- Executive Office of Education
Media Contact for The Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Nine New Early College Programs Across the Commonwealth
Delaney Corcoran, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education
BOSTON — Yesterday afternoon, the Early College Joint Committee under the Healey-Driscoll administration unanimously voted to expand the Massachusetts Early College program, adding nine additional Early College partnerships and increasing the number of participating high schools to nearly 60 high schools across the Commonwealth. Among the new programs are three partnerships with Boston Public Schools and UMass Boston, the first Early College programs with UMass. The additional Early College programs also scale up partnerships in Gateway Communities as well as in rural communities.
With these additional programs, nearly 7,800 Massachusetts students are projected to be enrolled in Early College programs by the upcoming school year. Following the Joint Committee’s vote, there are now 48 designated Early College program partnerships across 58 high schools and 27 higher education institutions across the Commonwealth. Over 70% of the programs will now be in high schools within Gateway cities or Boston, and all are reaching students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education.
The Healey-Driscoll administration is committed to continuing to expand the Early College program and other workforce and higher education pathways that ensure Massachusetts students have the opportunities they deserve when they graduate high school. Governor Maura Healey’s and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll’s FY24 budget proposal includes nearly $47 million for Early College and Innovation Pathways, a $14.4 million increase from FY23.
“I am thrilled to see our Early College program expanding to nearly 60 high schools in the Commonwealth. Early College gives students, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in higher education, the option to try out college courses at no cost—creating a more competitive and equitable Massachusetts as more of those students continue their higher education,” said Governor Maura Healey. “That’s why our FY24 budget proposal makes targeted investments to expand pathways to success and build our skilled workforce, including increases to Early College.”
“As the Mayor of Salem, I saw firsthand the invaluable advantage for students participating in Early College programs and the benefits the programs could bring to partnership universities like Salem State. These nine new Early College programs are a win for the high schools and their students and families, the higher education institutions, and the future workforce in these communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Governor Healey and I have proposed funding increases to opportunities like Early College, Innovation Pathways, and even apprenticeships, because every student, no matter their zip code, deserves access to a successful future.”
“It is wonderful to see nine new Early College programs established for students across Massachusetts. In my previous role as Superintendent in Lynn, I oversaw the creation of the Commonwealth’s second largest Early College program, because Early College programs can make all the difference in the futures of our students,” said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. “Early career pathways, like those provided by Early College and Innovation Pathways programs, are how we start to reimagine and transform high school — empowering students with opportunities for success.”
“UMass is excited to receive our first official Early College designation from the Healey-Driscoll administration,” said UMASS President Marty Meehan. “With our colleagues at UMass Boston, we look forward to working with our partner high schools to open these brand new Early College programs and create new higher education opportunities for their students.”
The Massachusetts Early College program gives students the opportunity to take college courses and earn credits at no cost before they graduate high school. Early College allows students to get a head start on their higher education and contributes to significantly higher college enrollment and completion rates, particularly for low-income, minority and first-generation college students. In 2019, approximately 76 percent of Early College students enrolled in college after graduation compared to 55 percent of their peers who did not participate in Early College. Data shows that the benefits from Early College make the biggest difference for students who are English learners, but those benefits are still significant for students of color and students from lower economic backgrounds.
In addition to the three new programs announced with UMass Boston, The University of Massachusetts system is currently piloting the Commonwealth Collegiate Academy early college program with eight partner high schools, UMass Lowell, and UMass Dartmouth. The initiative is funded by a state incubator grant.
The Early College Joint Committee is charged with designing, developing and coordinating the administration of Massachusetts’ statewide Early College program. The members of the Joint Committee include Secretary Tutwiler, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Chair Katherine Craven, Board of Higher Education (BHE) Chair Chris Gabrieli, BESE member Matt Hills, and BHE member Paul Toner.
The Nine New Early College Designations Include:
- Athol High School (Athol Royalston Regional School District) and Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State University
- Boston Community Leadership Academy (Boston Public Schools) and University of Massachusetts Boston
- Brighton High School (Boston Public Schools) and Bunker Hill Community College
- Drury High School (North Adams Public Schools) and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
- Fenway High School (Boston Public Schools) and University of Massachusetts Boston
- Malden High School (Malden Public Schools) and Bunker Hill Community College
- New Mission High School (Boston Public Schools) and University of Massachusetts Boston
- Revere High School (Revere Public Schools) and North Shore Community College
- Veritas Prep Charter School and Springfield Technical Community College and Worcester State University