- Begin at one of Massachusetts’ Community Colleges
- Complete associate degree within 2.5 years
- Transfer to one of Massachusetts’ State Universities or UMass campuses
- Complete bachelor’s degree within 2 more years
- Maintain full-time, continuous enrollment and a cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout the program
- A freeze on tuition & fees for all four years upon entry into the Commonwealth Commitment program, until student graduates or leaves program
- A reduction in tuition & mandatory fees by an average of $5,090 over four years through:
- A 10% rebate off tuition & mandatory fees, payable via check or bookstore voucher at the end of every successfully completed semester
- An additional MassTransfer tuition credit once student enrolls in bachelor’s program
1. How do I know if I am eligible for the Commonwealth Commitment program?
You are eligible to participate if you:
- plan to enter a Massachusetts Community College between fall 2016 and fall 2017
- attend college full-time, and
- maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
2. When can I apply?
You should let your advisor know during your first semester that you intend to apply for the program. Please note that you must declare your interest in entering the program before earning 15 credits at a community college.
3. Is the Commonwealth Commitment only available to Massachusetts residents?
4. What if I don’t know what I want to major in yet? Can I still apply?
Yes, but the Commonwealth Commitment program works best for students who have a pretty good idea what they want to study. The "Commitment" of a financial discount is made to students who plan to pursue one of the 24 majors that are part of the new MassTransfer Pathways programs or one of the special programs designated by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design or the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Commonwealth Commitment students need to remain on track to graduate from a state university or UMass campus within 4–4.5 years. So, it’s best to identify your major when you enter the program.
5. What if I change my major?
In most cases, changing your major will mean that you will need to take additional required courses. That could make it difficult or impossible for you to graduate in the maximum time permitted for Commonwealth Commitment students, which is 4.5 years. That said, many students change majors for very good reasons. It may the right move for you, and you may find additional scholarships or other aid to offset the loss of the Commonwealth Commitment discount. For example, MassTransfer students who maintain a 3.0 GPA earn a 100% tuition waiver at a state university, or a 100% tuition credit at UMass. Visit www.mass.edu/masstransfer to explore the benefits.
6. How and when will I receive the Commonwealth Commitment discount?
At the end of every semester you complete, assuming you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, you will receive a 10% rebate in the form of a check, or may opt to receive those funds in the form of a voucher for use at your campus bookstore.
7. How much money will I save?
Students who complete the Commonwealth Commitment program will realize an average savings of $5,090 depending on the institutions you choose to attend. Additionally, your tuition and fees will not increase as you progress through the program, even if these costs rise for other students. This could translate into additional savings.
8. Does the Commonwealth Commitment cover the costs of textbooks?
Not directly, but you may decide to use some of the savings you realize through participating in the program to pay for textbooks or other expenses.
9. I have to work to pay for school. Can I do the Commonwealth Commitment program as a part-time student?
No. Students must enroll in a full-time course of study, taking 15 credits per semester (or 12 credits during fall and spring semesters, and additional credits during winter and summer terms). Many students do manage to attend full-time and also work a number of hours outside of school, although it is very hard to go to school full-time and also work full-time. The program isn’t for everyone. The state has launched the Commonwealth Commitment because research shows that full-time students save money on the overall cost of their education, and also tend to have better academic outcomes than students who go part-time.
10. Do I have the option of moving into on-campus housing when I transfer to a state university or UMass campus?
Yes—but at an additional cost. Room and board are not covered under the terms of the Commonwealth Commitment program.
11. Why aren't nursing and engineering programs included?
These high-demand programs are expensive for universities to run, and it is impossible to discount such programs at this time.
12. I have been accepted to UMass and several of the state universities but wonder if I should now plan to attend a community college first and then transfer in for my last two years. Won't I save a lot of money?
You might—but then again, you might not. UMass campuses and state universities have increased scholarship support to students. Check all your financial options and get advice from the college of your choice before selecting a two-year or four-year college pathway.
13. Are all Massachusetts colleges and universities taking part in the Commonwealth Commitment?
All PUBLIC campuses are. These include the four undergraduate campuses of the University of Massachusetts, nine state universities, and 15 community colleges. Private colleges and universities are not signatories to the Commonwealth Commitment agreement.