Massachusetts College Grants

With economic downturns and the rising cost of tuition, finding the money for a college education can seem daunting. Thankfully, there are a great many financial aid options for Massachusetts residents pursuing higher education. In addition to federal aid, Massachusetts students can apply for various state-run grant programs, scholarship funds and tuition waivers. By understanding your eligibility and how to apply for assistance, you can begin to take the steps necessary for funding your education.

Federal Student Aid and Title IV Programs

The first step for students of any state is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is the gateway for federal financial aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

During the application process, students provide financial information and a list of schools they would like to attend. Federal Student Aid then transfers this information to the schools listed on the application and students receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).

The SAR details a student’s need and eligibility based upon the financial information provided. Included in the SAR is the calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount of money that a student’s family can afford to contribute toward the cost of tuition. Students with low EFC calculations are eligible for more aid.

When submitting a FAFSA application, a student can apply for the following Title IV federal programs:

  • Pell Grants: Available to undergraduate students that do not have a prior bachelor’s or professional degree.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Available to undergraduate Pell Grant recipients that demonstrate exceptional financial need. This money is set aside for families with the lowest Expected Family Contribution.
  • TEACH Grant Program: The Teacher Education Assistance for College or Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program is available to students that plan to, and sign an agreement to, become full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private school that serves low-income students. For more information, consult the TEACH Grant Program Fact Sheet.

Massachusetts Need-Based Grants, Scholarships and Tuition Waivers

MassGrant Program

The MassGrant Program offers need-based grants to undergraduate students that are permanent legal residents of Massachusetts enrolled or planning to enroll in an associates, bachelors or certificate program. Students may use this grant at any public or private institution authorized to provide undergraduate degrees in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania or the District of Columbia.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Demonstrate need with an Expected Family Contribution between $0 and $5,273 and qualify for Title IV Federal aid, with no previous financial aid loans in default.
  • If male, comply with Selective Service Registration laws.
  • Be enrolled full-time and maintain steady academic progress, with at least 12 credits per semester.

To apply for the MassGrant Program, complete and submit a FAFSA application.

Need-Based Tuition Waiver

The Need-Based Tuition Waiver program offers waivers for the neediest of students to offset increases in tuition. The goal of this program is to bridge the gap between tuition and the maximum award amounts available from other financial aid packages or strategies.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as a legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year before the start of the academic year.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration
  • Maintain academic progress and enroll in at least three undergraduate credits per semester at an institution within Massachusetts’ system of public institutions of higher education listed in Section 5, Chapter 15A of the General Laws.
  • Not have received any prior bachelors or professional degree.

To apply, contact your financial aid office or the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Massachusetts Cash Grant Program

A complimentary program of the Need-Based Tuition Waiver, the Massachusetts Cash Grant Program provides financial assistance to cover non-tuition, mandatory fees charged by the institution.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as a legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year before the start of the academic year.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration.
  • Maintain academic progress and enroll in at least 3 undergraduate credits per semester at an institution within Massachusetts’ system of public institutions of higher education listed in Section 5, Chapter 15A of the General Laws.
  • Not have received any prior bachelors or professional degree.

To apply, contact your financial aid office or the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Massachusetts Part-Time Grant Program

The Massachusetts Part-Time Grant provides financial assistance to students who cannot afford to attend school due to economic or demographic issues, and choose instead to take classes part-time while working.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as a legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year before the start of the academic year.
  • Maintain academic progress and be enrolled in at least 6 but no more than 12 credits per semester.
  • Qualify for Title IV federal aid and have no previous financial aid loans in default.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration
  • Not have received any prior bachelors or professional degree.
  • To apply for the Massachusetts Part-Time Grant Program, complete and submit a FAFSA Application.

Massachusetts Merit-Based Grants, Scholarships and Tuition Waivers

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Program

This merit-based scholarship awards aid to outstanding high school students based upon their Grade 10 MCAS scores. The scholarship awards a waiver for up to, but not exceeding, the full cost of tuition. This scholarship can be used at any school within the Massachusetts public institutions of higher education system listed in Section 5, Chapter 15A of the General Laws.

Eligible Students must:

  • Score in the Advanced category in either the Math or English language arts section of the exam, and score in the Proficient or Advanced category in the other section.
  • Receive cumulative MCAS scores that place the student in the top 25% of their class.
  • Be a US citizen/eligible non-citizen and a permanent resident of Massachusetts.
  • Have no prior undergraduate degree awarded, as well as having no prior education loans in default.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA during the first year to qualify for the next year.
  • Complete a FAFSA Application.

There is no application process for this scholarship, as students with the proper test scores are automatically eligible and will be contacted during their senior year regarding awards.

Paul Tsongas Scholarship Program

Named for a former United States Senator of Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, this merit-based scholarship provides financial assistance to students with high GPAs (3.75+) and SAT/ACT scores. The recipient receives a waiver for tuition and other mandatory fees at a Massachusetts state college.

Eligible students must:

  • Have graduated high school within 3 years of the award.
  • Be a US citizen/eligible non-citizen and a resident of Massachusetts for at least one year prior to the start of the academic year.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration.
  • Maintain a 3.3 or better GPA each year for continued eligibility.
  • To apply, contact the financial aid office of the Massachusetts state college you wish to attend.

Massachusetts State College Links

Massachusetts Grants, Scholarships and Waivers for Leadership and Community Service

James W. Hunt, Jr. Community Health and Public Service Scholarship

This scholarship, sponsored by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, provides $2,000 cash awards to students, both undergraduate and graduate, that demonstrate an interest in public health and service through volunteer work or academic study.

To apply, students must submit the James W. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship application with an essay (2 pages or less) describing their interest in health and public services. Other optional submissions include letters of support or financial need statements.

Mail application and inquiries to:

James W. Hunt Jr. Scholarship c/o Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
40 Court Street, 10th floor
Boston, MA02108
Email: massleague@massleague.org
Phone: (617) 426-2225

Massachusetts Grants, Scholarships and Tuition Waivers for Teacher Education

Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program

Benefiting paraprofessional educators, such as teacher’s assistants or classroom aides, that are employed in Massachusetts public schools, the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant provides financial assistance for those who wish to continue their education to become certified teachers.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a US citizen/eligible non-citizen and a resident of Massachusetts.
  • Be employed as a paraprofessional in a Massachusetts public school for a minimum of 2 years or plan to acquire certification in a high-need field, such as math, science, or special education.
  • Enroll in an undergraduate degree program in a Massachusetts public college.
  • Have not already received a bachelor’s degree.

To apply, complete and submit a FAFSA Application and the Paraprofessional Teachers Preparation Grant Application.

Early Childhood Education Scholarship

This state-run scholarship offers aid to students who currently work in preschools and after-school programs for infants, toddlers, and elementary school children. The grant provides aid to teachers who are enrolling in an associates or bachelors degree program for Early Childhood Education.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be a US citizen/eligible non-citizen and a resident of Massachusetts.
  • Qualify for aid under Title IV Regulations and not be in default of a state or federal education loan or grant.
  • Be employed as an educator or provider in a preschool or after-school licensed or authorized by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).
  • Maintain employment in this field while pursuing the approved course of study, and sign an agreement to continue employment as an early childhood educator or provider in Massachusetts upon completing the degree requirement, or repay funds.

To apply, complete the ECE Scholarship application.

Math and Science Teachers Scholarship Program

Established to address the shortage of Math and Science teachers in Massachusetts public schools, the Math and Science Teachers Scholarship provides financial assistance to teachers obtaining the initial educator license in the Math or Science field.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Be an educator of Mathematics or Science in a Massachusetts public school either full- or part-time.
  • Be a US citizen/eligible non-citizen and a resident of Massachusetts.
  • Be enrolled in up to 3 courses per semester, pursuing a degree in a state-approved education program.
  • Sign an agreement to continue teaching Mathematics or Science in a Massachusetts public school for a term of service after completion of courses or program or repay funds as a loan.
  • Be eligible for aid under Title IV Regulations and not in default of a state or federal education loan.
  • Complete and submit a FAFSA Application.

To apply, complete and submit the Math and Science Teachers Scholarship Application.

Career Advancement Program Tuition Waiver

The Career Advancement Program Tuition Waiver is for the continuing education of teachers currently employed in Massachusetts public schools. With a value of about $300/course, this waiver pays for 3 graduate-level courses during the first 3 years of teaching (one course per year). This waiver is redeemable at the 9 Massachusetts state colleges or the 4 campuses of the University of Massachusetts.

Eligible teachers must:

  • Have passed all three sections of the Massachusetts Teachers Test.
  • Work in the public school during the same academic year of the award.
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as a legal resident of Massachusetts.
  • Have no previous education loans in default.

To apply, contact the financial aid office of the institution you wish to attend.

Massachusetts State College Links

University of Massachusetts Links

Grants for Tragedy-Based Need and Public Service Family Members

September 11, 2001 Tragedy Tuition Waiver

This tuition waiver provides 100% tuition for any state-supported program in a Massachusetts public institution to the children and spouses of those lost in the 9-11 tragedy. Eligible institutions are any that are within the Massachusetts system of public institutions of higher education listed in Section 5, Chapter 15A of the General Laws.

Recipients must provide:

  • Legal birth certificate.
  • Death certificate of spouse, parent or legal guardian.
  • Proof that the death was a result of the terrorist attacks on 9-11.

To apply, contact your financial office or, for further information, contact the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program

This state-supported grant provides financial assistance to family members of those killed or gone missing in the line of public service duty, such as police, military personnel and firefighters. This grant awards full-time tuition for students planning to attend a public college or university.

Eligible recipients must:

  • Provide documentation to evidence that the student is the child or widowed spouse of a Police Officer, Firefighter, or POW/MIA.
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as a legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year before the start of the academic year.
  • Maintain academic progress and be enrolled in at least 6 but no more than 12 credits per semester.
  • If male, comply with the laws of Selective Service Registration.
  • Not have received any prior bachelor’s or professional degree.

Interested students can access the Public Service Grant Application online, or contact the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Massachusetts Police Association Scholarship

MPA awards annual scholarships of $1,000 each to 35 children of current, retired or deceased Massachusetts Police Officers that are in good standing or were at the time of retirement or death. Eligible students must plan to attend school during the awarded year.

Interested students can download the MPA Scholarship Application and provide the following:

  • High school/college transcript
  • Any letters of recommendation
  • 2″ x 3″ photo
  • Application signed by MPA Secretary/Collector

Mail the application and documentation to:

MPA Scholarship
Chairman Alan Andrews
1 Benham Street
Haverhill, Ma 01830

Massachusetts Geographic-Specific Grants and Scholarships

Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

The CFWM manages a number of scholarships and loans available to students attending institutions of higher education in the United States. These scholarships are typically high school, town or county-specific for students that are residents of Western Massachusetts.

Consult the list of CFWMA Fund Descriptions to see if you qualify through your high school, town or county.

If you qualify for a CFWMA scholarship, there is one common Community Foundation Application for all the scholarships under the foundation’s management. The application is accepted each year from January to March 31 for eligibility in the next academic year.

In addition to the application, students must provide the following documentation:

  • Academic transcript bearing the official school seal or signature.
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) generated after completion of a FAFSA application, listing both the Expected Family Contribution and Adjusted Gross Income.
  • Any special documentation required for specific scholarship funds, such as the MassMutual Scholars Career Pathway Program.

To apply, submit the application and required documentation to:

Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts
1500 Main Street, P.O. Box 15769
Springfield, MA 01115
Tel: 413-732-2858
Fax: 413-733-8565
Email: scholar@communityfoundation.org

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