Program Aims To Get Comm. College Students To UMass

By Sarah Birnbaum

Mar. 24, 2011

The sun rises at UMass Amherst in 2007. (Oliver Scott/ Flickr)

BOSTON — UMass Amherst is making it easier for graduates of the state’s two-year community colleges to attend and afford the four-year school.
Under a new program unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Deval Patrick, community college students who have a grade point average of 2.5 or better will be guaranteed admission to UMass Amherst. And those with a GPA of 3.0 or better won’t have to pay tuition, saving about $1,700 every year. They will, however, still have to pay about $10,000 a year in University fees, and $8,000 a year for room and board.
Speaking to a group of students at Roxbury Community College, Patrick said the goal of the program is to make a quality, four-year college degree more accessible and affordable.
“This is another way to give people a way forward, and frankly some of the people who are working hardest in the system right now,” Patrick said.

UMass Chancellor Robert C. Holub says that the program will offer a number of other benefits, including priority for course registration, scholarships and on-campus housing.
“In short, we will do everything we can to welcome graduates from Roxbury Community College and other community colleges and do everything to guarantee their academic and social success,” Holub said.
Patrick acknowledged that fees may be a financial burden for many students, but he said the university is committeed to giving financial aid to reduce some of those costs.
University officials say more than 500 community college graduates transfer to UMass-Amherst each year.
Patrick says he hopes the state will be able to offer similar programs at UMass campuses in Lowell, Dartmouth and Boston.

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