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Six community colleges to offer tuition-free education for all Boston residents

<i>Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images</i><br/>The program provides funding for up to three years of tuition and fees.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images
The program provides funding for up to three years of tuition and fees.

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

All Boston residents are now eligible for tuition-free schooling at six community colleges — regardless of their age, income or immigration status — under a new plan announced by the city government.

City officials announced the expansion of its “Tuition-Free Community College Plan” in a Wednesday news release.

The program provides funding for up to three years of tuition and fees at six partner institutions, according to the news release. The funding also covers up to $250 per semester in related costs, like textbooks and transportation, and debt up to $2,500 for “students with an outstanding balance at a partner college that is preventing a student from re-enrolling at that college.”

Bostonians will be eligible for free tuition at Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Bunker Hill Community College, Massasoit Community College, MassBay Community College, Roxbury Community College and Urban College of Boston, according to the release.

Potential students won’t need to fill out a separate application for the program, just the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, according to the release. Undocumented immigrants and students who have DACA status or Temporary Protected Status will not need to complete the FAFSA to be eligible for the program.

Any associate’s degree or “short-term certificate program” at a partner institution will be eligible for the funding, according to a fact sheet published by the Boston government. Students who are already enrolled at a participating school are not eligible for the plan.

“Costs should not be a barrier to higher education,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in a tweet Wednesday. The program “will continue to help more residents afford, attend & complete college.”

Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley also voiced excitement for the expansion on Twitter.

“Expanding Boston’s free community college program will help remove economic barriers to higher education,” she said. “I am proud to have secured this federal funding to support students pursuing a college degree & help address the college affordability crisis.”

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