Governor Maura Healey has proposed a new Free Community College Massachusetts program to make education more accessible for residents aged 25 and older. The initiative receives $20 million in financing from Healey’s 2024 fiscal year budget, which she submitted on Wednesday. The budget also makes several additional significant investments in higher education.
The program, known as MassReconnect, was one of Healey’s ideas while she was running for office. It would pay for community college costs for up to 1.8 million state residents without a college degree, including tuition, required fees, books, and various support services like student coaching.
Free Community College Massachusetts: What’s Healey’s Plan?
The governor said in a statement obtained by WCVB that the $20-million worth Free Community College Massachusetts plan, also known as MassReconnect initiative, will provide more than 1.8 million citizens with the opportunity to enhance their education for free.
Healey said in a tweet that community colleges level the playing field. She continued by saying that these institutions provide an accessible and reasonably priced route to successful employment.
“MassReconnect gives students, particularly students of color and living with low income, a ticket to economic mobility,” Healey added.
Community colleges help level the playing field. They’re an affordable, accessible pathway into good jobs and careers.
MassReconnect gives students, particularly students of color and living with low income, a ticket to economic mobility.
— Maura Healey (@MassGovernor) March 1, 2023
The financing for fees, books, and other student support services, including housing, transportation, and food, would also be included in Healey’s free community college Massachusetts plan.
Healey said that despite over 700,000 Massachusetts people having some college credit, many still needed to complete their degrees due to escalating prices.
A Key Component
Best Colleges reported that the free community college Massachussets plan was a key component of Healey’s 2022 campaign for governor. Before making her budget plan, she made the basic MassReconnect information public during her first months in office.
Healey’s plan reflects a pattern where governors highlight the professional and technical education (CTE) programs offered by their state’s community institutions.
Thirty-two states provide free higher education, according to the Campaign for Free College Tuition. Just nine, however, are said to have a “statewide free college tuition policy implemented with minimal eligibility constraints,” according to the Campaign.
Massachusetts would probably become the tenth state to meet those criteria due to MassReconnect, also known as the free community college Massachussets plan.
The state Senate and House of Representatives are overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, and they also hold the governor’s office. This indicates that Healey will most likely find it simple to fund MassReconnect in the fiscal year 2024 budget.
It is “beyond time,” according to Senate President Karen Spilka, to push through the free community college Massachusetts plan.
The current legislative session for the state began on January 4 and ran until November 15.
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