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Expanded state aid makes college more affordable for 25,000 students

Banner Staff

Revenue from the new millionaire’s tax approved by voters will provide $62 million to reduce college costs for 25,000 students at the state’s public colleges, starting this fall, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has announced.

The expansion of financial aid will cover tuition, fees, books and supplies for students eligible for federal Pell Grants and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for middle-income students for tuition and mandatory fees by as much as half.  Room and board are not covered.

The federally determined expected family contribution and up to $1,200 for books and supplies will be covered for Pell Grant students, whether they are full- or part-time. Middle income students are defined as those whose families earn between $73,000 and $100,000.

The expansion is retroactive to the start of the current fall semester for currently enrolled students. Those who have already completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2023-2024 academic year will not need to take any further action as the additional state funding will be credited to their accounts. Students who may qualify but have not filled out the FAFSA should do so immediately. 

Healey and the legislature placed $84 million for financial aid expansion in the fiscal 2024 budget. Some of the balance beyond the $62 million is to be used to implement the state’s new tuition equity law, which allows qualifying non-U.S. citizens, namely undocumented students who have completed high school in Massachusetts, to benefit from state financial aid.

Healey announced the $62 million expansion Nov. 15 at Salem State University, along with Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega and Chair of the Board of Higher Education Chris Gabrieli.

The expansion, the governor said, will “open doors for more students to access higher education, which will strengthen our economy as a whole.”

Tutwiler said he was “thrilled that we’re able to deliver such a big investment and increase aid for nearly 25,000 public higher education students. By expanding access to higher learning, we’re able to connect even more students with the life changing opportunities, high quality educational experiences, and work-based training and skills development that our community colleges, state universities, and UMass offer.”

Gov. Maura Healey, Pell Grants, student aid