UMass to Offer Scholarships to Top Community College Students
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
- Students in the top 10% of their community college class in Massachusetts will soon be eligible for a minimum of $5,000 annually to finish their degree at a UMass campus.
- The program includes guaranteed admission to UMass for top community college students in the state.
- Massachusetts last year funded MassReconnect, a last-dollar scholarship program to help residents ages 25 and older get free community college.
- The state also expanded financial aid for college students via the MASSGrant Plus Expansion.
Top community college students in Massachusetts will soon be eligible for a minimum of $5,000 annually from the University of Massachusetts (UMass).
That means at least $5,000 per year "above federal and private financial aid" if top community college students enroll at one of the UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, or Lowell, according to a press release from the school.
Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger said the new Community College Advantage Scholarship will help community college students "realize their dreams for a high-quality education that will prepare them for meaningful careers in the commonwealth."
The new program includes guaranteed admission to UMass for the top 10% of community college students in Massachusetts as well as at least $2,500 per semester — or $5,000 annually — for a combined minimum of $10,000 for the students' final two years of college.
The new scholarship comes after Massachusetts made sweeping state investments in higher education last year, including free community college via the new last-dollar MassReconnect scholarship for residents 25 years old and older who don't already hold a degree.
The state also expanded financial aid for college students via the MASSGrant Plus Expansion, which covers tuition, fees, and expected family contribution (EFC), as well as provides a $1,200 stipend for both full- and part-time Pell-eligible students. Full-time, middle-income students can also have their tuition and fees vastly reduced under that state investment.
The new UMass scholarship is designed to lead community college students to finish their associate degrees and then go on to complete their bachelor's degree at UMass. But, it also seeks to bolster the state's workforce and provide a pathway for historically underrepresented students to earn their degrees.
"We want to send a clear message that UMass welcomes highly talented community college graduates to continue their pursuit of a college degree on our nationally ranked Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses," UMass President Marty Meehan said in the release.
"We believe this initiative will lead to more community college graduates choosing to finish their four-year degree at UMass, which will accelerate their upward economic trajectory and strengthen the commonwealth's workforce."
Students need to finish their associate degree in the top 10% of their community college graduating class in order to qualify for the new scholarship. That will be calculated based on the end of the semester before UMass' financial aid priority deadline — so students applying for fall 2024 admission will need to have been in the top 10% of their class as of the end of the fall 2023 semester.
Students will also need to complete the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or "equivalent state financial aid application," be eligible for in-state tuition, have earned at least 45 credits that are transferable to UMass, and be on track to finish their associate degree before the fall 2024 semester.