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DEBt-FREE Public HIgher Education

State funding for public higher education in Massachusetts has been cut drastically in the past 20 years, resulting in significant tuition and fee increases and one of the fastest-growing student debt burdens in the nation.

Lead Sponsors: Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Rep. Natalie Higgins (D-Leominister)

This bill would:

  • Establish that it is the policy of Massachusetts to guarantee free public higher education as a right for all students including undocumented students living in Massachusetts.
  • Create a grant program to pay the equivalent of tuition and mandatory fees for an eligible student at any Massachusetts public college or university, or certificate, vocational or training program at a public institution.
  • Ensure that funds from this program do not affect eligibility for other state grants, gift aid, institutional aid or federal aid including Pell Grants through the FAFSA process.
  • Students who meet the income eligibility for Federal Pell Grants will receive additional aid in grants to cover the costs of attendance, including but not limited to room and board, books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses.

This bill ensures that high quality and affordable public higher education is a right in Massachusetts. The bill creates socioeconomic diversity at public institutions. More people can complete their degrees without financial distress and overall economy of the Commonwealth will be improved.