Stay informed about Coronavirus — COVID-19. Learn more
Read the initial return-to-school guidance.

Student Scholarships, Awards & Special Programs

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship

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. 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.

In order to be eligible for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, Massachusetts public high school students must meet the eligibility criteria below.

Because of the transition to the next-generation MCAS tests, there are currently different qualifications depending on the student's original class, as shown in the table below. Requirements for the classes of 2021 and 2022 reflect an interim standard for ELA and Mathematics defining a level of achievement on the new tests that is similar to the standard on the legacy tests. Information on future classes will be provided at a later time.

 Classes of 2019 and 2020Classes of 2021 and 2022
Minimum score on one of the following MCAS high school tests:
  • grade 10 ELA
  • grade 10 Mathematics
  • high school STE (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology/Engineering)
Earn a score of 260 or higher on one of the tests Earn a minimum score on one of the following tests:
  • 501 on ELA
  • 504 on Mathematics
  • 260 on high school STE
Minimum score on the remaining two MCAS high school tests Earn a score of 240 or higher on the other two tests Earn a minimum score on one of the following tests:
  • 472 on ELA
  • 486 on Mathematics
  • 240 on high school STE
Other criteria Have combined scores from the three MCAS tests that place them in the top 25% of students in the graduating class in their district. Have combined scores from the three MCAS tests that place them in the top 25% of students in the graduating class in their district.

Scholarship eligibility is based on each student's first attempt at taking the spring MCAS tests (see these memoranda for information about an exception for the November 2019 retest: the August 30 "On the Desktop" and the September 18 "On the Desktop" messages). In order to receive the scholarship, a student must be enrolled in a Massachusetts public high school in his or her senior year.

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

Students in charter schools and students who participate in school choice or METCO are eligible for the scholarship if they meet the eligibility requirements for either the school they attend or the district in which they reside.

In order to claim the Adams Scholarship, the student must

  • be a permanent legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year prior to entering college as a freshman;
  • 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.

To continue receiving the Adams Scholarship, a student must

  • 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.

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.

For additional information, call 781-338-3625 or send an email to

Massachusetts State Colleges and Universities that Accept the Adams Scholarship

Community Colleges

State Colleges and Universities

University of Massachusetts

Last Updated: November 26, 2019

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.