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Governor Healey Awards NECC $100,000 to Launch Free Community College for MA Residents 25+

Submitted by on August 25, 2023 – 4:54 pm

Wellesley, MA (August 24, 2023) –Northern Essex Community College Provost Paul Beaudin joined Governor Maura T. Healey Thursday to launch MassReconnect, her administration’s new program establishing free community college for Massachusetts residents aged 25 and older and awarded $100,000 to each of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges to support the quick implementation of the program this fall. Governor Healey and Provost Beaudin were joined by Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, Senate President Karen Spilka, Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, and other community college leaders at MassBay Community College’s Wellesley Campus. During the event, the Healey-Driscoll Administration celebrated the impact the program is expected to have on students across the state.  

“MassReconnect will be transformative for thousands of students, for our amazing community colleges, and for our economy,” said Governor Healey. “It will bolster the role of community colleges as economic drivers in our state and help us better meet the needs of businesses to find qualified, well-trained workers. We can also make progress in breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty by helping residents complete their higher education credentials so they can attain good jobs and build career paths. Our administration is grateful for the partnership of the Legislature to move forward on this critical program that will make our state more affordable, competitive, and equitable.”

“Our administration and our community college partners are ready to hit the ground running with MassReconnect this fall semester. We encourage any eligible students who might have been holding off on taking that final step to enroll to do so now to begin this next stage of their education and career,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “We are also proud to be setting our community colleges up for success by providing them each with $100,000 for implementation of this life-changing program.”

Governor Healey invested $20 million in MassReconnect for the first year of implementation in her first budget that she signed earlier this month. This funding covers the full cost of tuition and fees and includes an allowance for books and supplies at each of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges. Each community college will also receive $100,000 from this funding to support student and community program awareness, staffing, and program administration.

Governor Maura Healey, NECC President Lane Glenn, and MA Community College leaders at the unveiling of MassReconnect, March 2023

There is still time to enroll in MassReconnect for this fall. The fall semester at Northern Essex begins September 6, with a second session of fall classes beginning on October 30. Interested students can find more information here. The only steps necessary to sign up are to enroll in at least six credits per semester in an approved program of study leading to an associate degree or certificate and complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). There is no deadline to sign up.

In order to qualify for MassReconnect, students must be 25 or older on the first day of their classes and be permanent Massachusetts residents for at least one year at the start of the enrolled term. The program is limited to residents who have not previously earned a college degree (associate or bachelor’s).

MassReconnect will likely support up to 6,500-8,000 community college students in the first year, which could grow to closer to 10,000 students by FY25. They could include current, new, or returning students who did not complete their degrees. Approximately 700,000 Massachusetts residents have some college credit but no degree. MassReconnect will help bring these students back to finish their degrees, with the additional funding and support they may have been lacking the first time.