Tuition Credit Information
Over the last three decades, the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs has assisted in the determination of eligibility of Native Americans living in Massachusetts for tuition credits (formerly known as the tuition waiver) at state colleges and universities. The office is authorized by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to certify that applicants are of Native American descent and eligible to receive the tuition credit.
The Commission uses membership in a Massachusetts tribal group (tribe, band, or clan) that is acknowledged by the Commission as a legitimate, historical tribal group as a criterion for making decisions on the eligibility of students for the tuition credit. In addition, the Commission uses official state and federal recognition status for issuing letters to the colleges/universities for tuition credit to those whose tribes are located outside of Massachusetts.
To be eligible for a tuition credit, the applicant must:
- Be Native American
- Be a Massachusetts resident
- Be enrolled in a degree program at a Massachusetts college or university
To apply for a tuition credit, the applicant must take the following steps:
- Fill out and mail or fax the Tuition Credit Form.
- Submit proof of residency – Mass. Driver’s License or Mass. I.D Card, utility bill in the applicant’s name, etc.
- Submit proof of college enrollment - Present a letter of acceptance from the college or university that the applicant will attend.
- Submit proof of tribal membership/affiliation-
- A valid tribal I.D card; or
- A letter on official letterhead from the tribal enrollment officer, committee, or other appropriate tribal official verifying membership status of the applicant, parents, or grandparents, or
- Family tree with accompanying birth records or documentation of Native American parents or grandparents (lineage or adoption records: the applicant must be Native American by blood and have proof of parents' or grandparents' tribal affiliation; or
- Genealogical records of lineage to a Native American person listed in Massachusetts 1859 Earle Report.
Letters for Native American Tuition Credits are sent from the Commission office to the colleges and universities twice a year, in the Fall and in the Spring.
Returning students should notify the Commission, using the tuition credit form, before the beginning of each semester. A completed tuition credit form should be received at the Commission office by the following deadlines:
- July 15th for the Fall Semester
- December 15th for the Spring Semester
The Commission will then send the names of the students to the colleges or universities. A copy of the letter will be sent to the student for his/her records.
To determine how much the credit will be for a new or returning student, it is advised that the student contact their financial aid department directly as the tuition credit is based on the students’ overall financial aid package.