Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply for TFCC?

No, you do not have to be a citizen. However, your immigration status may determine your eligibility for TFCC.

Several categories of non-US citizens are still eligible for the Pell Grant. If you belong to one of these categories, you will be eligible for TFCC, as well. See Sections 1 through 5 on the US Department of Education website for a list of these categories of eligible non-citizens.

Even if you are NOT eligible for the Pell Grant because of your immigration status, you may still be eligible for some support through the Tuition-Free Community College Plan. These categories include DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), TPS (Temporary Protected Status), “U” visa holders, beneficiaries of “withholding of removal” status, and any other non-citizens who are eligible for in-state tuition at public community colleges in Massachusetts. For more information on these categories, see Section 2 of General Higher Education Rights of Immigrants in Massachusetts. Under the Tuition-Free Community College Plan, these students may receive a grant amount equal to the cost of in-state tuition (not including mandatory fees).

If you are in one of the above categories and want to be considered for TFCC, please email TuitionFree@boston.gov and a representative from the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development will be in touch to determine your eligibility.

Am I still eligible for TFCC if I’ve been out of high school for several years?

It depends on when you received your high school credential (diploma, HiSET or GED). You must receive your credential within one year (12 months) of starting TFCC. If you earned your high school credential more than a year ago, you would not be eligible.

What if I don't have a GPA or know what mine is?

That's OK. You do not need to know your GPA to fill out the Tuition-Free Community College Plan application. After you have applied, your high school will confirm your GPA with the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development to determine your eligibility.

So you know, though, a 2.0 GPA is equivalent to a C average. If you think that your grades in high school will average a C or higher, you are probably eligible. If you are unsure, it is still worth applying in case your GPA does meet the requirement.

The GPA requirement does not apply to applicants who completed their HiSET or GED.

How do I know if I need developmental classes?

When you are admitted to a college, you will make arrangements with your school to take its college placement testing, if needed. This testing will include the Accuplacer test. Your scores in different testing subjects (such as reading, math, or writing) determine whether you may start taking college-level classes or should be placed in a developmental class or classes first. Developmental classes are "refresher" courses that do not bear college credit toward graduation requirements.

Note that if your college placement testing shows you must take ESL classes, these are considered developmental classes for purposes of TFCC eligibility.

What if the college placement testing shows I need more than three developmental classes?

There's still hope! Remember: To be eligible for the TFCC, you must need no more than three developmental classes by the start of college. So for example: If you take college placement testing in June and learn that you need four developmental classes, you may be able to take one of those classes in the summer. If you pass, you will be able to start the semester needing no more than three developmental classes.

What is the Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant is a grant from the U.S. Department of Education that helps students who are in financial need pay for college. Unlike a loan, the Pell Grant does not need to be repaid. To find out if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant, and for what amount, you must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

What are HUD income guidelines?

HUD income guidelines ensure that applicants come from low- to moderate-income households. Most students who are eligible for Pell Grants will also meet the HUD income guidelines, which are determined by household size and income. This information will be identified in your FAFSA.

Does it matter when I take classes during my three years in TFCC?

Once you start receiving TFCC funds, you should aim to take classes every Fall and Spring semester. If you take a semester off, you can still remain enrolled in TFCC. But remember: You still only get up to 3 years of funding. If you take a semester off, you cannot get that semester of missed funding back.

While it is not a requirement for TFCC, you should also try to take at least 10 college credits each semester. This will increase your chances of earning your associate degree within three years. Your academic advisor or Success Boston coach can help you stay on track.

Once I am accepted in the plan, how do I maintain eligibility?

Once you are enrolled in TFCC, you do not need to re-apply in following years. Simply complete your FAFSA on an annual basis to continue to receive the Pell grant and maintain eligibility.

Also, to remain eligible, you will need to make "satisfactory academic progress" according to your college. Each college’s definition of satisfactory progress is slightly different, but typical factors include GPA, class completion, and rate of progress toward your degree.

Still Have Questions?

Please email TuitionFree@boston.gov or call the City of Boston hotline at 3-1-1.

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