The Tuition-Free Community College Plan provides a path to free community college for eligible Boston Public Schools (BPS) high school graduates. Additionally, the plan matches students with coaches from Success Boston to help them navigate the challenges of higher education. Through this two-fold approach – both financial and interpersonal support – the plan aims to help more Boston students afford, attend, and complete college.
Below is a basic summary of the Tuition-Free Community College Plan. To review complete plan details or to apply for the plan, please visit the Tuition-Free Community College web portal on the BPS website.
- Graduate from a BPS high school within one year of starting the plan
- Have a grade-point-average of at least 2.0
- Be able to complete community college in 3 years
- Be eligible for a Pell Grant, as determined by the FAFSA
- Require no more than three developmental courses by the start of the semester
- Be accepted to either Bunker Hill Community College, MassBay Community College, or Roxbury Community College
- Be a Boston resident
- Have low to moderate household income, per HUD guidelines
- Bunker Hill Community College
- MassBay Community College
- Roxbury Community College
- Mandatory fees
- (School-related expenses for some students, dependent on yearly funds. See the web portal for details.)
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the Tuition-Free Community College Plan in April 2016. Shortly afterward, the plan’s eligibility guidelines were expanded to include more students. In Fall 2016, the plan enrolled 41 students, a number that is expected to grow in subsequent semesters.
The Tuition-Free Community College Plan is funded by the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, a public charitable trust that collects linkage fees from developers of large-scale commercial building projects in the city, and the OWD.
In October 2016 Mayor Walsh discussed the significance of the plan at a White House meeting of community college stakeholders nationwide. Listen to Mayor Walsh’s remarks below:
BPS Students to Receive Two Years of Free Community College
WGBH, April 29, 2016
Walsh to Expand Free Community College Tuition Program
Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 2016
Mayor Introduces Plan to Expand Free College Tuition for Some Boston Students
Daily Free Press, Nov. 1, 2016
City Adds MassBay to Tuition-Free Plan for BPS Grads from Low-income Families
Boston Herald, Dec. 30, 2016
21 Intriguing New Ideas and Trailblazing People
Boston Globe Magazine, Jan. 5, 2017
MassBay Joins Tuition-Free Program
Wicked Local Wellesley, Jan. 5, 2017
Mayor Walsh Launches Tuition-Free Community College for BPS Graduates
April 29, 2016
Tuition-Free Community College Application is Now Live
June 1, 2016
MassBay Joins City of Boston Tuition-Free Community College Plan
Dec. 27, 2016
OWD Blog Articles
OWD and BPS Roll Out Tuition-Free Community College Plan
June 2, 2016
Mayor Walsh Announces Expansion of Tuition-Free Community College
Oct. 26, 2016
Tuition-Free Community College Plan Now Includes MassBay
Jan. 6, 2016
Tuition-Free Community College Plan Fact-Sheet
This downloadable fact-sheet gives a quick overview of plan’s eligibility requirements, participating schools, and costs covered.
The America’s College Promise Playbook
A publication of the U.S. Department of Education, the playbook reviews current models for affordable community college nationwide, including the Tuition-Free Community College Plan.