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Financial Aid Resources

on Thu, 07/26/2012 - 10:26

Photo courtesy of Holyoke Community College

Below is a brief overview of a few of the many financial assistance programs that are available to eligible community college students. Aid is based on need, educational background, area of study and a host of other variables. For more details contact the institution you attend or plan on attending.

The Commonwealth Commitment Program- The Commonwealth Commitment program enables students to start out at a Community College and seamlessly transfer to one the state universities or UMASS for specific programs at a reduced cost.  The program offers a freeze on tuition and mandatory fees for all four years upon entry into the Commonwealth Commitment program. Students in the program will receive a 10% rebate off tuition & mandatory fees, payable via check or bookstore voucher at the end of every successfully completed semester (of 15 credits). Students must begin at one of the 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges, complete an associate degree within 2.5 years, transfer to one of the Massachusetts State Universities or UMass campuses, complete a bachelor's degree within 2 more years, maintain continuous enrollment and a cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Please note only specific academic programs qualify for tuition discounting through the Commonwealth Commitment.  Full program eligibility and details on tuition discounts and requirements are updated on the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s website. Learn More!

Access Grant Program- The Massachusetts Community College Access Grant Program significantly reduces the tuition and fees at community colleges for students enrolled in an associate degree program. Individuals with a household income of $36,000 or less can receive financial assistance sufficient to meet the full cost of tuition and fees. Students with a household income of more than $36,000 can also qualify for financial assistance. 

Federal & State Grants- Grant monies awarded to students are preferable to loans because there is no obligation to repay. Grants range from awards of $100-$4000 per academic year. Typically, these grants are combined with other forms of financial aid. Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Massachusetts State Scholarships, Massachusetts Tuition Cash Waiver Program, and Massachusetts Tuition Grants are available to students. For the most up-to-date information regarding these programs, call the financial aid office at your community college.

Loan Programs- Loans allow students to borrow money in order to pay for the cost of tuition. There are long-term, low-interest, variable-interest and no-interest loans available. Contact your college's financial aid office for more information.

Work Programs & Scholarships- A federal work-study program administered by the colleges is available to students wishing to earn extra money by working part time to meet the cost of college expenses. Typically, students may work 10-15 hours per week during the spring and fall semesters and up to 20 hours per week in the summer. More information regarding these programs can be obtained through the financial aid office at the institution that you decide to attend. 

Scholarship programs vary from one college to another. We suggest you meet with a financial aid counselor at your college or contact the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss the types of scholarships available and your eligibility.