Save Money with the Commonwealth Commitment

September 7, 2016

Massachusetts has a message for those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree: We’ll commit to reducing the cost of going to college if you’ll commit to going to school full-time and doing well.

Thanks to the new Commonwealth Commitment program, students at Greenfield Community College and all of the state’s community colleges have the opportunity to save time and money as they earn an associate’s degree and then go on to study toward a bachelor’s degree at a state university. The ComCom program is open to Massachusetts residents who have a high school diploma, have not completed 15 credits at a community college, and who enroll at GCC in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Fall 2017.

Here’s how it works:

            Students commit to:

  • Beginning at GCC (or any other Massachusetts community college)
  • Completing an associate’s degree within 2.5 years
  • Transferring to one of Massachusetts’ state universities or colleges
  • Completing a bachelor’s degree within 2 more years
  • Full-time, continuous enrollment at 15 credits per semester and a cumulative 3.0 GPA

            Massachusetts commits to:

  • Freezing tuition and mandatory fees for all four years upon entry into the Commonwealth Commitment program, until you graduate or leave
  • Reducing your tuition and mandatory fees by an average of $5,090 over four years by:
    • Giving you a check at the end of every successfully completed semester, equivalent to a 10% rebate off tuition and mandatory fees
    • Giving you an additional MassTransfer tuition credit once you enroll in an eligible bachelor’s degree program

Greenfield Community College Dean of Enrollment Services Elaine Lapomardo said, “This is a remarkable collaborative effort to help students complete a college degree. The Governor, Commissioner of Higher Education, and the state colleges and universities are aware that students have experienced increasing debt and length of time to graduate. ComCom reduces the cost of getting a bachelor’s degree and will help students complete their degree and move on to jobs and other pursuits. Creating ComCom was a complex process that included statewide meetings of faculty to coordinate curriculum and develop smooth pathways from community colleges to four-year colleges. We hope students will keep an open mind about whether this is an option for them. Meet with an academic advisor to understand the details. Jump on it now, we don’t know if it will continue after Fall 2017.”

In Fall 2016, ComCom is available to students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Political Science, and Psychology. For those interested in transferring to Massachusetts College of Art & Design, ComCom is available to students majoring in Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture. Additional majors are available for those who want to transfer to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

In Fall 2017, additional majors become eligible, including Business, Communications & Media Studies, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, English,

Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Sociology, and STEM Natural/Physical Sciences.

GCC President Bob Pura said, “It is abundantly clear that students, families and the communities of the Commonwealth benefit when we all work together as a system. Reducing the financial barriers to a college education through the Commonwealth Commitment is a powerful example of what we can accomplish together. It is my sincere hope that this is just the start of such initiatives.”

In general, it is less expensive to attend a community college for two years than to attend a four-year college. While the costs of each of the schools is different, in 2014-2015 the average annual cost to attend (tuition plus fees) full-time for two semesters was $5,261 at Massachusetts community colleges, $8,681 at Massachusetts state universities, and $12,618 at the University of Massachusetts.

For information about Commonwealth Commitment, visit http://www.gcc.mass.edu/transfer/masstransfer/commonwealth-commitment/

By Mary McClintock, ‘82

# # #