Governor Healey Launches Free Community College for Massachusetts Residents 25+

Aug 30, 2023

Thanks to a new program in the recently-passed state budget, Governor Maura Healey announced MassReconnect establishing free community college for Massachusetts residents aged 25 and older. Communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly can promote this program as an opportunity for eligible older adults.

In order to qualify for MassReconnect, students must be 25 or older on the first day of their classes and be a permanent Massachusetts resident 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 (associates or bachelor’s) who enroll in at least six credits per semester in an approved program of study leading to an associate degree or certificate at a community college.

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. Additionally, each community college will also receive $100,000 from this funding to support student and community program awareness, staffing, and program administration. Quincy College also received $1.5 million in the FY24 budget to operate a similar program.

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, depending on how many students take advantage of the new opportunity. They could include current students, new students, or returning students who did not complete their degree. There are approximately 700,000 Massachusetts residents who have some college credit but no degree. MassReconnect will help bring back these students to finish their degrees, with the additional funding and support they may have been lacking the first time.

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative encourages age- and dementia friendly communities to promote this program among older adults. More information on MassReconnect is available here.