State expanding college affordability program

Commonwealth Commitment program will now offer more than 40 majors

BOSTON (WWLP) – The state is expanding a program that gives Massachusetts students discounts on higher education with the hope that more students will be able to earn a college degree.

The state’s Commonwealth Commitment Program will now offer more than 40 majors including criminal justice, graphic design and computer science, to eligible Massachusetts students.

Launched in Spring of 2016 by the Baker-Polito administration, the program gives Massachusetts students cash rebates and tuition freezes at a public four-year college or university after transferring from one of the state’s 15 community colleges.

Students save an average of 40 percent off the cost of a bachelor’s degree through the program.

“Anytime you can increase the field in terms of options for education, I think that’s a positive thing for the people of Massachusetts, particularly students, it gives them more choice. It gives them the opportunity to be more diversified in terms of where they want to take their education,” State Rep. Todd Smola, (R) Warren told 22News.

To qualify, students must go to school full-time and maintain a 3.0 GPA or “B” average. There are no income requirements. State colleges and universities provide the discount so there is no state appropriation for the program.

While it might seem like a good way to save money on your college education, one state representative warns students to read the fine print and see if it’s the right program for them.

“It’s probably worth trying. If students don’t maintain the b average they’re not going to get the kind of savings that are advertised,” said State Rep. Denise Provost, (D) Somerville.

More students are expected to enroll this year so higher education officials say they may need to look at getting money from the state in the future.