The state of Massachusetts believes that money should not be a barrier to receiving a quality secondary education. Resources, grants, scholarships, student loans and tuition waiver programs exist to help students pay for college. The Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance maintains a current list of resources for students who would like to find money to attend school. Nearly all of the grants, scholarships, and loans are contingent upon the applicant completing and filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). The information gathered using this instrument can be utilized across many platforms. Many of the grants that are offered in Massachusetts are earmarked for students who identify with a certain group, while others have criteria that includes GPA, or the family’s income. Most of the money available for students is renewable each year, but may impose a limitation as to how many semesters the assistance is offered. The following list offers an overview of some of the most popular education grants and loans in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts State-Based Grants
Foster Child Grant
The Foster Child Grant Program is a relatively new program, having been established in 2001. Foster children who wish to attend school can qualify to receive approximately $6,000 in assistance to attend college, yearly. Those who receive this grant must have a signed agreement with the Department of Children and Families.
The MASSGrant Program
The MASSGrant program is based on the need of the applicant and is available to undergraduate students who live in Massachusetts. Funded by the state legislature, this grant is available to students who are enrolled in an approved higher education university or institution.
Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program
The Massachusetts Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program is made available for undergraduate students in the state. The funds are issued through participating universities and schools of nursing, who may have additional rules and regulations for disbursement.
Cash Grant Program
This program is considered a supplementary program to the Need-Based Tuition Waiver Program in the state. The program covers gaps in the monetary support offered through other programs, and can be used to cover institutional fees and out-of-state tuition. This award is most often issued by various Massachusetts colleges to ensure that needy students are not prevented from attending college due to mandatory institutional charges.
Part-Time Grant Programs in Massachusetts
The U.S. has seen an increase in part-time students, and as a result, the number of grants available have grown. In Massachusetts, there are several that are available for students to access. It is assumed that the funds received through this program can serve as a bridge between opportunities in higher education programs and segments of the population in Massachusetts who must enroll as part-time students due to economic circumstances.
Public Service Grant Program
The Massachusetts Public Service Grant is for children or spouses of public servants who have worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and who were killed in the line of duty. Demonstrated need is not required for this grant program.
Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program
The Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program is a program geared toward assisting paraprofessionals in their aspirations for becoming fully licensed teachers. This grant reduces the financial burden of returning to school, as well as addressing the public teacher shortage in the state. Financial need is not one of the primary requirements, though information is retrieved using the FAFSA application.
State Funded Loans in Massachusetts
Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program
Similar to subsidized loans offered by the federal government, the state of Massachusetts offers no-interest loans to qualifying, needy students. Residents attending colleges and institutions of higher learning in the state may apply for a zero-interest loan to meet the costs of tuition. Students are given 10 years to repay the loan after graduation.
Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program (MLRP) for Health Professionals
Primary health care professionals can have their student loans repaid if the medical professional is willing to provide medical care to communities where there are shortages of such health care providers. Medical professionals must be licensed to practice in Massachusetts, and be willing to commit to two years’ worth of service, or an extended part-time commitment at an eligible facility.
Massachusetts Federal Student Loans and Grants
Federal student loans are offered as subsidized and unsubsidized loans within Massachusetts. A student’s need is assessed and an award amount issued to students who qualify for assistance. Subsidized Perkins or Stafford loans will have the interest payments made on a student’s behalf while still in school. Unsubsidized loans have interest rates that begin accruing upon issue. These loans must be paid back. Pell Grants, which are also issued by the federal government, do not have to be repaid.
Tuition Waiver Programs for Massachusetts Teachers
The Career Advancement Program Tuition Waiver program is offered to teachers who wish to go back to school in order to advance their degrees. The program is offered to new teachers who are in their first three years of practice. Qualified applicants can receive up to three graduate courses for free, as long as the classes are from an approved state-supported school.