PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island State Police are investigating how a top aide to a state lawmaker received nearly $50,000 in free tuition.

Former Democratic state Rep. Frank Montanaro Jr., who now serves as an aide to state House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, benefited from free tuition from Rhode Island College while on leave. He said last month he will pay the money back.

A state police spokeswoman said Monday that an investigation has been launched at the request of the attorney general's office.

Montanaro has said he was entitled to free tuition under his union contract. His attorney tells WPRI-TV his client agreed to meet with police last Friday and "will continue to cooperate."

Mattiello tells The Providence Journal that Montanaro did the "right thing" by agreeing to pay the money back.