BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Maura Healey announced an expansion to the state’s financial aid program on Wednesday that will help thousands of students.

The MASSGrant Plus Expansion program will help full time and part time students by covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and supply costs for Pell Grant-eligible students. The program will also help reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for students in middle-income families by up to half. This program will assist more than 25,000 college students in community college, state universities and UMass.

“For so many Massachusetts residents, higher education can be the ticket to their future career and economic stability. Our employers are looking to graduates of Massachusetts’ exceptional public colleges to meet their workforce needs, and those graduates are most likely to stay in Massachusetts. But far too many people are held back from pursuing the education of their choice because of high costs,” said Governor Healey stated, “This expansion of MASSGrant Plus will open doors for more students to access higher education, which will strengthen our economy as a whole. We’re grateful to our Legislative partners for making this funding available and look forward to our continued collaboration to make Massachusetts more affordable.”  

The expansion will help cover the cost of tuition and fees of Pell Grant-eligible students and provide an allowance of up to $1,200 for books and supplies. The expansion would not cover room and board costs.

Middle income families that earn between $73,000 and $100,000 annually in an adjusted gross income will also benefit from the expansion. Middle income students will have their costs for tuition and fees reduced by up to half of the out-of-pocket expenses. Middle income students must be enrolled full time to qualify.

“I’m thrilled that we’re able to deliver such a big investment and increase aid for nearly 25,000 public higher education students. By expanding access to higher learning, we’re able to connect even more students with the life changing opportunities, high quality educational experiences, and work-based training and skills development that our community colleges, state universities, and UMass offer,” said Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler. 

This program will automatically take affect for students already enrolled in college this semester and have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The program will be retroactive for the current fall semester and students currently in college will not need to take any further action. These funds will be credited to students and families’ financial accounts. However, if you are a student that may qualify but haven’t filled out you’re FAFSA, the state encourages you do to so now to earn these benefits.

As for future students, all they will need to do to qualify is to complete their FAFSA and the expansion program will be automatically added.

Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) stated, “It’s absolutely thrilling to see state investment put to work so beautifully on behalf of our students through the MassGrant Plus Expansion program. Kudos to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for this tenacious work and thank you to Senate President Karen Spilka for leading the Senate’s enduring commitment to breaking down financial barriers to higher education. I am tremendously excited to see how this expanded student assistance will catapult students, and our Commonwealth, forward.” 

“The Healey-Driscoll administration’s bold expansion of financial aid will open the doors of a world-class UMass education to students across the state and lower the cost for current UMass students,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “This will accelerate the upward economic mobility of our students, about one-third of whom receive Pell Grants now, and strengthen the Commonwealth’s investment in its talent pipeline, which is critical to sustaining our competitive edge.” 

What colleges and universities qualify for the MASSGrant Plus Expansion program?

  • Berkshire Community College
  • Bristol Community College
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • Cape Cod Community College
  • Greenfield Community College
  • Holyoke Community College
  • Massasoit Community College
  • MassBay Community College
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Mount Wachusett Community College
  • Northern Essex Community College
  • North Shore Community College
  • Quinsigamond Community College
  • Roxbury Community College
  • Springfield Technical Community College
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Framingham State University
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Salem State University
  • Westfield State University
  • Worcester State University
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell

Over the summer, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced the MassReconnect program, which made community college free for Massachusetts residents ages 25 and older no matter their income.

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