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Massachusetts launches aid form for undocumented students

Massachusetts Statehouse.
Elizabeth Román
Massachusetts Statehouse.

Higher education officials have launched a new financial aid form meant to support undocumented college students, building on a new state policy that provides in-state tuition for undergraduates without legal immigration status.

Students should fill out the Massachusetts Application for State Financial Aid (MAFSA) by May 1, and no later than June 30, to secure aid for the 2023-2024 school year, the Healey administration said.

Officials say the form is intended for students who are seeking need-based financial aid from public or private colleges in Massachusetts but cannot apply for federal aid due to their immigration status.

"The Department of Higher Education is committed to increasing socioeconomic mobility for all residents of Massachusetts, particularly those who have historically been underserved and underrepresented in higher education,"  Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega said in a statement Tuesday. "The MASFA is a key tool for advancing equitable access to the Commonwealth’s many great colleges and universities."

The tuition budget policy took effect in the fall, allowing students without legal status to qualify for in-state tuition rates and state financial aid at public colleges and universities if they attended high school in Massachusetts for at least three years or earned their GED here. The policy was initiated by the Senate and included in the state budget last summer.

The new MAFSA form unlocks more financial assistance for eligible students, the administration said.

"The MAFSA is a crucial tool for advancing tuition equity in Massachusetts," Rob McCarron, president and CEO of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, said. "Our private colleges and universities in Massachusetts are committed to serving all students who wish to attend college, as well as ensure that all students who are eligible can access need-based state financial aid, which for many students is essential to their goal of achieving a higher education."

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