Need-Based Tuition Waiver Program

The following is a brief description for students. Institutions should refer to the most recent guidelines for information.

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The Need-Based Tuition Waiver Program was created in 1981 to offset increases in tuition. A principle of the program is the belief that the benefits of higher education must be available to all citizens. An underlying goal of the program is that future public sector tuition increases would be matched with an increase in the maximum award for the financially neediest students. Over the years, tuition waivers have been utilized as supplemental scholarships in campus-based financial aid packaging strategies.

Additional Resources

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for a Need-Based Tuition Waiver, a student must:

  • Be a permanent legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year prior to the opening of the academic year.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or non-citizen eligible under Title IV regulations.
  • Have applied for financial aid, using the standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Be in compliance with Selective Service Registration.
  • Not be in default of any federal or state Student Loans for attendance at any institution or owe a refund for any previous financial aid received.
  • Enroll in at least three undergraduate credits per semester in state-supported undergraduate degree or certificate program.
  • Not have received a prior bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
  • Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with institutional and federal standards.
  • Demonstrate financial aid need as determined by the federal methodology need analysis criteria.

Eligible Institutions

An eligible institution is within the system of public institutions of higher education under section 5 of Chapter 15A of the General Laws.

Award Amounts

Need-based tuition waivers should generally be awarded during the financial aid process as a component of the student's financial aid package. Therefore, students should be notified of awards via the financial aid award letter. Students qualifying for a tuition waiver may be granted partial or full waivers depending upon the institution's policies.

An individual student tuition waiver for an award period may not exceed the actual campus tuition charge or, in combination with other resources in the student's financial aid package, exceed the student's demonstrated financial need.

View the full value of tuition waivers, by school, for a full-time student in the current academic year.

How to Apply

Contact the financial aid office at the institution you are attending or plan to attend for application requirements and deadlines. You can also call the DHE’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617) 391-6070 to obtain more information.

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