Learn about Tuition Break, a Program That Can Help You Lower College Costs

Did you know that New England residents can enroll at out-of-state public colleges at a discount? In this webinar, presented by Jonathan Gowin, Director of Tuition Break for the New England Board of Higher Education, learn more about Tuition Break, a savings program specifically for New England residents that can save families approximately $9,000 per year. Over 2,500 degree programs are available.

Download the webinar slides to follow along.


Please note that this transcript was auto-generated. We apologize for any minor errors in spelling or grammar.

Jonathan Gowin: So without further ado, I will share that I've got a quick presentation. My aim is to share as concisely as possible what tuition break is, how it will work for you or for your students, why it matters, and we'll talk a little bit about the mechanics of it. And I will I will cover some very quick fast facts that we typically get many questions that we typically get about tuition break.

So happy to happy to be sharing everything that you need today. So moving forward. The first thing I want to share is just a little bit about us. We're a two person operation that helps run tuition break. There's myself happy to be here this evening. as well as my colleague and team member, Charlotte. Um, and so I say, I bring this up because I want to let folks know, I recognize how complicated the admission, the college admission and financial aid process can be.

And wanted to let you know that please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or, or my colleague, Charlotte. If you have any questions at all about tuition break or Or if there's anything that we can do to help, this is this is me. So this is me telling you, please do not hesitate to reach out. We'll answer anything that we can do.

So questions we're going to cover. What is the New England Board of Higher Education? What is this? What is this mysterious organization that operates tuition break? We're also going to talk about what tuition break is itself. And then again, how can you and your students benefit? So first things first, the New England Board of Higher Education, we're also known as NEBI, which is our acronym.

We are a regional, quasi public, uh, quasi, uh, non profit organization. We serve all of New England with the aim of making higher education better for all of our citizens. And so we do a lot of interesting work in the policy and advocacy space with legislators at the state level. We also work with many other folks across higher education.

I, in particular, spend a lot of time working with college admission officers, as well as financial aid officers and folks at organizations like MIFA, people who are really excited about making higher education more affordable. And that's really the main reason why we exist, is that we want to make higher education more accessible, more worthwhile for every single person who lives and works in New England.

That's a little bit about us, but. Tuition break, the real thing that you're here for. Tuition break, I will say at a high level, we are a cost savings opportunity that exists for students who are residents of a New England state. So how this works is that if you are a New England resident of one of the six states, and I'll say that we define New England as the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

If you are a resident of one of those six states and you would like to attend an out of state public college that's also within New England, so you want to go to from Massachusetts to Maine, for example, or if you want to go from Massachusetts down to the state of Rhode Island, we will, we can help you get a reduced tuition cost if you enroll at the out of state public institution.

So those are some, there are some key pieces. to unpack in there. First off, you have to be a New England resident. Secondly, you have to be attending a public college or university within New England, but outside of your home state, because if you're staying in state, then you'll already get in state tuition.

We exist to help you help lower that cost of out of state tuition at public universities. So those are a couple of the keys there. Being a resident, staying within New England, and enrolling at a public institution. And how it works is that when you enroll or when your student enrolls in an eligible major at any of these colleges or universities outside their home state, there's a possibility that you will be able to receive reduced tuition.

And I'll talk a little bit more later on about What does that reduce tuition look like? How does that work with other kinds of financial aid? Because there's some layers there that are really important for you and your students to know about. So we'll certainly unpack those as we go forward. But I do want to cover here, here's sort of broad strokes in terms of our impact because we have been around for a long time.

Tuition break has existed for the last 65 years. So we have a long storied history and a major impact that we've made on the region of New England. And we're also a trusted name. You may have heard in the past of something called the Regional Student Program or the New England Regional Program. They are the same.

Those programs and tuition break. We're all the same thing. So we have, we've had a number of different identities over the last several decades. But if you're thinking to yourself, I wait a minute, I thought, I think that this program existed under a different name in the past. You may be right. Uh, and so we have had a long storied, a long storied, uh, successful history here in the region.

Just last year alone, uh, we made a substantial impact on the region of New England. And here's a, here's some real quick numbers about that. Uh, we save students on average over $9,000 a year. So that's, that's a very substantial figure. And one that I definitely encourage you if you're a student or a parent to really remember is as you're looking out of state public universities here in New England.

I recognize the cost can be substantial. The cost of the, the, the sticker price of tuition, especially for out of state, it can be really intimidating. That is why tuition break exists to help you bring that cost down. Again, on average, we're saving students about 9, 000 a year over the course of a four year degree, nearly 40, 000 in savings.

That's very substantial. And so I want you to take that number and internalize that because I hope that it helps you look helps you when you're looking at out of state institutions. If you're assessing if a place outside of your home state outside of Massachusetts is the right fit. I also want to say that I talked a little bit, I talked a bit on the previous slide about how when you in order to receive tuition break you enroll in what's considered an eligible major.

I'll get to the eligibility part in a second, but I want to say that we have an incredible number of majors that are available at reduced tuition. As of this year, we're up over 2700 majors that are available, and these range from associate degrees to bachelor's degrees. to various kinds of certificates, all the way up even to master's degree programs and doctorate degrees as well.

So we do serve graduate students. And so if you're a student now and you're, you're looking at your life trajectory and thinking not only, not only do I want to get an undergraduate degree, but I'm, I'm setting my path towards graduate study as well. This is something to bear in mind is that tuition break is something that can travel with you.

through the distance of your education, regardless of how far you take that. We serve students at every level and something we're really proud of. So this is to say, we've got a lot of amazing academic programs available. And this number goes up pretty substantially every year. More and more of our participating universities and colleges are adding eligible programs for reduced tuition.

And we were really excited about that. We have over almost 9000 students last year that participate in the program. So really substantial number of students from across the region are taking advantage of tuition break. It's always exciting to see this number as well. I look forward every year to seeing how many families we've impacted.

So the fact that we're pushing up on 9000 is really something special. And then lastly. 38 participating four year universities and 43 participating community colleges. These are just numbers. What this translates to is that we actually tuition break is available at every single public community college and four year, four year university.

In New England, we are partners with every single public higher education institution in New England, so I that's another thing that we're incredibly proud of another major key that I hope that you take away from this presentation is knowing that if you're looking at a public college in New England.

They partner with tuition break, they are this is something that can be accessible for your students there. The extent of our partnership does vary from place to place, I'll share that, but I am very proud to say that, again, if you're looking at a public institution in New England, you can guarantee. That they are partners with us.

They do have tuition break opportunities available. So how's it work? That's what it is. But how does, what's the practical piece? What do you need to know as a student or as a counselor to either take advantage of tuition break or, or help guide a student towards receiving it? So I wanna revisit one thing I said before.

The first is it's about residency. So the first key to accessing tuition break, you have to be a, a resident in one of our six New England states, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. So that's the first step. The second step is really working to determine if your academic interests are available via tuition break at our various partner institutions.

Again, just given the high number of programs that we have available across the region, again, almost 3, 000. very likely that no matter what you're interested in, it's probably available at reduced tuition at a public institution here in the region. Uh, and so we do have a full listing of those programs on our, on our website, which is nevi.

org slash tuition break. I'll point out down there in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. is our URL. So, uh, I definitely recommend check out our website, check out the program listings. We've got a searchable database on there that you're able to, to interact with and search in various different dimensions to see if we have things that are available that are of interest to you.

Now, beyond those two things, how else do you access tuition break? The next step is really simply applying for admission to the institution. One of the things that I really like about tuition break and even talking about tuition break with families and counselors is that there's no additional paperwork that students need to do to access tuition break.

There's no additional application, there's nothing you need to submit to me, nothing that needs to be reviewed or, or, or, you know, in otherwise accepted or approved, simply by being a resident of New England, enrolling in an eligible academic program outside your home state of the public college. You are, you will receive tuition break.

There's no limitations around GPA or test scores or merit or anything like that. It's simply about being a resident of New England, attending an out of state public university. I will say, I always recommend that students do their due diligence and research the colleges that you're interested in, just to make sure there's no additional eligibility requirements for tuition break.

It is exceptionally rare that that is the case, but I always recommend that students do their due diligence because it just the more you know now the easier your experience through the financial aid process will be over time. So definitely look into that and take some time to familiarize yourself with the institution, which really brings me to number four.

Never hesitate to ask questions to engage with folks. It's not required that you connect with your admission counselor about tuition break. However, I do always recommend in the interest of dotting your I's and crossing your T's to reach out to that person that you're working with and to say, Hey, I understand that there's this tuition break thing out there for New England residents.

How does it work at this college? How does it work at this university? Is there anything else I need to do? Is there anything you need from me? I want to ensure that I, I know all of that. We are regularly in contact ourselves with our partners at the different colleges, but I always recommend that families also engage, uh, one because it's, it's helpful to, to get to know your admission counselor.

But also, you just want to make sure that all of your I's are dotted, all of your T's are crossed, uh, as, as things, as again, the college admission process can be stressful. The more, you know, the more you can act upon, the less stressful it will be. So I want to get into now this eligible programs piece that I've been alluding to for the last couple of slides.

What is this? What does it mean? Uh, what does it mean to enroll in an eligible academic program or eligible major? What, uh, and how does all that work? So I will say of those almost 3000 majors or academic programs that we have available through tuition break, they are categorized in one of two buckets, really.

The first bucket is what we call our specialized programs. The second are called flexible programs. Now specialized programs are, these are academic majors that are available at reduced tuition for students who live in a New England state where that academic program or that academic area is not available or offered at a public university in that state.

So it's something that it is, uh, so, so students who live in an area where perhaps, you know, in a state where fashion design is not offered, could be eligible for reduced tuition if they want to study fashion design in another New England institution. And so this is how the specialized program works, is that it's really about giving students opportunities for reduced cost tuition.

Uh, when they enroll in a program that they wouldn't be able to access in their home state. So it's really, really about providing access, really about making sure that it's, uh, it's fair to students who want to study those things that they couldn't pay in state tuition for even if they wanted to. So that's how the specialized programs category works.

Uh, we also have a new category, well relatively new, called flexible programs. Flexible programs have been around for about five years now. And how these work is that, uh, in our, so many of our colleges and universities have said, we're going to make our, uh, either all of our academic programs or a subset of our academic programs available at reduced tuition to all out of state residents of New England, regardless of whether that program is available in a student's home state or not.

So this is the institution simply saying, we would, we would like to provide more access for the students who live in New England. Therefore, we are going to we're going to offer some or all of our programs at reduced tuition, regardless of whether or not that that specific program is available in another home state.

So I will say that as of this past fall, as of just a few months ago, about a third of our partner colleges and universities Will they offer all of their academic programs through tuition breaks flexible policy. So I will say this is something that's really taken off more and more institutions are saying you know what we want to be.

We can see the cost of college rising and we want to be fair to folks, and we want to, we want to make that more accessible, so that students can take into consideration, as well as what you're studying, also the place that you're studying in and to think really critically about. Am I right? Am I the right fit for this institution?

Or is this institution the right fit for me? So that's one of the great benefits of seeing the flexible program really take off is that, you know, those are places where as a student or as a counselor, you can say. Your cost of tuition doesn't it doesn't matter what you study, you'll have some flexibility.

So that's something that we're really proud to see take off your tuition break. Now, I've been rattling on for the last few minutes about what tuition break is and kind of the nuance in the, or all the the mechanics of it. Now I want to dig into some of the nuances about how tuition break works. And these are typically questions that we get from students or family members or counselors.

And so I always like to talk through some of these because there's really important considerations that you'll want to keep in mind as you're searching for different colleges and thinking about if tuition break is the right fit for you. So the first question is really is about the academic programs piece.

And so you're in a situation and you're thinking to yourself, you know, my, my chosen major, it's not offered in my home state. And I also see that it isn't listed as a tuition break program at this out of state public college that I'm interested in. Can answer the question is often can I still ask, or can I still access the tuition break discount.

In that case, the tuition rate discount is not available, I will say, the nature of the specialized programs is such that colleges or universities can still can decide to not offer certain majors through tuition break. Uh, and so we, we're not able to compel, uh, institutions to offer reduced tuition, even if a program isn't available out of state.

Um, but also where, where this most often comes into consideration is there are certain academic program areas or degrees that are simply not offered by any New England public college. Uh, one great example of this, that Believe it or not is more popular than it may seem is professional golf management.

Um, I would say I get this question a couple times a year. Uh, unfortunately, so far as I know, there are no professional golf management academic programs or degrees that are available and taught here in the New England public colleges or universities. So this is, uh, this is something important to know about, um, about tuition break is that it is, again, it's a, it's an inter, it's an intra regional program.

And so if you're a student thinking that you want to go to college in Pennsylvania, or you want to go to college in the South or out on the West coast, tuition break, it wouldn't travel with you. It does remain only active if you decide to study here in New England. So again, it's a wonderful opportunity.

There's just considerations to take into account depending on what kind of college search. you're pursuing. So, I also, I, this is revisiting, uh, some things that I shared earlier. I often get the question, uh, about, you know, about graduate programs. Is, is tuition break only for students who are going for their undergraduate degree?

Uh, and the answer, the answer really is absolutely yes. Tuition break can be used for Advanced degrees, advanced certificates and credentials. We have over 250 certificates that are offered around the region through tuition break. And so, uh, those those become wonderfully affordable when you take in tuition break into account.

And as I mentioned as well, we have a substantial number of graduate degrees that are available. Uh, and so if you're a student really considering advanced study, particularly in the STEM fields, in the science or mathematics or medicine engineering fields that require a fair amount of advanced study, this is again something really important to be aware of, uh, in how you are searching for those advanced study options in universities.

So here we get into the weeds of how tuition break really works with some other financial aid opportunities, and I can I can talk a bit about some considerations for you as you're going through this as you're going through this process. So, can you combine tuition break with other financial aid and cost savings opportunities.

Important to know, absolutely yes. So, the first thing. To to really understand about tuition break, and I like I like to talk about this is that tuition break is it is a discount tuition break is I often consider it and talk about it for families is to consider it as the first line of defense when you are looking at lowering your college costs.

The tuition break is the first thing that comes in and takes your out of state tuition from here down to this level. After that. Then you get into the layers of scholarships, you get into the layers of grants, whether that's the Pell Grant or whether that's grant opportunities that are offered by the state of Massachusetts.

So, there are, so tuition breaking is something that works in tandem with other financial aid that you're receiving and I think that's, that's something that's really important for you to know. As you're going through this process, you're going to be getting financial aid award letters, and you're going to be trying to understand how all of these costs and pieces really fit together.

So that's something that's really important to know about tuition break, is that it's a discount that's applied really at the beginning of the process, and after that discount brings your cost down, things like scholarships and grants then. come into play. Uh, and so I always, uh, so that's a bit about tuition break, how tuition break works with financial aid.

I also want to take this opportunity, um, to always, you know, push completing the FAFSA. I know it's extra confusing this year. There's a lot of activity going on with the FAFSA as it's been revamped and relaunched by the federal government. And I know That is, it's incredibly stressful, um, but I definitely, it's something I highly, highly recommend you do as quickly as both, as possible, both how, as quickly as you're able to do it and as quickly as the, the application itself is functional for you.

So definitely do that as quickly as possible. Uh, and then the last point I like to make is that financial aid is, it's awarded really at the discretion of the college or the university. And so that's something that's important to know. is that yes, tuition break will work in tandem with everything else.

Uh, and it's important to know that that financial aid and as it relates to, uh, scholarships and grants being awarded, those really happen at the discretion of the college and the university as well. So what's the discount for tuition tuition break look like? I keep talking about it being a discount. So what does that actually mean again?

On average, It's about 9, 200 in annual tuition savings per that's per student per family. So it is a substantial amount of money. And as I talked about before, consider tuition break is your first line of defense. And so if we look at what's over here on the on the right hand side of the slide, What if you look at the tuition structure of a public college or university, you're going to see in state tuition.

That is what residents of that particular state are are charged for tuition. You'll see out of state tuition, which is what every non resident Of that state who attends that university is expected to pay. And then you'll also see at our on the websites for those institutions that are here in New England, you'll see their tuition break tuition rate, or it also, it may be called the New England the regional rate.

And usually, or all the time you will see that this tuition break tuition number. really rests in between the in state and out of state. And so since it's important to know about how tuition rate works, is that we are able to help bring the out of state costs down substantially. We may not be able to bring that, uh, that tuition rate all the way down to the in state rate.

So, so that. out of state and in state students are paying the same. That, that's pretty rare. It, uh, colleges have the option to offer it that way, although it is pretty rare that that's happened. It's typically about 120, the tuition break rate is typically about 125 to 150 percent of in state tuition. So it is a little bit more than in state residents pay.

But it's substantially less than the typical out of state tuition rate. Um, and so again, something really important to know as you're looking, as you're, as you're seeing the sticker prices, I know it can be shocking. I know it can be jarring, but always remember tuition break is a card that you have to play, particularly.

Uh, if you're particularly if you're considering an academic program that you know is eligible.

So my last two FAQs here, uh, and then I want to, I want to open it up for questions, uh, because I've certainly shared a lot. The first is what happens if I change from a tuition break eligible major to a non tuition break major? This is a consideration that a lot of students have. I know that Um, many students think about changing their major when they're in college.

I was, I was a student, I changed my major a couple of times when I was going through my undergraduate experience, and so it's certainly a consideration. I will say if you are in a tuition break eligible major and therefore getting the tuition break discount and paying reduced tuition, and you change to a major that is not a tuition break major, After that point, at that, at the point that you change at the next semester, you will, uh, your, um, at your tuition rate will go up to the standard out of state tuition rate from that point forward.

So definitely an important consideration for you as you think about what you're studying or as a counselor, as a, as a family member, as you're talking to your student about this decision, certainly important to take into account. you know, how, how deeply passionate and sure that the student is or how you are about studying that particular major.

And if there are other things that you're interested in that there's certainly nothing wrong with that, but considering are those other majors, uh, available, uh, for me, if I do choose to study at this institution, are they tuition break eligible as well? And then my final question here. What if I'm already in a non tuition break major?

Can I change into a tuition break major at that college? And the answer to that is usually, um, and I say usually only because I, I don't, I can't guarantee every time some institutions have, have policies that. Have a certain waiting period attached, but I will say that if you want to move from a non tuition break major into a tuition break major, the answer is almost always yes.

It does require some additional paperwork as you shift from major to major. Of course, it always does, but it is a little. There are some extra layers. When you are moving into a tuition break major, you'll have to talk to the registrar. You'll probably also need to talk to the campus representative for tuition break as well, but they will be able to help you.

And then, uh, the, as the opposite of the previous scenario, from that point forward, your tuition would be adjusted down to the typical, uh, tuition break rate. So this is something that, um, you know, you can. Not only can you decide to move away from a tuition break major, you can also decide to move into one at different points in your college career as well.

So as far as my spiel is concerned, that brings me really to the end of sort of my explication and I really want to hear what questions we have and be able to address, uh, whatever specific areas of interest you have. Uh, I do want to draw attention to this slide here, which I can leave up. Again, this is, uh, this has my name and our contact information.

My name is Jonathan Gowan. Again, director of tuition break. You'll find here on the left hand side and bottom of the slide. Our email address here at Nebby at for tuition break as well as our phone number. So if you have questions in the future, if we if if you think of a question down the road, please don't hesitate to reach out.

We're always happy to engage. We also do have a bit of a social media presence as well. And so if you're looking for regular updates related to financial aid and to tuition break. Uh, drop us a follow on our various social media platforms. Um, and most importantly, down in the bottom right hand corner of this slide, that is our web address as well.

So again, most important because on our website, we have our full academic program listing. So that is where I definitely recommend you go to begin exploring what academic opportunities are available to you so that you have a sense of what, uh, what you could potentially take advantage of. But that brings me really to the conclusion of my my spiel and I'm looking forward to answering whatever questions you have.

Thank you, Jonathan. We do have a couple

Shawn Morrissey: of questions already. And if people have additional questions, please put them in the Q and a portion and we can answer those for you. So the 1st question is, what if a major is offered in state? And it's an eligible program in another New England state, for example, electrical engineering.

Can you get tuition break in the, uh, at the out of

Jonathan Gowin: state school? You can, yes, as long as it's been determined, uh, that it is eligible. And I will say we, we go through an annual process every summer where we, uh, it's called our annual review, where we recertify. Every single one of our 2700 plus programs, we contact and work with every one of our partners across the region.

And so what you what you see on our website. in our program listings database that represents the most accurate and up to date eligibility. And so if it is, so if it's listed on there as eligible, it will be, it will be so for the next academic year. So we are always working one year in advance. I will say in that case, if it's a program that It is available and accessible here in your home state.

You're also seeing eligibility for a similar or identical program in another state. That would be a flexible program, in which case it's eligible for all residents of New England. So something important to know. Thank you.

Shawn Morrissey: You mentioned that there is no extra application to get the tuition break within the region, if it's applicable.

So if you don't know about tuition break and happen to apply to a regional participating college. to a qualifying area of study, would you automatically get this discount or is there something you have

Jonathan Gowin: to do? Yes, you will automatically get it and that's one of the other things that I, I really love about this is that you, while there's no application, you also don't need to know about it.

Um, I will say that we do our, we do a lot of outreach and promotion to try to get the word out so that families and students know and are aware and can ask and to take this into consideration. Um, although some folks. Some folks still don't know about tuition break and yet when they receive their financial aid award letters, they see that they've gotten some reduced tuition, which is, which is gratifying to hear is that I most important is that families are getting an affordable option.

They're getting a real and workable option for their college education and that's what that's what matters most to us. So we are we're really proud of the fact that Um, even though there is no application, our partner colleges and universities are still doing that work to as they're reading applications as they're admitting students and enrolling students, they're saying, based on eligibility.

And state residency. This student should receive tuition break and then factoring that into their financial aid award.

Thank you,

Shawn Morrissey: Jonathan. I don't see any other questions. I can give another minute or so. If anyone else has any questions, but it was very comprehensive. Presentation. Thank you for going through that in such detail, and it's a great program. I have to say, having worked at both Framingham State University and UMass Medical School, I know many students were able to get the reduced rate thanks to tuition break.

So, um, there's one last question. They should apply to the college first and then contact for guidance? Um, what do you recommend in that

Jonathan Gowin: case? Or it's a, that's a good question. I really, it's, um, the order of operations there isn't, uh, isn't overly important. I do. You know, I think it's always valuable. It always has value to contact your admission officer.

As soon as you can and and to let let them know that you're aware of tuition break and you want to know how it operates. Um, it's not required though. There isn't there isn't a specific or recommended order of operations. Either either is perfectly fine. Um, I I do always recommend that if you're aware of it, it never hurts to ask whether you've already applied or you're about to apply.

That's that's less important. I think the most important piece is that you reach out and you say, hey, I know, I know that this is, uh, I know that this is an opportunity that exists. Can you help me understand how it works here at Central Connecticut State or here at University of Connecticut or UMass Amherst that, uh, that you, that you do the outreach?

Shawn Morrissey: Okay. Thank you very much. I don't see any further questions. We've also recorded this webinar and the recording will be available, um, to watch it in the future.

Jonathan Gowin: Excellent. Thank you very much. Thank you. Have a great night. You as well.

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