An additional $7.1 million in financial aid is now available for eligible full- and part-time community college students, thanks to the passage of the Commonwealth’s recently approved annual operating budget.
This additional funding is the largest increase in need-based scholarship assistance in over a decade, and will support student access, enrollment and success at community colleges such as North Shore Community College (NSCC). Similar to the federal Pell Grant Program, the funding, an expansion of the state’s MASSGrant program, will provide financial assistance to low- and moderate-income community college students as identified by the FAFSA.
“This is fantastic news for both prospective and current community college students,” said NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile. “Here at NSCC close to 50 percent of our students receive some sort of financial assistance. While this may cover some of the costs of enrolling at NSCC, most of our students struggle with also covering the costs of books, commuting, housing, food, child care and other costs of attending. This targeted program will help address these other financial needs beyond tuition and fees.
“When Governor Baker proposed this additional funding stream for both full- and part-time community college students, we started preparing our process to make sure as many students as possible could take advantage of this wonderful opportunity,” Gentile noted. “All those interested should come in to our Danvers or Lynn Student Success Centers, talk with an advisor and apply for the fall semester. Even if this new funding source is not applicable to an individual’s situation, we have lots of options available to pay for college. But, you’ll never know what affordable choices you might have if you don’t apply!”
Gentile added that over the past several years NSCC has been leading the way to making community college more affordable with the North Shore Promise award. In addition, NSCC student enrollment in the state’s Commonwealth Commitment program has far outpaced all other MA community Colleges. The additional $7.1 M aid program can apply to students enrolling in these programs as well.
This is the first time state financial aid assistance is being made available to both full-time and part-time community college students. Currently, 60% of the state’s community college students are enrolled part-time, but these students did not formerly qualify for MASSGrant aid.
The buying power of an average MASSGrant—currently approximately $750—has diminished significantly in recent decades. In 1988, the average MASSGrant was sufficient to cover 85% of a student’s tuition and mandatory fees at a public college or university; by FY17, it only covered approximately 9% of these costs. The availability of new revenues enabled by the 2011 Casino Gaming legislation provides an opportunity to begin reversing this trend.
For questions about enrolling, please contact the Admissions Office at: 978-762-4000 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the financial aid or the FAFSA process, please contact Student Financial Services at 978-762-4189 or by email at email@example.com
Offices are located on both the Danvers and Lynn campuses: Danvers: Health and Services Building Room DH-260; Lynn: Lynn South, LS-134A