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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Tuition Free Community College Program secures additional $4 million funding


Bunker Hill Community College, one of the colleges to offer the TFCC Plan. Photo by Colin Tsuboi (He/Him) / Mass Media Contributor.

Mayor Michelle Wu, alongside the Worker Empowerment Cabinet, announced Friday, March 31, a $4 million investment to expand the city’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan. This plan is an initiative created by the city that pays for up to three years of college tuition for income-eligible students. However, the expansion of this plan will now cover the cost for all residents, regardless of the student’s year of graduation, income or immigration status. Applicants must be Boston residents in order to be eligible [3].

The TFCC Plan covers the cost of tuition still owed after financial aid and a stipend at six partner community colleges in the city. These community colleges include Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Bunker Hill Community College, Massasoit Community College, MassBay Community College, Roxbury Community College and Urban College of Boston [3].

According to Boston.gov, “TFCC will continue providing selected students with a $250 stipend per semester for up to three years. Research from Northeastern University shows that students in the tuition-free community college program are three times more likely to graduate from community college than peers who don’t have the support associated with this program. Students earn more credits, enjoy higher employment rates and report higher earnings” [3].

“Expanding Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College is a critical step in ensuring more of our City’s residents are eligible to pursue higher education right here. This funding will increase community college enrollment and connect more residents with quality jobs,” said Mayor Wu in a press release published on Boston.gov. “I want to thank Congresswoman Pressley for her leadership and all of our partner institutions for their critical work ensuring that we are closing gaps and expanding access to education for all” [3].

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, commonly called MassArt, is currently piloting a partnership with TFCC to help Pell-eligible students transfer to MassArt for free. MassArt’s website states that the program “…will cover tuition, fees, and mandatory supplies for Pell-eligible students transferring from a Massachusetts community college to a bachelor’s degree program at MassArt” [1].

Similar to the requirements set by TFCC, those who wish to transfer to MassArt through the free tuition program must be a Boston resident, enroll as a full-time MassArt student, transfer from one of the participating TFCC community colleges, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, complete their FAFSA and be Pell-eligible [1].

The federal American Rescue Plan Act provided the funding that made this entire program possible, and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley secured the Community Project Funding. ARPA made the first $3 million available, while the remaining $1 million was made available by CPF [3].

“Not only will expanding Boston’s tuition-free community college program help more students earn a college degree, but it will also help us address the college affordability crisis,” said Representative Pressley in a release published on Boston.gov. “I am proud to have secured these federal funds to expand this program, and I’m grateful to Mayor Wu, Mayor Janey, community leaders, and our students for their close partnership” [3].

According to the Bunker Hill Community College website, students enrolled in the TFCC program do not need to re-apply in the following years. All that students need to do is complete their FAFSA each year in order to continue receiving the Pell Grant if they are eligible [2].

The TFCC program doesn’t cover the cost for students to cover full bachelor’s degree programs. Bunker Hill Community College recommended MassArt’s Transfer program for those wishing to continue their education beyond an Associate’s degree [2].


1. https://massart.edu/boston-bridge#:~:text=The%20program%20will%20cover%20tuition,bachelor’s%20degree%20program%20at%20MassArt.

2. https://www.bhcc.edu/admissions/cityofbostonfreetuitionprogram/

3. https://www.boston.gov/news/mayor-wu-announces-4-million-investment-expand-bostons-tuition-free-community-college-program#:~:text=The%20City%20has%20also%20launched,bachelor’s%20degree%20program%20at%20MassArt.

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor