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For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo 617-619-5677

Adams Scholarships Awarded to Class of 2009

Recipients Receive Free State College or University Tuition

MALDEN - Nearly 17,500 students in the class of 2009 were notified this week that they have qualified to receive the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, the state's largest merit-based scholarship program.

A total of 17,469 students from the class of 2009 received the scholarship, an increase of nearly 500 students over last year. Eligibility is based on performance on the English language arts and Math MCAS exams. Students must score Advanced on one exam and either Proficient or Advanced on the second exam, as well as score within the top 25 percent of students in their district. Students must also be permanent legal Massachusetts residents.

"The Adams Scholarship represents the level of academic excellence and college and career preparation we want all students to aspire to," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I commend the recipients for their hard work, commitment and achievement."

Education Secretary Paul Reville agreed.

"Congratulations to the students and their teachers for the work that led to this outstanding award," said Secretary Reville. "As these students move into college, we celebrate their success and urge them to bring the same diligence and persistence to higher education."

Recipients of the Adams Scholarship receive free tuition at any Massachusetts public college or university. The tuition waiver remains in effect for eight consecutive semesters or four years. Recipients must begin to use the waiver in the first fall semester following their high school graduation, and must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better throughout the time of the waiver. The scholarship does not cover the cost of fees.

"If students choose one of our many fine public colleges and University campuses, they will receive an affordable, high quality education and be well prepared for Massachusetts' knowledge economy," said Aundrea Kelley, Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education. "We look forward to seeing Adams Scholars at our institutions next fall."

Of this year's 17,469 student recipients:

  • 55 percent were female, 45 percent were male
  • 81 percent were white, 8 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent African American/black
  • 15 percent were low income
  • 22 percent were from urban districts

In all, 117 students at the Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester received the Adams Scholarship, up from 76 last year, the highest increase in the state. Other schools with a significant increase in recipients from 2007 include:

  • Lynn English High School (up 34 students, from 75 to 109)
  • Greater Lowell Technical High School (up 29 students, from 43 to 72)
  • Chicopee High School (up 28 students, from 53 to 81)
  • Masconomet Regional High School (up 27 students, from 82 to 109)
  • Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School (up 25 students, from 58 to 83)

In Massachusetts, average tuition per year is $745 at community colleges, $959 at state colleges and $1,619 at the University of Massachusetts. Recipients are still responsible for the cost of fees, books and other expenses. Annual fees vary from school to school, but average $3,118 at community colleges, $5,441 at state colleges and $7,966 at the University of Massachusetts.

As the state's only merit-based tuition waiver program, the Adams Scholarship was established to help families pay for college, create an incentive for students to push themselves academically and encourage them to pursue higher education in Massachusetts. The program is in addition to the nearly $100 million in annual state-funded financial aid awarded to Massachusetts residents. The scholarship was signed into law in 2004 as part of former Gov. Romney's Legacy of Learning initiative.

For more information on the Adams Scholarship, visit the Department's website at

Last Updated: October 30, 2008
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