graduation-hat-graduation-cap-and-gown-clipartMayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang recently launched a tuition-free community college plan, which provides a cost-effective entry point into higher education for Boston’s young people.

“The single most effective way to break down the social and financial barriers facing many Boston families is to make post-secondary education accessible,” said Mayor Walsh.

“I am so proud to launch this program and give our talented BPS graduates another resource for success.”

Since the program was announced in April, eligibility for the college plan has changed to provide even more students with access, lowering the GPA requirement from 2.2 to 2.0; requiring no more than three developmental courses, as determined by college placement testing, by the start of the semester; and completing community college within 3 years or less.

Under these expanded eligibility guidelines, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPA) students may also be eligible for the Tuition-Free plan.

“This life-changing program will impact so many of our students,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill. “On behalf of the School Committee, I extend our gratitude to Mayor Walsh for increasing our graduates’ access to the college pathway. This is a major component in guiding our students on a road to success.”

As of June 1, 2016, the program is available and will be run through the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), with support from the City’s Neighborhood Jobs Trust (NJT).

“The Boston Public Schools community is grateful to Mayor Walsh for providing opportunities and removing barriers for our students, so that they may be able to attend college free of tuition costs,” said Superintendent Chang. “The City of Boston’s commitment to pay for up to three years of community college will make a remarkable difference in the lives of so many of our students.”


If eligible for the plan, students can attend either Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) or Roxbury Community College (RCC), as long as they apply and are accepted. BHCC has main campuses in Charlestown (at the Community College T-stop on the orange line) and Chelsea with satellite campuses in East Boston, the South End, and Malden. RCC is located in Roxbury near the Roxbury Crossing orange line T-stop. Both colleges offer courses of study in a wide range of areas, such as accounting, biotechnology, business, computer science, criminal justice, early childhood education, nursing, and paralegal. Learn more about BHCC programs of study or RCC programs of study to consider which school might best line up with your interests.

Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Graduate from a BPS high school
  • Have a grade-point average of at least 2.0
  • Be able to complete community college within 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 or Roxbury Community College
  • Be a Boston resident
  • Have low to moderate household income, per HUD guidelines

If you have DACA or TPS status, see the Frequently Asked Questions, here:

The plan pays for:

  • Tuition for up to three years of community college
  • Mandatory college fees

For some students, these costs may already be fully paid for by the Pell grant. However, for those students who do not receive full Pell coverage, the Tuition-Free Community College Plan covers the remaining costs for tuition and mandatory fees. Costs for books and transportation are not covered by the plan at this time.

If students think they may be eligible – or want to learn how to become eligible – they are encouraged to follow this simple process. Learn more here:  Here is a link to the application.

For additional questions, email or call the city hotline, BOS:311, by dialing 3-1-1.

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