The Tuition-Free Community College Plan provides a path to free community college for eligible 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.

TFCC posterPlan Overview

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Graduate from a high school in Boston (BPS, private, or charter school) no more than one year before 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

Participating Colleges

  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • MassBay Community College
  • Roxbury Community College

Costs Covered

  • Tuition
  • Mandatory fees
  • (School-related expenses for some students, dependent on yearly funds. See the web portal for details.)

The Boston Bridge

Tuition-Free Community College Plan students also have the opportunity to transfer to tuition-free four-year college through the Boston Bridge, a special collaboration with the state’s Commonwealth Commitment program. Through the Boston Bridge, a student can finish both their associate and bachelor’s degrees without ever having to pay tuition or mandatory fees. Boston Bridge students must meet additional eligibility requirements related to GPA, major, and the time they take to complete a degree. To learn more about the Boston Bridge, visit the information page on the Tuition-Free Community College Plan web portal.


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:

Further Reading

Media Coverage
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
Boston Students Get a Boost for College
BNN News, May 30, 2017
Walsh, Baker Announce Tuition-Free College Pilot Program
Fox 25 News, May 30, 2017
Free College Tuition Program Created for Low-Income Students in Boston
WBZ-TV News, May 30, 2017
Boston Bridge Aims to Provide Free College for Some Students
Boston Globe, May 30, 2017
Baker, Walsh Announce Tuition-Free College Pilot Program
Boston Herald, May 30, 2017
Boston Bridge Announcement
Boston City TV, May 30, 2017
How a New Boston Program is Helping Students with College Loan Debt
Boston Magazine, Sep. 2017

Press Releases
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
Baker-Polito Administration and City of Boston Announce Historic Tuition-Free College Program
May 30, 2017

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, 2017
Mayor Walsh and Gov. Baker Introduce the Boston Bridge
June 2, 2017

Other Sources
Tuition-Free Community College Plan & Boston Bridge Fact-Sheets
These downloadable fact-sheets gives a quick overview of the plan’s eligibility requirements, participating schools, and benefits, as well as information about the Boston Bridge.
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.