically Black College and University that provides comprehensive free tuition to students within its state or jurisdiction.