|Financial Aid Expansion for State Public College and University Students |
|10:48AM / Sunday, November 19, 2023|
BOSTON — Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll announced a financial aid expansion that will benefit approximately 25,000 students attending the state's public community colleges, state universities, and the University of Massachusetts.
With close to $62 million in new program funding, the MASSGrant Plus Expansion program will cover tuition, fees, books, and supply costs for Pell Grant-eligible students and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for middle-income students by up to half.
Governor Healey announced the program this morning at Salem State University's campus, along with Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, and Chair of the Board of Higher Education Chris Gabrieli. They were joined by Salem State University (SSU) President John D. Keenan; SSU students, faculty and staff; local and statewide elected officials; and public higher education leaders from across the state.
"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. "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."
Not including room and board, MASSGrant Plus Expansion will cover the full cost of tuition and fees for Pell Grant-eligible students, including, for the first time, the federal government determined expected family contribution (EFC) and an additional allowance of up to $1,200 for books and supplies. Middle income students – defined as those whose families earn between $73,000 and $100,000 annually in adjusted gross income -- will have their costs for tuition and mandatory instructional fees reduced by up to half of their out-of-pocket expenses. While middle-income students must be enrolled full time to qualify, the expansion will extend MASSGrant Plus financial aid to both full- and part-time Pell Grant-eligible students for the first time.
The program will be retroactive to the start of the fall 2023 semester for currently enrolled students. Students who have already completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2023-2024 academic year will not need to take any further action to benefit from the additional financial aid dollars. Funds for the current semester will be credited to their accounts. Students who may qualify but have not filled out the FAFSA should do so immediately.
MASSGrant Plus Expansion will invest approximately $61.7 million of additional state dollars into public higher education students. The funding for the MASSGrant Plus Expansion will draw on the $84 million delivered for financial aid expansion by Governor Healey and the legislature in the FY24 budget. Remaining funds will be used to support ongoing financial aid policies and to implement Massachusetts' new tuition equity law, which allows qualifying non-U.S. citizens, namely undocumented students, who have completed high school in Massachusetts to access state financial aid.
This financial aid expansion announcement builds on the Healey-Driscoll administration's significant investment in higher education earlier this fall, including a $20 million investment in MassReconnect, which made community college free for Commonwealth residents ages 25 and older regardless of income.