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UMass Offering $5K Annual Scholarships for Community College Graduates Finishing in the Top 10 Percent of their Class

Monday, January 22, 2024


Liz Cooper


MassBay Community College entrance, Wellesley Hills campus MassBay Community College Wellesley Hills campus, Wellesley Hills, MA (Photo/MassBay Community College).


BOSTON, Mass. (January 22, 2024)The University of Massachusetts (UMass) recently announced the UMass Community College Advantage Scholarship, designed to encourage timely associate’s degree completion, expand access to a four-year college degree for historically underrepresented students, and strengthen the Commonwealth’s talent pipeline. The top 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s future community college graduates will receive a minimum of $5,000 per year above any federal and private financial aid they receive if they enroll at one of the four nationally ranked UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell.

The Community College Advantage Scholarship (CCAS) is designed to incentivize highly talented community college students to finish their associate’s degree at one of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges, and then complete their bachelor’s degree at UMass.

The CCAS also seeks to address two challenges facing public higher education in Massachusetts:

  • Providing equitable access to historically underrepresented groups of students in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on race-based admissions, and
  • Strengthening the Commonwealth’s talent pipeline as the number of high school graduates in Massachusetts is projected to decline in the coming years, the existing population is aging out of the workforce, and more young people are leaving the state.

“We want to send a clear message that UMass welcomes highly talented community college graduates to continue their pursuit of a college degree on our nationally ranked Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “We believe this initiative will lead to more community college graduates choosing to finish their four-year degree at UMass, which will accelerate their upward economic trajectory and strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce.”

Starting in fall 2024, the CCAS will help develop and retain diverse talent in Massachusetts by:

  • Guaranteeing students in the top 10 percent of their community college graduating class automatic admission to a University of Massachusetts campus and a minimum of $2,500 per semester ($5,000 annually) for a total of at least $10,000 for the students’ final two years of college.
  • Students remain eligible for additional aid based on individual circumstances.
  • The CCAS will supplement federal and private grants awarded to the student.

To be eligible for the Fall 2024 CCAS, students must:

  • Complete their degree in the top 10 percent of their graduating class at their college. This will be calculated as of the end of the semester prior to the UMass financial aid priority deadline (Students applying for fall admission must have been in the top 10 percent of their class as of the end of the Fall 2023 semester).
  • Complete the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent state financial aid application.
  • Be eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Have earned 45+ credits that are transferable to UMass.
  • Be on track to complete their associate’s degree prior to the Fall 2024 semester.

In addition to the CCAS initiative, to make public higher education more affordable for lower- and middle-income students Massachusetts has recently made community college free for students 25 years of age and older through the MassReconnect program and has expanded the MassGrant+ program by $62 million.


MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations, and Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond.


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Students + Alumni