The Graduate Ready to Achieve Degree (GRAD) Last Mile Fund is an innovative grant program designed to provide financial support to students nearing college graduation. The Fund is for students on track to graduate who experience an unexpected financial roadblock or emergency.
Launched in 2018 by Boston. Mayor Marty Walsh in partnership with the Frieze Family, The Fund seeks to increase college completion without stoppage and onramp them to successful careers. Since its establishment, 548 students have received $859,904 in GRAD Fund grants to support the last mile of their studies. Between 2018 and October 2022, 88% of GRAD Fund recipients graduated during the same semester, or within 1 or 2 semesters after receiving their GRAD Fund grant.
With this record of success, the Fund is now poised to grow. The GRAD Fund was piloted with five colleges and universities that serve a large number of Boston residents:
Roxbury Community College
Bunker Hill Community College
Mass Bay Community College
Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology
During the pilot, only current Boston residents and Boston Public School graduates were eligible to apply for the GRAD Fund. For 2022-2023 and beyond, the program is removing that requirement to include any students at the participating colleges and universities. The participating colleges and universities estimate that by removing this requirement, the demand could double.
The following criteria will continue to be used as guardrails:
- Students must be on track academically to graduate within one or two semesters;
- Have a demonstrated financial need/hardship, exhausted their Pell Grant eligibility or reached their aggregate loan limit; and
- May receive up to $2,500 in financial support.
How do students use the GRAD Fund grants?
In Year 4, schools awarded students as much as $2,500 and as little as around $450; the average award to students was $1,713.
Students apply directly to the program at their college or university. The GRAD Fund partner schools work quickly to disburse grants - the median time between the date that a student applied for funding and the date of award disbursement was 10 days.
Many students used the GRAD Fund for emergencies, living expenses and/or school supplies. Other students used GRAD Fund grants to enroll in their final semester, either for tuition and fees or to clear outstanding balances before enrollment.
Donate to the GRAD Last Mile Fund
Thank you for your interest. You may make credit card donations using the form below.
To give from a Donor Advised Fund, please recommend a grant to "Boston Foundation, Inc." with the name of the fund in the grant purpose field.
To donate by check, make your check payable to "Boston Foundation, Inc." with the name of the fund in the memo field and mail to:
The Boston Foundation
PO Box 843027
Boston, MA 02284-3027
For wire or bank transfers, or to inquire about transferring other types of assets, please click here for a PDF of the fund gift instructions or contact our Fund Administration office at (617) 338-2637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.