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News & Updates

Mayor Walsh, City of Boston announce expansion of tuition-free plan to include Urban College of Boston

Feb 18, 2020

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that Urban College of Boston will become the sixth institution to join the Tuition-Free Community College (TFCC) Plan, a City initiative that pays for up to three years of college for Boston’s income-eligible students. Mayor Walsh launched TFCC in 2016 to help more residents afford, attend, and complete college. Since that time, TFCC has grown from just two colleges to an array of two-year, four-year, public, and private institutions: Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Bunker Hill Community College, Massasoit Community College, MassBay Community College, Roxbury Community College, and Urban College of Boston.

“Urban College of Boston fully embraces our shared mission of expanding access to higher education for all,” said Mayor Walsh. “The financial assistance we are offering through our Tuition Free Community College Program, combined with Urban College’s impassioned outreach will open more doors to college for our residents.” 

“Urban College of Boston (UCB) is thrilled and grateful to join the Mayor’s Tuition Free Community College Plan,” said Michael Taylor, Urban College of Boston president. “Mayor Walsh’s extraordinary commitment to our students began with his successful efforts to secure a new campus for Urban College at the China Trade Center in Chinatown. Today’s announcement continues the Mayor’s meaningful and impactful partnership with the UCB community.” 

Located in downtown Boston, Urban College is the only institution of higher education established by an anti-poverty agency. Founded by Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the two-year college was created to provide opportunities to urban communities that have been traditionally underserved by higher education. More than 90 percent of students are from minority populations and more than 70 percent speak English as a second language. Urban College of Boston offers associate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Services Administration, and General Studies, as well as several certificate programs.

The Tuition-Free Community College Plan is funded by the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) and the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, which, through the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s Article 80 process, collects Linkage fees from large-scale commercial developments in the City to fund job training and education.

The addition of Urban College was announced today at The BASE, a Roxbury-based nonprofit that supports student-athletes through baseball training and competition, education, and career resources. Since 2016, The BASE has partnered with Urban College of Boston to provide  onsite college courses that confer a full year of college credits.

“The BASE community is excited for Urban College of Boston to be included in Mayor Walsh’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan,” said Robert Lewis, Jr., president and founder of The BASE. “We all know that talent is everywhere, but access and opportunity are not. The BASE/UCB partnership has provided access and educational opportunity for our students to begin their college experience and achieve their associate degrees, right here at The BASE.”

The range of college choice in the Tuition-Free Community College Plan has proven popular among TFCC students and their guidance counselors. For several students, TFCC funding has also influenced their decision to go to college and their ability to persist until graduation. 

“I didn’t want to go to community college at first, but this program changed my perspective,” said Teresa Prum, a TFCC student from Allston who is in her final semester at Bunker Hill Community College. “What matters is continuing my education to reach my career goals. The TFCC program gave me the opportunity to have an education that I would not have gotten otherwise.”

The TFCC application for the Fall semester will open on April 1. Students who are interested in attending UCB should apply for the TFCC program directly through the UCB Financial Aid Office. To be eligible, an applicant must:
  • Be a Boston resident
  • Receive a high school credential within the past year
  • Have a grade point average of at least 2.0
  • Require no more than three developmental classes
  • Be eligible for the Pell Grant
  • Have low to moderate income (per HUD guidelines)
Mayor Walsh has advocated for the creation of statewide tuition-free college in his support of Bill H.1245 An Act Establishing Tuition-Free Community College in Massachusetts. Walsh testified last summer in  support of the bill, which is sponsored by state Rep. Chynah Tyler.

About the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development
The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) is an innovative agency within the  Boston Planning & Development Agency that seeks to ensure the full participation of all Boston residents in the City's economic vitality and future. OWD funds and oversees programs that promote workforce development through education, jobs training, apprenticeships, financial coaching, career pathways, literacy initiatives, and the like. Please visit OWD.Boston.Gov to learn more about OWD's work.

About Urban College of Boston
Urban College of Boston (UCB) is a private, non-profit college granting Associate of Arts degrees in Early Childhood Education, General Studies, and Human Services Administration, and offering over ten certificate programs. Determined and resilient, UCB students usually attend college half-time, while working full-time and raising a family. Committed to access and affordability, UCB does not offer loans; instead, UCB provides grant aid and offers flexible payment plans. 
UCB offers classes in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and - soon - Haitian Creole. UCB exists to provide opportunity to every student seeking a college degree or professional advancement. The College supports students as they overcome economic, social, and language barriers to achieve academic, personal, or professional aspirations. For more information, please visit:
About The BASE 
Founded in 2013, The BASE is a 501(c)(3) corporation located in a new facility in Roxbury, Massachusetts ( According to its mission statement, “The BASE operates a powerful urban academy that combines sports and educational opportunities through a methodology that cultivates excellence, belief and love. We shine a spotlight on the limitless potential of our young people, on and off the field.” 
The BASE program combines athletic training and competition with education and career resources to empower student-athletes to achieve their full potential both on and off the field. The BASE engages and supports a growing number of student-athletes and coaches and has built strong relationships with diverse leaders, institutions, higher education, and community members and across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. While most students at this location are BASE participants, a few students from other community programs have also joined these classes.

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