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A priceless $30K idea (Telegram & Gazette editorial April 26, 2015)

Early in March, the presidents of four local public colleges and universities announced the “$30K Commitment,” an effort to help local students obtain both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree at a cost not to exceed $30,000.

No parent or student who has struggled with college costs or the crushing burdens that college loans can represent for years after schooling ends needs to be told how attractive such a proposition is.

Participating students would enroll at either Mt. Wachusett Community College in Gardner or Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, and would have up to three years to complete a two-year associate’s degree before transferring to either Fitchburg State or Worcester State to complete a bachelor’s degree. Students must remain in good academic standing, and those who wish to live on campus would have to add the costs of housing.

The “$30K Commitment” is not the product of a state commission or bureaucracy. It was born from discussions among the presidents of the four participating institutions. As WSU President Barry Maloney put it during a recent visit with the Telegram & Gazette’s editorial board, they felt it was better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

They needn’t have worried. State education officials have embraced the idea, and the response from students has been strong and positive.We are particularly impressed by the fact that the “$30K Commitment” targets the lower- and middle-income students, many from immigrant populations, whose greatest obstacles are not ambition and talent, but costs.We applaud these educational leaders for their vision. For more, visit any of these websites:,,, or A priceless $30K idea