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Romney Awards Free Tuition to 16,000 High School Seniors

Location: Roxbury, MA


High-achieving members of the class of 2007 rewarded with Adams scholarships

ROXBURY - Governor Mitt Romney today announced that 16,169 high school students have earned a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship this year providing four years of free tuition to the University of Massachusetts or any other of the state's public colleges. The announcement was made at the O'Bryant School for Math and Science, where Romney personally delivered the good news to 131 high-achieving students.

"Talented and hardworking students, particularly those faced with economic challenges, deserve whatever financial help we can give them. They have earned it with their good grades, and we want to make it easier for them to pursue their college education right here in Massachusetts," said Romney.

Governor Romney established the Adams scholarships in 2004 to help families pay for college, create an incentive for students to push themselves academically and encourage them to pursue higher education in Massachusetts. Now in its third year, the merit-based program complements $90 million in need-based financial aid the state will grant this academic year to students from low-income families.

"We are truly humbled and most proud of all the efforts of both our students and our faculty," said Joel Stembridge, Headmaster of the O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. "It's terrific that these students will now have the opportunity to attend and graduate from our outstanding public colleges and universities."

Adams scholarships are available to permanent legal Massachusetts residents who score in the "Advanced" category in either the English or math sections of the MCAS test and "Advanced" or "Proficient" in the other subject area by the end of their junior year. To qualify, students' MCAS scores must also place them in the top 25 percent of the students in their school district.

"Too often the cost of a higher education deters people from pursuing a college degree, and that should not be the case," said Department of Education Commissioner David Driscoll. "I hope that this scholarship opportunity will take away at least some of that concern for this year's recipients and encourage them to pursue a degree at one of the Commonwealth's public institutions."

To receive an Adams scholarship, students must complete their college program in four years or less and maintain a 3.0 grade point average. The average tuition is $734 at community colleges, $954 at state colleges and $1,618 at the University of Massachusetts. The scholarship does not cover fees or room and board. There are 27 public higher education institutions in Massachusetts that accept Adams Scholars, including 15 community colleges, eight state colleges and four university campuses.

"If students choose one of our nearly 30 public colleges and university campuses in Massachusetts, they are guaranteed to receive an affordable, high quality education and be well prepared for Massachusetts' knowledge economy," said Pat Plummer, Chancellor of the Public Higher Education system in Massachusetts. "We look forward to seeing Adams Scholars at our colleges next fall." Dr. Plummer is a graduate of the public system, earning her Bachelor's degree from Framingham State College.

Nearly 25 percent of the more than 13,000 students in the class of 2005 who received the first Adams scholarships have taken advantage of the program -- 903 students enrolled at a state college, 284 at a community college and 2,058 enrolled at a University of Massachusetts campus. More than 14,000 Adams scholarships were offered to members of the class of 2006. Placement data for this year are not yet available.

The Department of Education today mailed letters to each of the 16,169 recipients in the class of 2007 who qualified for Adams scholarships.

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