College is a significant investment, and it takes a lot of planning to find affordable ways to pay for it. Saving early and often will always help prepare you for these costs, but did you know that in Massachusetts there are additional opportunities to reduce college costs as you earn your degree? The following programs have been designed to help make higher education a reality for students and families across the Commonwealth.
As you begin the admissions process and start your search for affordable college options, make sure to explore Tuition Break. Created by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), Tuition Break provides Massachusetts students a reduction on tuition prices when enrolling in eligible out-of-state academic programs not offered at an in-state school. As you consider potential majors and colleges, make sure you make Tuition Break part of your planning
- Be a resident of a New England state
- Enroll at a New England college or university in an eligible major not offered at a public college or university in your home state
- Work with the college or university to ensure approved participation in Tuition Break
- Discount on your college tuition bill
If you plan to start your higher education journey at a community college, and then intend a transfer to a 4-year public Massachusetts school, take advantage of the new Commonwealth Commitment. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently created the Commonwealth Commitment to provide students a cost-effective pathway to earn both an associate and bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts.
- Complete a student participation form with an advisor at a MA community college
- Earn your associate degree at a MA community college within 2.5 years
- Transfer to a MA state university or UMass campus and complete your bachelor’s within 2 year
- Maintain a 3.00 GPA during continuous full-time enrollment
- Upon program entry, tuition and mandatory fee amounts do not increase
- 10% off tuition and mandatory fees
- MassTransfer Tuition Credit
- Guaranteed admission and transfer of credits
- No essay or application fee
As part of the Commonwealth Commitment, the MassTransfer Tuition Credit reduces tuition costs at 4-year public colleges and universities within Massachusetts for students who have already earned an associate degree. Before you begin your 2-year degree, plan to meet the requirements below to ensure you qualify for this benefit.
- Earn your associate degree in an approved A2B program with a GPA of 3.00 or higher
- After earning your associate degree, begin your bachelor’s program within one year. You can use the Course Equivalency Database to help with transfer planning.
- Enroll in a full-time or part-time day bachelor’s program
- Continue to earn a 3.00 or higher GPA
- Two years of tuition credits at a MA state university or UMass campus
And finally, whether you apply for college admission at a two or four-year school, know that Massachusetts offers several types of financial aid to help with college costs. Colleges and universities will automatically consider you for most types of aid available, though there are certain opportunities that require additional steps.
- Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Visit the MA Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) website to find out additional requirements for certain aid opportunities
- Demonstrate financial need or academic merit or meet other qualifications based on type of aid
- Grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, no-interest loans, and tuition reimbursement
As you plan for college, make sure to consider all of the opportunities available to help you save money on college costs. If you have questions or need assistance with your academic planning, contact us here at MEFA. We have college planning experts ready to help you make higher education more affordable and accessible for your family.