How Students Utilize Mass Transfer Benefits

By Lynn Moynahan

    The cost of a college education has sky-rocketed over the decades. Many high school graduates are foregoing the traditional path to a career because their financial future is bleak and drowning in student loan debt. 

    Two-year colleges have been a way to mitigate this large expense, as it’s common practice for 4-year universities to accept community college credits and apply them to a bachelor’s degree. MassTransfer is making this process clearer, easier and more affordable than ever before. 

    “You’re able to transfer the entire [associate’s degree] as a package to a 4-year school,” said Mark Broadbent, coordinator of transfer affairs and articulation at Holyoke Community College. 

    Launched in 2010, the MassTransfer program allows community college students with at least a 2.5 GPA to gain automatic acceptance into participating Massachusetts 4-year public universities. Along with waived application fees, MassTransfer comes with the MassTransfer Tuition Credit for students whose GPA is 3.00 and above. The value of this credit varies by school but ranges between $910-$1,714 each year. 

    “The bigger benefit [of a community college] is that we have much smaller classes here which provide students more access to professors,” said Fred Cooksey, and English professor at HCC.

     Aaron Hohol of Holyoke utilized the program when he graduated from Holyoke Community College in the spring of 2019 with an associate’s degree in business administration. He transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to major in operations and information management. 

    “MassTransfer gave me the opportunity to attend UMass’s Isenberg School of Management as long as I kept a 3.0 GPA or better throughout my time at HCC. This was great because it gave me an opportunity to be accepted into a really good business school,” Hohol said.

MassTransfer offers the Commonwealth Commitment for students who are full time. This provides a freeze on the price of tuition and fees for all four years of college and 10% end-of-semester rebates, further making a college education more affordable and attainable. 

    Cynthia Grajales was homeless for the last part of her education at HCC while she was studying and researching pure mathematics. She took advantage of the waived college application fees and worked hard to stay qualified for the program.

“[MassTransfer] gave me a solid goal to work for. I also saved close to 6 figures worth of money compared to my peers who went straight to 4-year schools,” Grajales said. 

Grajales is now studying pure math at UMass Amherst and she says her dream is “to become a professor, and as a woman of color, be the support system I wish I had in academia.”

Other states are adopting similar programs. Neighboring Connecticut offers Transfer Tickets to community college students desiring to enter the states public colleges. University of Connecticut will begin offering the Connecticut Commitment starting in fall 2020, which provides transferring students 4 semesters of free college tuition for families whose income is less than $50,000 per year. 

    Programs such as MassTransfer are important in ensuring that the future adults of the US are prepared for a career and taking on adulthood without being burdened by looming student debt and can look forward to a more stable and comfortable financial future.

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