Daily News

Massachusetts Launches Free Community College for Residents 25 and Older

WELLESLEY — Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Senate President Karen Spilka, Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, and community-college presidents gathered Thursday at MassBay Community College’s Wellesley campus to launch MassReconnect, a new program establishing free community college for Massachusetts residents age 25 and older.

“MassReconnect will be transformative for thousands of students, for our amazing community colleges, and for our economy,” Healey said. “It will bolster the role of community colleges as economic drivers in our state and help us better meet the needs of businesses to find qualified, well-trained workers. We can also make progress in breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty by helping residents complete their higher-education credentials so they can attain good jobs and build a career path. Our administration is grateful for the partnership of the Legislature to move forward on this critical program that will make our state more affordable, competitive, and equitable.”

The state is investing $20 million in MassReconnect for the first year of implementation. The funding covers the full cost of tuition and fees and includes an allowance for books and supplies for qualifying students. Additionally, each community college will receive $100,000 to support student and community program awareness, staffing, and program administration.

“This is an exciting moment for HCC and all Massachusetts community colleges,” Holyoke Community College President George Timmons said. “Our college’s Financial Aid and Student Affairs teams have been working diligently to prepare for MassReconnect and to guide students through the process of enrolling at HCC. MassReconnect will enable our community colleges to do more of what we do best, which is serve students from all ages and all backgrounds and provide them with an exceptional education that leads to employment and, ultimately, a stronger economy and thriving region.”

MassReconnect starts immediately, and there is still time for students to enroll for the fall 2023 semester. Qualifying students must be enrolled in at least six credits per semester in an approved program of study leading to an associate degree or certificate at one of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges and complete the 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. There is no deadline to sign up.

“MassReconnect will be a game changer for residents 25 and over in the Pioneer Valley and throughout the Commonwealth,” Greenfield Community College President Michelle Schutt said. “GCC is eager to help prospective MassReconnect students meet their academic and long-term career goals.”