The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to many firsts in American history such as the first American public park (Boston Common, 1634), the first American public secondary school (the Boston Latin Grammar School, 1635), the first American university (Harvard, 1636), the first free American public school (Boston, 1639), the first American public library (Boston, 1653) and even the first American subway system (Boston, 1898).

The Bay State is also home to many amazing financial aid programs that help its residents afford to attend college, including all the prestigious schools that can be found in the state. These programs include the Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program, the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, the One Family Scholarship Program, the Paul Tsongas Scholarship and the Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Program.

General Eligibility Requirements

Many of the Massachusetts financial aid programs have similar general eligibility requirements students must meet for the programs, though many also have different requirements that separate the programs from each other.

Some of the general eligibility requirements students must meet for the programs include:

  • Be a permanent, legal Massachusetts resident for at least one year prior to the opening of the academic year for which the student would be using the financial aid,
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen,
  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),
  • Not have yet earned a bachelor’s degree from any postsecondary institution,
  • Not be in default of a federal or state educational loan or owe a financial aid refund of any kind, and
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the state and the postsecondary institution the student attends.

Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program

The Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program was created by the Massachusetts legislature to help encourage Massachusetts college-bound students to pursue degrees in high demand fields to bolster the Commonwealth’s workforce in these fields with quality workers. These high demand fields include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To be eligible for the MA High Demand Scholarship Program, a student must meet all general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Be enrolled in and attend an eligible Massachusetts public university which currently includes:
    • University of Massachusetts – Amherst,
    • University of Massachusetts – Boston,
    • University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, and
    • University of Massachusetts – Lowell;
  • Be enrolled in a STEM-degree program;
  • Maintain a minimum 3.00 GPA; and
  • Complete the MA High Demand Scholarship application.

The award amount for the scholarship is subject to available funds from the MA legislature. Typically though, full-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester can receive up to $6,500 per academic year or up to $3,250 per semester. Part-time students who are enrolled in 6 to 11 credit hours per semester can receive up to $3,250 per academic year or up to $1,625 per semester.

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship

The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship is a merit-based program designed to reward and inspire college-bound high school students to excel academically and attend a public Massachusetts postsecondary institution.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must meet all general eligibility requirements as well as:

  • Participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Test in the 10th grade;
  • Score in the advanced category on 1 of 3 high school state assessment tests in English Language Arts, Math or STE (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics or Technology/Engineering);
  • Score in the proficient or advanced category on the remaining 2 high school state assessment tests;
  • Have a combined MCAS score on these tests that ranks in the top-25% of scores in the student’s school district; and
  • Be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours per semester) in a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree program at an eligible Massachusetts public postsecondary institution.

There is no separate application to fill out for this particular scholarship program. A student will be notified of their eligibility during their senior year of high school.

The scholarship can be used as a credit toward tuition for up to 8 undergraduate semesters of study at an eligible school. The award amount varies based on the postsecondary institution the student attends, though the award will never be more than the resident-rate for undergraduate tuition.

Currently, the maximum amount that can be given out is $1,714 for a student who attends UMass-Amherst and the lowest amount that can be given out is $720 for a student who attends one of the eligible community colleges.

One Family Scholarship Program

The One Family Scholarship Program was established by the Massachusetts legislature in conjunction with One Family Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Massachusetts residents who are low-income and/or homeless or have experienced homelessness within the past year. The goal of the scholarship is to give the heads of low-income households an opportunity to receive a higher education and permanently get themselves out of poverty.

To be eligible for the One Family Scholarship, a student must meet all general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Be enrolled full-time or part-time in a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree program at an eligible public, private, independent, for-profit or non-profit Massachusetts postsecondary institution authorized to offer undergraduate degrees and/or certificate programs;
  • Qualify as a head-of-household who has children under 18 years old;
  • Be at risk of homelessness—based on the federal poverty standards—or have experienced homelessness within the past 12 months;
  • Be an active participant in One Family Inc.’s services and activities, including the Leadership Seminar Program; and
  • Complete and submit the specific scholarship application via One Family Inc.’s website.

A scholarship recipient can receive funding to cover tuition, fees and related-living expenses, though the value of the award may not exceed the cost of attending the school. A recipient will also receive access to an integrated network of services from One Family, Inc.

Paul Tsongas Scholarship

The Paul Tsongas Scholarship is a merit-based program designed to reward students who perform at a high-academic level in school.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must meet all general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Receive a 3.75 GPA or higher in high school;
  • Score at least a 1200 on the SAT (or score an ACT equivalent);
  • Maintain a minimum 3.30 GPA for continued eligibility in college to use the award for 4 years of study; and
  • Attend an eligible Massachusetts postsecondary institution which includes:
    • Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater,
    • Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg,
    • Framingham State University in Framingham,
    • Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston,
    • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams,
    • Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne,
    • Salem State University in Salem,
    • Westfield State University in Westfield, and
    • Worcester State University in Worcester.

Each of these colleges can give the scholarship out to 5 new students every academic year. Recipients will receive a tuition and mandatory fees waiver to cover the cost of attendance.

Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Program

The Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Program is a need-based award designed to help students living in rural areas of Massachusetts attend college.

To be eligible for the award, a student must meet all general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours per semester) in a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree program at an eligible Massachusetts public college or university (with the exception of UMass-Amherst),
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding,
  • Be a permanent resident of rural Massachusetts which consists of any area outside an urban area that has fewer than 15,000 residents,
  • Complete and submit an application packet which includes an accompanying student statement and a certification form from the college’s financial aid director.

Each eligible school can nominate up to 5 candidates per academic year. All individual scholarship awards vary as well.

Major Massachusetts Colleges and Universities

Massachusetts is home to some extremely prestigious colleges and universities. Some of the major, popular schools that have yet to be mentioned here include:

  • Harvard University in Cambridge,
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge,
  • Boston College in Chestnut Hill,
  • Boston University in Boston, and
  • Northeastern University in Boston.

Despite being the most populous state in the New England region, Massachusetts has plenty of awesome financial aid programs to go around to help its residents attend a college of their dreams.