- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- Executive Office of Education
- Governor's Press Office
- Department of Higher Education
Media Contact for PHOTO RELEASE: Baker-Polito Administration Meets with Working Students Taking Advantage of Scholarship Opportunities
Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office
WORCESTER — Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito met with a group of college students at Quinsigamond Community College this morning to highlight the MASSGrant and MASSGRANT Plus scholarship programs, which are available to cover remaining tuition and fees for low-income community college students. The Governor and Lt. Governor were joined by Education Secretary James Peyser, Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago and Quinsigamond Community College President Luis Pedraja.
“With over 60 percent of all community college students attending on a part-time basis, expanding the MASSGrant aid opportunity to part-time students who are often working and caring for a family was extremely important to us,” said Governor Baker. “We were glad to make this opportunity available this fall and look forward to the difference it will make for many working students in Massachusetts.”
“Our goal with the MASSGrant Plus scholarship program is to increase opportunities for students to earn a degree,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “By removing the financial barriers, we hope to encourage more low-income students in the Commonwealth to see college as something that is feasible for them.”
The FY19 budget recently signed into law by Governor Baker included a $7.5 million increase to the MASSGrant scholarship program, so all community college students who qualify for federal Pell Grants can have their remaining tuition and fees fully covered by the state after their expected family contribution. This is the largest increase to the state’s MASSGrant financial aid program in more than two decades.
The scholarships are for full and part-time community college students. Previously, part-time students were not eligible for MASSGrant financial aid. The new program is known as MASSGrant Plus because it is an extension of the existing scholarship program.
“We thank the Baker-Polito Administration for creating the MASSGrant Plus that will benefit community college students. We know that up to 1,000 of our students, will benefit directly from this program. We have students who are working multiple jobs, and single parents trying to cobble together an education while raising children. This is a game changer,” Quinsigamond Community College President Luis Pedraja said.
Data shows that low-income, first-generation college students are disproportionately represented at community colleges, and due to financial pressures, the least likely to earn degrees and certificates in a timely fashion.
“Community colleges are an extremely important part of our higher education system. They open doors of opportunity to all people, regardless of where they come from and how old they are. They are an onramp into a four-year college degree,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “It is important for us to bridge those gaps to make it possible for everyone to attend community college who wants to, and to be able to earn degrees and credentials that are necessary for them to build their careers.”
“This MASSGrant Plus scholarship is significant in that it not only supports full-time students, but for the first time supports part-time students,” Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago said. “We are hoping to have a bigger impact on these students’ lives and their eventual success.”
The Department of Higher Education estimates approximately 5,000 community college students could be eligible for the additional state support, with an average unmet need of $1,526 per student.