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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

College Affordability Program Adds Additional Majors

The Massachusetts College Affordability Program is expanding its reach in hopes of giving more Massachusetts residents a fair chance to pursue a higher education. The program hopes that by making a college education more accessible by way of discounts, more students will be able to earn one.

The program, titled the Commonwealth Commitment Program, was launched in the spring of last year and is a relatively new program. The expansion includes an addition of over 40 majors, a number that has increased significantly from the previous six majors. These new majors will include popular majors like criminal justice and graphic design.

Not only will students have more majors to choose from, eligible students who earn an Associate’s degree at one of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges then go on to a public, four-year institution will receive rebates and tuition credits.

The program is said to save students an average of 40 percent off the total cost of a bachelor’s degree. In order to be eligible for such a program, students must begin their studies at a community college within the state. They are expected to complete their Associate’s degree within two and a half years and then transfer to a state school to complete their Bachelor’s within another two years. Students are expected to be enrolled full-time while maintaining a 3.0 GPA. The program currently does not have an income requirement.

Education Secretary James Preyers, in a quote obtained from the Boston Globe, noted that the full-time requirement is crucial as students who are enrolled part-time are less likely to complete their programs on time.

Even though the program is aimed at decreasing the cost of college for qualified students, Preyers also noted that the aim of the program is not only to make a college education affordable, but to also make it accessible to more students.

Programs such as business, liberal arts, and the sciences are covered in the Commonwealth Commitment Program. The program administration reported that about 75 percent of all majors chosen by the students were programs that were covered by the Commonwealth Commitment Program.

Currently, this expansions covers all majors offered by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a few specialty programs offered at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago expressed, in a quote obtained from the Boston Globe, that he is “hoping that students who may not have thought they could afford a bachelor’s degree will be convinced to continue on with their education.”

State colleges and universities are the ones who provide the discount, so there are no state appropriations for the program. Higher education enrollment has increased, while funding has decreased, and seeing that it is expected to continue to increase this year, more students are expected to enroll. Some higher education officials believe they may need to start looking for a way to get money from the state.