Massachusetts Expands Early College Programs to New Schools, Colleges
Students who attend 13 high schools and eight public colleges across the state of Massachusetts will soon be able to take college-level courses and earn credits before they graduate from high school.
Last week, Governor Charlie Baker and Education Secretary James Peyser launched 21 new early college programs during an event at Bunker Hill Community College. Currently, there are approximately 2,400 students enrolled in early college and career pathway programs across the state.
The programs aim to develop deep partnerships between high schools, community colleges and state universities, ensuring equitable access for all students, guided academic pathways, enhanced student support and providing relevant connections to a career.
Students can earn up to 12 college credits for free while studying in the programs. Furthermore, the program curricula includes a mix of traditional high school classes with college courses offered through a local college or university to expose students to new areas of study.
Starting next fall, the programs will enroll thousands of students across the state and help them to have a hassle-free journey towards college and careers. The programs also boost college completion rates for low-income students, minority students, and first-generation college students by exposing these individuals to college-level work.
“Exposing students to early college is a way to create opportunities for students to earn college credits in high school and encourage them to continue pursuing a degree,” Governor Baker said in a statement.“We believe early college has such an impact on student success that our administration proposed making it part of a school district’s state aid calculations so that more districts can provide students with these opportunities.”
The state legislature is also considering additional education funding legislation, An Act to Promote Equity and Excellence in Education, which proposes providing additional funds to high schools that implement Early College and Career Pathway programs.
“Early College reduces the need for students to take remedial education courses in college by ensuring they are exposed to college-level work before they graduate high school,” education secretary Peyser said in a statement.“These programs build competence and confidence in students, making college an achievable reality for many young people across the Commonwealth.”