Baker, Walsh announce tuition-free college pilot program

In an effort to provide teenagers a pathway to future prosperity, Boston and state officials announced an initiative Tuesday to allow high school graduates from low-income families in Boston to attend community colleges and state universities for free.

The Boston Bridge program will be open to low-income graduates of the city’s school system as well as those from charter and parochial schools, starting with this year’s graduates.


It will pay for the portion of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by federal grants and other scholarships.

To qualify, students must meet the income guidelines for a federal Pell grant. The US Department of Education was unable to provide income parameters Tuesday, but according to students from households with incomes of $50,000 or less typically qualify.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker announced the program at an afternoon press conference at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury to the applause of dozens of students who sat before them.

“Education is the key to upper mobility,” Walsh said in his opening remarks.

But the program places several restrictions on participation. Most notably, students must enroll full time at either Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, or MassBay Community College and earn an associate’s degree within 2½ years. From there, they can transfer to a state college or university, where they must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and graduate within two years.


“This is one more tool in the tool box that students can choose to pursue” a college education, Baker said.

Several students after the press conference said the program could go a long way toward easing the…

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