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Boston to cover community college tuition for BPS students

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file

Roxbury Community College.

By and Globe Staff 

Low-income students who graduate from Boston’s public high schools with at least a “C” average will be eligible for free tuition at community colleges in Charlestown or Roxbury under a plan announced Friday by Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

The goal is to boost education and job prospects for students, without them incurring debt at the start of college, Walsh said.

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“The single most effective way to break down the social and financial barriers facing many Boston families is to make post-secondary education free and accessible,” Walsh said in a statement.

The Tuition Free Plan would be available for students admitted to either Bunker Hill Community College or Roxbury Community College, and who have at least a 2.2 grade point average, which equals a “C” average, according to the College Board.

To be eligible, a student must also qualify for a Pell Grant, a federal aid program for low-income students.

The grants are available for students whose total family income is $50,000 or less, according to scholarships.com.

The program already has started at Madison Park Vocational Technical High School and will be rolled out citywide June 1.

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The city anticipates 150 to 220 students will take part in the program for the first year, said Bonnie McGilpin, a spokeswoman for Walsh.

Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang said the program is “breaking barriers by increasing access to quality higher education for our students.”

Bunker Hill and Roxbury community colleges are the only two public two-year colleges located in Boston. Tuition costs at each school are based on the amount of credits for each course taken.

The estimated cost for a student to attend Roxbury Community College is $664 for this academic year, according to the school’s website.

The cost to attend Bunker Hill Community College is $576 per year for students who live in Massachusetts, according to the school’s website.

But tuition is just one part of the cost of college.

Fees for registration, student activities, laboratory study, and other areas add several thousands of dollars to the bill.

The total cost to attend Roxbury Community College this year is $4,744, and $5,482 for Bunker Hill Community College, according to the colleges’ websites.

The city will tap funds from the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, which is funded by fees paid by the developers of downtown construction projects, to cover the tuition payments, the statement said.

Trinh Nguyen, director of the city’s Office of Workforce Development, also hailed the plan, which will also provide students with remedial classes, career advice, and other support services.

“Education is an essential part of preparing a competitive workforce for the City of Boston,” Nguyen said in the statement.

“College shouldn’t be limited to those who can afford it,” Nguyen said.


John R Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.
com

Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe
Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.