Categorical Tuition Waiver
*The following is a brief description for students. Institutions should refer to the most recent guidelines for information.
The Categorical Tuition Waiver is a component of the Single Tuition Waiver Program and has the same purpose of maintaining access to the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities. The Categorical Tuition Waiver is designed to provide financial support to individuals who might not have the opportunity to achieve higher education without such assistance.
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for a Categorical Tuition Waiver, a student must:
- Physically reside in Massachusetts for at least one year, as of the start of the enrolled term, with an intent to remain in Massachusetts consistent with Board of Higher Education policy; and
- Have approved eligibility status as a “High School Completer,” 1 per the Massachusetts tuition equity law, 2 or be a U.S. Citizen, permanent legal resident, or non-citizen eligible under Title IV regulations.
- Not be in default of any federal or state Student Loans for attendance at any institution or owe a refund for any previous financial aid received.
- Enroll in at least three undergraduate credits per semester in state-supported undergraduate degree or certificate program.
- Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with institutional and federal standards.
- A member of an eligible category as defined below:
- Veteran: As provided in M.G.L. Chapter 4, Section 7(43) including: Spanish War, World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Lebanese peace keeping force, Grenada rescue mission, the Panamanian intervention force, or the Persian Gulf.
- *For purposes of tuition waivers, the term "veteran" shall also include any individual who served in the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard or air force of the United States for not less than ninety days at least one of which was served in the theatre of operation for the Somalian mission known as "Operation Restore Hope" and whose last discharge or release was under honorable conditions.
- Native American: As certified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Senior Citizen: Persons over the age of 60.
- Armed Forces: An active member of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force or Coast Guard) stationed and residing in Massachusetts.
- Clients of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission or Commission for the Blind: As certified by the respective commission.
- * If it deems necessary, the institution, consistent with its mission and subject to the Board of Higher Education's approval as of September 1, 1991, may establish additional waivers for specific categories of students.
- In accordance with institutional requirements, each student must present documentation of categorical waiver eligibility to the appropriate college officials.
1 See www.mass.edu/tuitionequity for more details.
2 Pursuant to Section 9 of Chapter 15A, as amended by Section 11 of Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2023.
An eligible institution is within the system of public institutions of higher education section 5 of Chapter 15A of the General Laws.
Students qualifying for a Categorical Tuition Waiver may be granted full tuition waivers consistent with the institution's policies.
- Campus fees are not included in the waivers. Institutions may, but are not required to, waive specific fees for participants in various categorical waivers. If fees are waived, the campus should publicize the fees waived.
- Individual student awards for an award period may not exceed the actual campus tuition charges for the award period.
- If the student is the recipient of need-based student financial aid resources and categorical tuition waiver awards, the combination of resources in the student's financial aid package may not exceed the student's demonstrated financial aid need.
- If the student is the recipient of both a need based tuition waiver and a categorical waiver, the total value of both waivers may not exceed the total cost of tuition.
Click here to view the full value of tuition waivers, by school, for a full-time student in the current academic year.
How to Apply
Contact the financial aid office at the institution you are attending or plan to attend for application requirements or deadlines. You can also call the DHE’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617) 391-6070 to obtain more information.
Tuition Waiver Guidelines