Dec 04, 2023  
Middlesex Community College Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 2023-2024 
Middlesex Community College Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 2023-2024

Financial Aid

Middlesex Community College is committed to providing access to higher education by helping to reduce economic barriers. Approximately 53 percent of MCC students currently receive financial aid. The role of MCC’s Financial Aid Office is to provide information about student aid programs and to assist eligible students in accessing these programs.

Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid to help meet the expenses of attending college. Financial aid awards are based on financial need, enrollment status in an eligible program, and availability of funding. MCC’s academic year for financial aid begins with the fall semester and concludes with the summer semester. Students who apply for financial aid must apply every academic year after October 1. MCC’s priority filing date is May 1 for each upcoming academic year and December 1 for students who are registering for the spring semester only.

General information about financial aid is available in MCC’s Student Information Centers or by contacting the Financial Aid Office. In Bedford, the office is located in the Enrollment Center (Building 9); 781-280-3650. In Lowell, the office is located on the third floor of the Cowan Center; 978-656-3242. Both Financial Aid Offices are open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the e-mail address is

Eligibility Requirements


In order to be considered for most federal, state and institutional financial aid, a student must:

  • be accepted to and enrolled in an eligible program of study at MCC;
  • have a valid Social Security number;
  • be a citizen, national or permanent resident of the United States or its trust territories;
  • maintain at least half-time enrollment status (except for most Federal Pell Grant awards);
  • maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (see SAP policy);
  • not be in default on any previous student loan or owe a repayment of an educational grant.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


To be eligible for federal student financial aid, students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. All recipients of all financial aid programs, including state-funded programs, are subject to these standards for financial aid eligibility. Permission to enroll does not equal financial aid satisfactory academic progress.

Satisfactory academic progress evaluation is based on cumulative MCC coursework, as appearing on the student’s official academic transcript, and will occur at the end of each spring semester. Any classes taken during any summer session (within the same summer) are considered during the next review cycle. Only credit courses are considered for satisfactory academic progress evaluation.

The minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress are evaluated by the following criteria:

  1. Grade point average (GPA): Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average based on the total attempted credits to not be placed on academic probation.
Number of attempted credits Minimum Grade Point Average
  1 - 12   1.7
  13 - 24   1.8
  Above 24   2.0
  1. Completion rate percentage: All students must successfully complete 66.7 percent of their MCC attempted credits, as appearing on their official academic transcript, as well as transfer credits.
  2. Maximum timeframe requirement: The student must complete his or her educational program of study within a timeframe no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the educational program, as measured by credits attempted and including transfer credits.

Additional information on satisfactory academic progress can be found on the college website: (click on Financial Aid Eligibility). A paper version of the policy is available in the Financial Aid Offices.


Determining Financial Need


A student’s financial need is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined from the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), from the cost of attendance, as determined by program of study, enrollment status and residency status (resident of Massachusetts, New England states, or out of state):

Cost of Attendance
- Expected Family Contribution

Financial Need

The cost of attendance includes charges that are billed directly by MCC (direct costs), such as tuition and fees, as well as indirect expenses that students may need to consider, such as books, supplies, transportation and various personal living expenses. If your enrollment status changes from the time of application, your student budget and financial aid award may also change.

Application Process


To apply for financial aid at MCC, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be completed online at the federal FAFSA website:

MCC’s Financial Aid Office must receive a FAFSA with a valid Expected Family Contribution (EFC) while the student is enrolled and attending MCC, and before the end of the term of the student’s enrollment. Additional information may be required from the student to complete the student’s financial aid file. The Financial Aid Office will email a Missing Information Letter to notify the student of the documents that are needed to complete the student’s application. (It is the student’s responsibility to keep MCC informed of any address or telephone number changes to their account.) Financial aid files must be completed before any aid may be disbursed to a student’s account with the Student Accounts Office.

Types of Aid Available


MCC participates in most federal and state grant, scholarship and loan programs that are available to students attending a post-secondary institution. The majority of these programs are limited to students who demonstrate financial need, as determined through the financial aid process.

A listing of the major financial aid programs follows. Specific information regarding terms, conditions and eligibility for each of these programs is available on the Financial Aid Office website at or in one of our Financial Aid Offices. 

Grants and Scholarships

Only undergraduate students with no prior bachelor’s or professional degrees from a U.S. college or university (or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution) may demonstrate eligibility for the following federal and state grants:

  • Federal Pell Grant: Grant from the federal government to students with high need. These grants are based on the student’s enrollment status.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Grant from the federal government to students with high need. Priority is given to students who are Pell Grant recipients.
  • MASSGrant: Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to full-time (12 credits or more each semester) undergraduate students who are residents of Massachusetts and demonstrate exceptional financial need. Recipients  must have their FAFSA processed by the federal processor by May 1.
  • MassGrant PLUS:  In addition to the MassGrant, the MassGrant PLUS program is intended to complement other financial aid programs.  Students must be a legal resident of Massachusetts, demonstrate need, and be enrolled in at least 6 credits a semester.  Recipients must have their FAFSA processed by the federal processor by May 1.
  • Tuition Waiver: Need-based grant aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to students who are residents of Massachusetts.
  • Cash Access Grant: Need-based grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to students who are residents of Massachusetts.
  • Foster Child Grant: Grant from Commonwealth of Massachusetts for foster children to help pay for an education beyond high school. Recipient must have signed an agreement with Department of Social Services for care and services beyond age 18.
  • Early Childhood Educators Grant: Commonwealth of Massachusetts scholarship for currently employed early childhood educators and providers who enroll in associate degree programs in Early Childhood Education or related programs.
  • Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant: Grant for Massachusetts residents who are currently employed as paraprofessionals in Massachusetts public schools but wish to become certified as full-time teachers.
  • John and Abigail Adams Scholarship: Non-need based tuition waiver for full-time students who have been awarded the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Student Success Grant:  a MCC grant that can help cover tuition, fees, books and supplies.  Eligibility is determined through filing the FAFSA each year.  Subject to federal eligibility requirements, enrollment in an eligible program of study and financial need.

Student Employment

  • Federal Work Study (FWS): A part-time job funded by the federal government. Students receive a paycheck for the hours worked. Due to this, FWS cannot be deducted from your bill. Students interested in this aid program should contact the Financial Aid Office directly.

Student Loans

  • Federal Stafford Loan: A low-interest (4.99%) student loan from the federal government for students enrolled in at least six credits each semester. Students who demonstrate financial need are eligible for the Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan. The federal government pays the interest on this loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time, and during the six-month grace period. Students who do not demonstrate financial need are eligible to borrow with the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan. The student is responsible for the interest on the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, even during periods of enrollment. Borrowers may choose to defer the interest payments while in school and during the six-month grace period, but the interest will be capitalized. Repayment for both types of Federal Stafford Loans begins six months after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.

Treatment of Title IV Aid when a Student Withdraws


If you attended classes, you are entitled to keep a portion of your Title IV financial aid, based on the date you officially withdraw or cease attending classes. When you complete the official withdrawal process, the Withdrawal Date will be used to determine your eligibility. If you cease attendance without officially withdrawing, your withdrawal date will be determined based on your last date of academic activity. If we are unable to determine a last date of academic activity we will used the 50% point as allowed by federal regulations

After you have withdrawn, a federally mandated calculation is performed within 30 days to determine how much of your financial aid award you can keep. The Title IV programs that are affected by this calculation are: Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs). You will be sent a notification within 30 days of your withdrawal with the outcome of the recalculation.


Although your financial aid is disbursed to your account at the start of each payment period, you earn the funds as you complete the period. If you withdraw, the amount of assistance that you have earned is determined based on the percent of the semester you completed. The calculation is:


Number of days Completed

Number of days in the Payment Period



For example, if you complete 50 days of a 106-day period, you earn 47.2% of the aid that you were originally scheduled to receive.  If you complete more than 60% of the payment period, you earn all of the aid you were originally scheduled to receive. You will receive a notification from MCC after your withdrawal with the outcome of the withdrawal calculation.


A payment period is the traditional semester for the majority of Middlesex students. Intersession and Spring terms are combined as one payment period for financial aid determinations. Similarly, the Summer mini-mesters are combined to create a Summer payment period. Students enrolled in mini-mester coursework (i.e., coursework that does not span the length of the traditional semester) may be considered withdrawn for financial aid purposes even if they have successfully completed another mini-mester course in a given semester. We strongly recommend that students contact the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawing or ceasing attendance to determine the impacts to their eligibility.


If you received more assistance prior to your withdrawal than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or you to the federal government within 45 days of the date the school determined you withdrew.


Earned funds will be returned in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • Subsidized Direct Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants


Your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  2. The entire amount of excess funds.

The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds. If Middlesex is not required to return all of the excess funds, you are responsible for the remaining amount.


Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.


Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. Middlesex will return unearned grant funds required to be returned by students on their behalf to the federal government.


If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds as a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Middlesex must get your permission before it can disburse them. You will be sent a post-withdrawal disbursement notification letter offering you the loan. You must reply within 14 days if you wish to receive the loan. You may choose to decline all or a portion of the loan funds offered so that you don’t incur additional debt. If you reply after 14 days, it is at the College’s discretion whether the post-withdrawal disbursement may be made. You will be notified of a decision.


Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and bookstore charges. The post-withdrawal grant disbursement will occur within 45 days. The school needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for other school charges, such as the health insurance fee. If you have a Credit Balance due to you, it will be disbursed no later than 14 days after the calculation of the R2T4.


There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements, even if you attended beyond the 60% point and earned 100%. For example, if the Federal Direct Loan you were scheduled to receive was a second or subsequent disbursement of the same loan, you would not be eligible to receive it post-withdrawal.


The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that Middlesex may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Middlesex may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. Further information on MCC’s Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy may be found on the college website at the following link:

A paper version of this policy is available in the Financial Aid Offices.


If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Financial Aid Office at (978) 656-3242. Information is also available online at:


Additional Sources of Assistance


Other financing options are available to assist students in meeting their educational costs.

  • Students from states other than Massachusetts should pursue information on grants and scholarships funded by their state of residence.
  • A variety of alternative loans are available to assist in paying for college. These loans may be borrowed in either the student’s or parent’s name. Interest rates on these loans vary, as do the lengths of repayment.
  • MCC offers a three- or four-month payment plan which allows students to spread out payments for the cost of a semester’s tuition and fees. Please contact the Student Accounts Office for more information.
  • In its commitment to maintaining access to public colleges and universities, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers Categorical Tuition Waivers to eligible students. These waivers are designed to provide financial support to individuals who might not have the opportunity to achieve higher education without such assistance. For more information about these waivers, visit the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance website at or contact the MCC Student Accounts Office.

Veterans’ Benefits & Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)


Middlesex Community College programs are approved for the receipt of veterans’ educational benefits. Students may enroll in Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) or Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (AROTC) courses at UMass Lowell through the Northeast Consortium of Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (NECCUM). These programs qualify men and women enrolled as degree candidates for commissions  as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force or the United States Army.

Students may major in any undergraduate discipline and both ROTC programs offer several types of scholarships. Details regarding ROTC programs and scholarships are available from MCC’s Academic, Career & Transfer Centers in Bedford or Lowell, or by contacting the ROTC programs directly:

  • Air Force ROTC (Detachment 345) - UMass Lowell, Mahoney Hall Bsmt. (South Campus), 1 University Ave., Lowell, MA 01854; at 978-934-2252, e-mail:; website:
  • Army ROTC (The Bay State Battalion) - UMass Lowell, Mahoney Hall Bsmt. (South Campus), 1 University Ave., Lowell MA 01854; 978-934-4169; e-mail:; website:

 Additional information is also available at the ROTC national websites. Air force ROTC: or Army ROTC: 

Massachusetts veterans who wish to apply for a tuition-waiver exemption are advised to contact the appropriate certification center and the college Student Accounts Office before enrolling to determine benefit eligibility.

Federal Educational Tax Credits


The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 included a number of tax credits to make college more affordable. Families may be eligible for either an American Opportunity Tax Credit or a Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. Whether students can take advantage of these benefits depends on individual tax circumstances. For further information about these tax credits, consult the Internal Revenue Service or a federal tax advisor.

MCC Scholarships

The Middlesex Community College Foundation makes available a variety of scholarships each year to full-time and part-time students.  Scholarships range from $500 to more than $1,000 per year. Selection is generally based on academic merit and financial need. For more information, visit the MCC Foundation website at

Transfer Scholarships

Scholarships are also available to MCC students who are planning to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program.  For more information on the available transfer scholarships, visit the Transfer Scholarships page on the MCC website at

  • New England Transfer Association Scholarship
  • UMASS Amherst Community College Academic Scholarship
  • UMASS Boston Foster Furcolo Scholarship
  • UMASS Dartmouth Chancellor’s Transfer Merit Scholarship
  • UMASS Lowell Community College Scholarship

For questions about transfer scholarships, call an academic counselor at 1-800-818-3434.