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Student Scholarships, Awards & Special Programs

FAQ for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery

Q. What is the Koplik Certificate of Mastery?

A. The Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction is a non-need-based tuition credit for Massachusetts public colleges and universities.

Q. Who is Eligible to receive the Koplik Certificate of Mastery?

A. To be eligible to apply for a Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Award, a student must:

  • Must be currently enrolled in a Massachusetts public high school. (Students who have graduated high school are not eligible to apply)
  • Be a permanent Massachusetts resident.
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen.

Q. What if my child is not a permanent resident, US Citizen, or eligible non-citizen but has met all other requirements?

A. Your child may receive the certificate as recognition of his/her achievements however (s)he may not use the tuition credit portion of the award.

Q. How will I know if my child qualifies for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery?

A. Students who meet the initial qualifications are notified in their junior year by letter to the students' parents or guardians. This letter, in combination with the included application form, explains the remaining requirements should the student wish to pursue them.

Q. When should we expect to receive the initial qualification letter?

A. Coordinators* at your child's high school are asked to inform families of initial qualification by mail between February and May of the student's junior year in high school.

Q. What exactly does initial qualification mean?

A. Because of the transition to the next-generation MCAS tests, there are currently different requirements for initial qualification, depending on the student's original class, as shown in the table below.

Minimum Score on High School MCAS TestClasses of 2019 and 2020Classes of 2021 and 2022
First High School MCAS Test:
  • Grade 10 ELA
  • Grade 10 Mathematics
  • Grade 10 S/TE
(Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, or Technology Engineering)
Earn a Score of 260 or higher on ONE of the tests Earn the minimum score listed below on ONE of the tests
  • ELA - 501
  • Mathematics - 504
  • High School S/TE - 260
Remaining TWO High School MCAS Tests: Earn a score of 240 or higher on each remaining test Earn the minimum score listed below for each remaining test:
  • ELA – 472
  • Mathematics – 476
  • High School S/TE – 240

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.

Q. So if my son/daughter does well enough on the grade 10 MCAS to get this letter then he/she will get free tuition?

A. No. The initial qualification Ietter is not the actual award; your child must fulfill the additional requirements and file an application with his/her school's Koplik coordinator.

Q. I believe my child met these initial qualifications but junior year is over and we have not received a letter. What do we do?

A. Please contact your child's School Counselor as soon as possible.

Q. We've gotten the initial qualification letter, what's next?

A. To receive the Certificate of Mastery, students must fulfill additional requirements through one of the following combinations covering both arts/humanities and mathematics/science:

  • 2 AP exams with scores of 3 or better;
  • 2 SAT II exams (Minimum score dependent upon subject area. Scores are listed on the Koplik application);
  • 1 SAT II exam and 1 AP exam; or
  • 1 SAT II exam and 1 other achievement; or
  • 1 AP exam and 1 other achievement.

Q. What are the tests my child has to take?

A. Accepted exams and scores are listed on page 2 of the application. Please note that the exams may not be in the same content area (i.e. Math level 1 and Statistics or Chemistry and Biology).

Q. What about "other achievements"? How do I know what is acceptable?

A. Page 3 of the application includes a short list of accepted academic achievements however it is important to note the following:

  • All achievements must be connected to the MA (content-area) Curriculum Frameworks
  • Eagle Scouts is not accepted for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery
  • "General" National Honors Society (NHS) membership is not accepted for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery however "specific" Honors society membership(s) (French, Art, History, etc.) IS accepted
  • College courses cannot be in the same content area as the standardized test

Q. What is the actual amount of the Koplik Certificate of Mastery?

A. The Koplik Certificate of Mastery waives tuition at Massachusetts public colleges and universities but does not include fees, books, room and board, etc. Tuition rates vary from school to school. Individual student awards shall be no more than the resident undergraduate tuition rate at the participating institution.

Q. How long can the Koplik Certificate of Mastery be used?

A. The Koplik Certificate of Mastery may be used for 8 consecutive semesters at Massachusetts colleges and university however students are required to maintain a G.P.A. of 3.3 for continued eligibility.

Q. Our family does not qualify to receive financial aid; do I still need to complete the FAFSA?

A. Yes

Q. Does my child need to reapply after receiving the credit freshman year?

A. Once received; students do not need to reapply for the Koplik Certificate of Mastery however students are required to maintain a G.P.A. of 3.3 for continued eligibility.

Q. We've gotten the letter and fulfilled the requirements, how do we apply?

A. Koplik Application forms should be submitted to the Koplik coordinator* at your high school. Applications sent directly to the DESE will not be processed.

Application Process:

All applications and supporting documentation should be submitted directly to the school's Koplik Coordinator or your student's School Counselor, please do not send copies in to the DESE.

For students in their senior year, applications must be submitted to the Koplik coordinator by May 1. It is important to note that since scores from tests taken in May and June are not reported until early July, the application need not be complete when submitted however notifications will not be sent until scores are received. Koplik coordinators* are asked to submit scores for these students by the end of July.

*Every public high school, regional high school, regional vocational technical high school and public charter high school is asked to assign a person to serve as the Koplik coordinator. The Koplik coordinator is responsible for:

  • notifying students in their junior year who initially qualify for the Koplik Certificate;
  • advising students on how they may fulfill the requirements;
  • reviewing applications; and,
  • submitting the names and addresses of students who successfully complete the requirements to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education via the security portal (this information may not be submitted via email)

Q. I met the initial qualifications but did not file an application before I graduated, can I apply now?

A. Unfortunately applications cannot be filed after you have already graduated from high school.

Q. I received the Koplik certificate before I graduated but went to a private university for my freshman year. Can I use my tuition credit now?

A. The Koplik certificate must be used in the September following your high school graduation.

Q. My child has decided to go to a private (or out of state) college/university; will the Koplik Certificate be accepted there?

A. Since the Koplik Certificate is a tuition credit, there is no actual exchange of money. If a private (or out of state) school agrees to credit tuition with the understanding that the State of Massachusetts will not be paying for anything then that decision is up to that school.

Last Updated: February 26, 2020

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

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