A college education has become a significant expense for most families and requires careful planning. Whatever your financial situation is, we encourage you to use this information to help you understand college funding so you can navigate the financial aid process with greater ease.
States provide many financial aid opportunities to help ease the cost of a college education. Please select the state you reside in to learn about state sponsored internships, scholarships and financial aid programs for undergraduate students and assistantships, fellowships, and residency programs for graduate and professional students.
For more detailed information on state financial aid programs contact:
Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
454 Broadway, Suite 200
Revere, Massachusetts 02151
Phone: (617) 391-6070
Fax: (617) 727-0667
Please go to this website for ALL the information for each of the programs listed.
The following are financial aid programs available to students who are residents of the state of Massachusetts.
The Foster Child Grant Program was funded by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2001. The program provides grants of up to 00 annually for fosterchildren to help pay for an education beyond high school at any institution of higher learning throughout the continental United States. The Foster Child Grant recipient must have signed an agreement with the Department of Social Services for care and services beyond age 18.
The MASSGrant is a grant assistance program funded by appropriations from the Massachusetts Legislature. The MASSGrant program provides need-based financial assistance to undergraduate students who reside in Massachusetts and who are enrolled in and pursuing a program of higher education in any approved public or independent college, university, school of nursing or any other approved institution furnishing a program of higher education.
The Massachusetts Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program (GMSGP) makes funds available to participating Massachusetts’ institutions of higher education and schools of nursing. At least one hundred percent of such funds must be used for direct financial assistance to needy Massachusetts’s undergraduate students to enable them to attend or continue to attend such institutions.
The Cash Grant Program is designed to assist needy students in meeting institutionally held charges such as mandatory fees and non-state-supported tuition. It is a complementary program to the Need-Based Tuition Waiver Program. The Cash Grant is designed as an offset of the Tuition Waiver Program for the purpose of providing financial support to those individuals who would be denied the opportunity for higher education, without such assistance. Since its inception, the Cash Grant has been utilized as supplemental grants in campus-based financial aid packaging strategies, representing an important mechanism for public institutions to assist needy students.
Demographic changes impacting current and future student population have a direct relationship to the number of part-time students who seek higher education. In Massachusetts, as in some other states, the number of part-time students has grown due to shifts in the states’ demographic and economic conditions. More adults now find themselves needing to return to the classroom on a less than full-time basis. The continuous increase in college costs is also requiring more students to reconsider their enrollment plans and to look at part-time programs as viable alternatives. The Commonwealth has recognized the above needs and established the Part-Time Grant Program to serve as a bridge between higher education opportunities and those segments of the Massachusetts population.
The Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program was established in recognition of the hardship that a family experiences upon the loss of a parent and or spouse who is killed or missing in the line of public service duty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This grant program was established to provide educational opportunity to the remaining family members. The Public Service Grant Program is the only scholarship program not based on demonstrated financial need, but rather entitlement.
The Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program was established by the Legislature for the purpose of providing financial assistance to Massachusetts residents who are currently employed as paraprofessionals in Massachusetts public schools, but wish to become certified as full time teachers. This grant is designed to help reduce financial barriers that often become obstacles for many paraprofessionals in attaining higher education. The program is also an attempt to help address the Commonwealth’s current teacher shortage. Financial need is not a requirement for the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant. However, recipients must annually file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The Educational Rewards Grant Program was established by the Legislature for the purpose of providing financial assistance to dislocated or incumbent workers to enable them to receive the education they need to transition into jobs in targeted high-demand occupations. The grant program emanates from the economic stimulus bill that is contained in Chapter 123 of the Acts of 2006 (Ch. 29 Sect. 2SSS of the M.G.L.). Such a bill is relative to the economic investments in the Commonwealth to promote job creation, economic growth, competitiveness and overall stability in the Massachusetts economy. This need-based grant program is to sreve as a last resort after all other federal and state financial aid resources have been exhausted in meeting postsecondary education enrollment costs. The Educational Rewards Grant Program also allows up to 30 percent of the award amount to be used by the student toward living expenses.
The Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship provides scholarships for students with demonstrated financial need who are from rural areas of Massachusetts and attend public institutions of higher education within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Program is a state-supported program whose mission includes providing educational opportunities toCommonwealth students who demonstrate academic promise and desire to attend post-secondary institutions. The Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Program was established in 1972 by the Massachusetts State Legislature as an early identification program to recruit students in the 10th and 11th grades whose socio-economic backgrounds and environmental conditions may inhibit their ability to persevere and attain educational goals.
To accomplish its mission, the Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Program has developed an extensive partnership of representatives from social service agencies, public and private secondary institutions, civic agencies, religious organizations, and the educational community. Students are nominated by guidance counselors, social workers, ministers and educators who are familiar with their circumstances and selected semi-finalists participate in a rigorous interview process. Each year, 25 students in the 10th and 11th grades are selected to receive awards of up to 50 percent (50%) of their calculated need at the college of their choice within the continental United States. The students that are selected for this program must have overcome major adversity in their lives (i.e. physical or mental abuse, catastrophic illness, etc.). Obstacles may be mental, physical, geographic or societal. Students must exhibit academic potential for post-secondary success. There are approximately 100 students that are currently enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States with the assistance of the Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship.
The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship awards non-need-based state-supported undergraduate tuition waivers to students who are awarded John and Abigail Adams Scholarship by the Department of Education. The purposes of the Adams Scholarship are to:
The Paul Tsongas Scholarship Program seeks to recognize achievement and reward Massachusetts students who have graduated from high school within three years with a grade point average (G.P.A.) of 3.75 and a Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T.) score of at least 1200 (or the American College Testing [A.C.T.] equivalent) and who also meet the one year residency requirement for tuition classification at the State Colleges. Students who meet the above residency requirement for tuition classification and who have pursued other endeavors for a minimum of five years are eligible to apply to a State College for the Paul Tsongas Scholarship Program under the exceptional life experience category set forth in the Guidelines. Eligible students receive a waiver of tuition and mandatory fees at a Massachusetts State College.
The Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program was funded as a pilot initiative by the Legislature for the purpose of increasing the quality and availability of teachers and care providers to work with young children in inclusive settings including infant/toddler, preschool and child care programs. The scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance for currently employed early childhood educators and providers who enroll in an associate or bachelor degree program in Early Childhood Education or related programs.
The Mathematics and Science (including Technology/Engineering) Teachers Scholarship Program was established as a pilot initiative by the Massachusetts Legislature for the purpose of providing financial assistance to teachers who are currently employed in Massachusetts public schools, but who have received waivers from certification regulations or are teaching outside their certificate area (out of field teachers). This scholarship serves to address the mathematics and science teacher shortage and is also designed to help reduce financial barriers that teachers often face when pursuing degree programs or required courses of study.
The Career Advancement Program Tuition Waiver is designed to reward Massachusetts’s public school teachers in their first three years of teaching who have passed all three components of the Massachusetts Teachers Test. It is further believed that the Career Advancement Program Tuition Waiver helps to increase the retention of new teachers during the first three years when attrition is highest; by rewarding teachers with career advancement opportunities. Eligible public school teachers receive up to three tuition-free state-supported graduate courses, one for each of their first three years of teaching. The value of the tuition waivers is approximately $300 per course.
The Categorical Tuition Waivers are a component of the Single Tuition Waiver Program and have the same purpose of maintaining access to the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities. The Categorical Tuition Waivers are designed to provide financial support to individuals who might not have the opportunity to achieve higher education, without such assistance.
The Collaborative Teachers Tuition Waiver encourages Massachusetts’s public school teachers to become mentors to full-time student teachers from State colleges and universities. The program is designed to support the professional development of public school teachers in the Commonwealth. Under the agreement, the mentoring teacher receives a waiver for up to one graduate-level course for each student teacher he/she mentors. The waiver can be used for courses in education or related to the teacher’s major field offered by State colleges and the University of Massachusetts.
In response to the results of Hurricane Katrina, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education created the Commonwealth Hurricane Katrina Emergency Tuition Waiver to provide free tuition to undergraduate students displaced from attending colleges and universities due to Hurricane Katrina and who are attending public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.
The Department of Social Services Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Children is designed to provide financial support for higher education to foster children in state custody who were neither adopted nor returned home. It is believed that these children have few support systems and significant needs. Without the benefit of parental support, foster children, whose lives are filled with numerous obstacles, face the additional challenge of financing their education when they enroll as students in higher education institutions. While foster care children qualify for financial aid, many face the burden of acquiring student loans to meet their educational costs. The DSS Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Children provides a valuable resource for them and will help reduce their educational loan debt.
The DSS Adopted Children Tuition Waiver is designed to lessen the financial burden on adopting parents in the Commonwealth. This Waiver extends eligibility to all children and young adults, age twenty-four or under, adopted through the Department of Social Services by state employees or eligible Massachusetts residents, regardless of the date of adoption. The tuition waiver encompasses 100% of tuition for state-supported courses at all of the Massachusetts public institutions of higher education, excluding graduate courses and courses in the MD program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
The Graduate Tuition Waiver is another component of the Single Tuition Waiver program that provides incentives to individuals to enroll in graduate programs at Massachusetts public colleges and universities. It is the underlying principle of the Graduate Tuition Waiver policy that, by providing these incentives, the public higher education system will continue to improve student quality and maintain the collaboration that is necessary to the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.
The High Technology Scholar/Intern Tuition Waiver Program provides an incentive to business and industry to support the computer information technology/science and engineering students through scholarships and internships. Public higher education institutions are encouraged to seek funding from business and industry for computer and information science and technology and engineering scholarships that the Commonwealth will, in turn, match with a full waiver of the cost of a student’s annual tuition charges. In addition to scholarships and tuition waivers, students participating in the program gain real life experience in their chosen paths through business and industry internships. This program provides added incentive for high-achieving high school students to attend public institutions of higher education in Massachusetts.
The Incentive Program for Aspiring Teachers Tuition Waiver is designed to complement the Tomorrow’s Teachers Scholarship Program whichseeks to attract qualified high school students to the teaching profession by providing four-year tuition and fees scholarships. The Incentive Program for Aspiring Teachers provides support to qualified students who after enrolling in college and earning a minimum 3.0 grade point average, decide to enter a certification program in a field with demonstrated teacher shortages. Students who participate in the program must commit to teaching for two years in a public school in the Commonwealth, upon successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from the college or university. Students who participate in the program but do not complete their college education within four years of entering the certification program or who fail to complete their two-year teaching commitment within four years following graduation from college, shall be obligated to pay the Commonwealth the full amount of the tuition waivers granted through the Incentive Program for Aspiring Teachers.
The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority-Prepaid Tuition Waiver Program allows a participating public institution of higher education to waive the amount of tuition that would otherwise be due from the eligible student if the tuition charged by the participating public institution exceeds the amount received as a tuition credit pursuant to the MEFA Prepaid Tuition Program for the year the tuition credit is redeemed, in direct proportion to the eligible student’s participation in the Prepaid Tuition Program.
Created in 1981, the Massachusetts Tuition Waiver Program exists to offset increases in tuition and maintain access to the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities. An underlying goal of the Tuition Waiver Policy is that future public sector tuition increases be matched with a concomitant increase in the maximum award for the financially neediest students. Another principle of the Tuition Waiver Program is the belief that the benefits of higher education must be available to all citizens. Over the years, tuition waivers have been utilized as supplemental scholarships in campus-based financial aid packaging strategies.
The Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Tuition Waiver awards non-need-based state-supported undergraduate tuition waivers to students who are awarded the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery by the Department of Education. The purposes of the Certificate of Mastery are to:
The Commonwealth September 11, 2001, Tragedy Tuition Waiver recognizes the challenge that children or spouses of victims of the national tragedy may face in their attempt to pay for a college education. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has expanded the Tuition Waiver Program toinclude residents of the Commonwealth who are directly affected by the September 11 events. The Commonwealth September 11, 2001 Tragedy Tuition Waiver provides a 100 percent tuition waiver to children and widowed spouses of Massachusetts residents for any state supported course or program offered by a Massachusetts public college or university.
The University of Massachusetts Exchange Tuition Waiver Program encourages direct reciprocal and regional cross-registration agreements where the University enters into cooperative learning contracts with other institutions allowing students to receive comparable waivers for cross-institution registration. Under such an agreement, University of Massachusetts students attend exchange institutions without tuition charge and exchange students attend the University without tuition charge, or with payment at in-state rates to the home institution. These exchange programs are limited and involve only institutions with which the University has signed a cooperative learning contract and where the University feels the experience of the exchange program significantly enhances the learning experience of the students who participate.
The Valedictorian Program Tuition Waiver is designed to attract and enroll Massachusetts’s high school students who have been designated as valedictorians. The program allows a high school valedictorian to become eligible to receive a waiver of tuition at any public higher education institutionin Massachusetts. Since it opened, the program has predominantly supported the University of Massachusetts University Scholars Program .
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminar provides experiential education opportunities to students of the Massachusetts public college and university system. The Center uses the resources of the nation’s capital to provide high-quality learning experiences to enhance student’s academic, civic, and professional development, and in this way, seeks to promote future leadership for the public, private, and non-profit sectors of society. The Washington Center’s internship placements include positions in government offices, communication organizations, law firms, trade and professional associations, human right groups, and a variety of companies and other organizations. Internships are coupled with required academic courses.