Student Scholarships, Awards & Special Programs

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship

Overview

The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship provides a tuition credit for up to eight semesters of undergraduate education at a Massachusetts state college or university, based on students' scores on MCAS tests. The scholarship covers tuition only; fees and room and board are not included. The scholarship must be used within six years of a student's high school graduation.

Eligibility

To qualify for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, Massachusetts public high school students must meet the eligibility criteria presented below. As shown in the tables, the eligibility criteria differ slightly depending on whether a student is a member of the class of 2022 or the class of 2023. Both classes have been affected by decisions made by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that have modified the Competency Determination (CD) requirements for graduation.

Class of 2022: Minimum MCAS Requirements for the Adams Scholarship
  • Scholarships will be granted to students whose combined score places them in the top 25% of students in their district and who also meet the MCAS score requirements shown below.
  • Scholarship eligibility is based on each student's first attempt at taking the next-generation or legacy MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests.
  • For students who never took a high school MCAS STE test due to the modification of the CD requirements, only ELA and Math scores will be used in determining scholarship eligibility (Option 2).
  • For students who took a high school MCAS STE test in February 2020 or earlier, their STE score will be used in the eligibility determination only if doing so benefits the student. These students can meet the requirements using Option 1 or Option 2.
  • See the section below on notification to the class of 2022 for more information on the awards for this class.
Option 1: MCAS ELA, Math, STEOption 2: MCAS ELA and Math
Score at Advanced level (or equivalent) on one test:
  • ELA: Minimum of 501 Next-Gen or 260 Legacy*
  • Math: Minimum of 504 Next-Gen or 260 Legacy
  • STE: Minimum of 260 Legacy
Score at Advanced level (or equivalent) on one test:
  • ELA: Minimum of 501 Next-Gen or 260 Legacy
  • Math: Minimum of 504 Next-Gen or 260 Legacy
andand
Score at Proficient level (or equivalent) on the remaining tests:
  • ELA: Minimum of 472 Next-Gen or 240 Legacy
  • Math: Minimum of 486 Next-Gen or 240 Legacy
  • STE: Minimum of 240 Legacy
Score at Proficient level (or equivalent) on the remaining test:
  • ELA: Minimum of 472 Next-Gen or 240 Legacy
  • Math: Minimum of 486 Next-Gen or 240 Legacy

* The score requirements for the classes of 2022 and 2023 reflect an interim standard for ELA and Mathematics, defining a level of achievement on the next-generation MCAS tests that is similar to the standard on the legacy tests. This interim standard is being used during the transition to the next-generation tests. Information on the score requirements for future classes will be provided at a later time.

Class of 2023: Minimum MCAS Requirements for the Adams Scholarship
  • Scholarships will be granted to students whose combined score places them in the top 25% of students in their district and who also meet the MCAS score requirements shown below.
  • Scholarship eligibility is based on each student's first attempt at taking the next-generation MCAS ELA and Mathematics tests.
  • STE scores will not be used in the eligibility determination, since only about 1% of students in the class of 2023 took a high school STE test.
Score Requirements
Score at Advanced level (or equivalent) on one test:
  • ELA: Minimum of 501 Next-Gen*
  • Math: Minimum of 504 Next-Gen
and
Score at Proficient level (or equivalent) on the remaining test:
  • ELA: Minimum of 472 Next-Gen
  • Math: Minimum of 486 Next-Gen

* The score requirements for the classes of 2022 and 2023 reflect an interim standard for ELA and Mathematics, defining a level of achievement on the next-generation MCAS tests that is similar to the standard on the legacy tests. This interim standard is being used during the transition to the next-generation tests. Information on the score requirements for future classes will be provided at a later time.

Criteria to Receive the Adams Scholarship

In order to receive the scholarship, a student must be enrolled in a Massachusetts public high school in his or her senior year.

In order to claim the Adams Scholarship, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • be a permanent legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year prior to entering college as a freshman;
  • be a United States citizen or a non-citizen authorized by the federal government to live and work in the United States on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • be a graduate of a Massachusetts public high school;
  • be accepted at a Massachusetts public college or university;
  • complete the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  • submit the Adams Scholarship award letter to the financial aid office; and
  • enroll as a full-time student at an eligible public high education institution.

To continue receiving the Adams Scholarship, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • be enrolled full-time at a public higher education institution;
  • maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on all college work; and
  • annually complete the FAFSA and provide the completed FAFSA application to their higher education institution, along with the scholarship notification letter.

Eligible students who first enrolled in a private college or public university in another state may activate their Adams Scholarship upon transfer to a Massachusetts public college or university, provided they have previously maintained a cumulative 3.0 GPA.

Timing of Scholarship Award Letters

Students who qualify for the scholarship will receive award letters and further information in the fall or winter of their senior year.

Class of 2022 Notification

The first round of scholarship award letters will be sent to students in the class of 2022 in October 2021, based on results from the spring 2021 MCAS tests are available. Eligibility in this round will be based on the cut scores used in each district to determine eligibility for members of the class of 2021.

A second round of scholarship award letters will be sent to students in the class of 2022 in February 2022, when the results from the November 2021 retests are available. In each district, these final awards will be based on the top 25% of the entire class of 2022. The top 25% cut score will be calculated and applied twice (with and without the STE score), as some students in the class of 2022 did not have an opportunity to take an STE test.

Letters are sent to high schools, who then distribute letters to students and their families. Once parents/guardians receive the letter, we suggest keeping it in a secure location for reference.

The letter is important because students must provide a copy of it along with their completed FAFSA application each year. Without this letter, the college/university will not apply the tuition credit.

For additional information, email the Office of Student Assessment Services at mcas@doe.mass.edu or call 781-338-3625.

Massachusetts State Colleges and Universities that Accept the Adams Scholarship

Community Colleges

State Colleges and Universities


University of Massachusetts


Last Updated: June 22, 2021

 
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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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