Suffolk Joins Mass. Independent College Transfer Guarantee

New partnership to expand transfer opportunities for community college students

Suffolk University has signed onto the newly created Massachusetts Independent College Transfer Guarantee (Massachusetts Guarantee), which makes it easier for graduates of Massachusetts community colleges to enroll in four-year independent institutions.

Under the Massachusetts Guarantee partnership agreement, community college students who complete an associate degree and meet a minimum grade point average requirement of 2.5 are guaranteed admission to bachelor’s degree programs at participating four-year private colleges and universities, including Suffolk. Transfer applicants also benefit from: 

  • Guaranteed transfer of associate degree credits
  • Junior status upon enrollment
  • Waived application fees
  • No admissions essay
  • Financial aid and scholarships tailored to community college graduates
  • Clearly defined transfer pathways

Additionally, Suffolk University offers a merit scholarship grant to incoming students with a Massachusetts associate degree and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Those students are guaranteed at least 33 percent off Suffolk tuition, or a minimum of $15,000 in savings.

“Suffolk has always been very transfer friendly, and this partnership makes us even more so,” said Daniel Connolly, Suffolk’s managing associate director for Undergraduate Admissions. “The goal is to unify transfer within the state. It creates more options for students, along with a more seamless transition, where transfer credits will come in cleanly. There’s also a big affordability factor, with Suffolk’s guarantee of merit scholarship money for students who finish their associate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher."

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has partnered on the Massachusetts Guarantee agreement with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, and 16 of Massachusetts four-year independent institutions, including Suffolk University, along with all of the state’s 15 community colleges. The Massachusetts Guarantee is part of the New England Independent College Transfer Guarantee initiative. 

Institutions that have signed on, including Suffolk, will begin accepting transfer applications from eligible community college graduates in January 2021.

“NEBHE is very pleased to work with a distinguished group of state and institutional partners to create expanded transfer pathways for students in Massachusetts,” said Michael K. Thomas, president and CEO of NEBHE. “Stronger links between our two-year institutions and our outstanding independent colleges and universities simply make sense. The Massachusetts Guarantee will expand the range of high-quality, affordable bachelor’s degree programs available—benefiting our students, our institutions, and our workforce.”

AICUM President Richard Doherty agreed, adding that “many of our member institutions are thrilled to be collaborating with NEBHE in this important effort. Many community college students in Massachusetts have found our member institutions to be a highly accessible and affordable option for transfer to complete their bachelor’s degree and jumpstart their career

The 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges serve more than half of all undergraduate students in the Massachusetts public higher education system, accounting for 50 percent of undergraduate credit enrollments. This pool of talented community college students helps drive the state’s economy, with many graduating and enrolling in four-year institutions. 

According to Tom Sannicandro, director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, “The Massachusetts Guarantee expands existing community college and independent institutional partnerships, and provides students with a higher education option that may better serve their educational needs and career aspirations.”


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