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FRAMINGHAM – Framingham State University and MassBay Community College are proud to announce their involvement in the recently launched Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, a coalition of more than 80 organizations across Massachusetts that are collaborating to substantially increase the
number of students in Early College programs from 4,500 today to 45,000 in five years.

The two colleges are represented on the alliance through the MetroWest College Planning Collaborative, a joint venture between Framingham State and MassBay to help low-income and underrepresented students and families earn their college degrees.

The Collaborative oversees the MetroWest Scholars Early-Start Program, which exposes high school students in Milford, Framingham, and Waltham public schools to in-demand professional fields such as business, education, and criminology as they take college-level courses for free and earn credits toward their degrees.

“Early College is a proven strategy for addressing the college attainment gap,” said Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “We are excited to be part of this ambitious new initiative to expand early college programs across the Commonwealth.”

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“We know Early College is a winning combination for students, their families, and the state of Massachusetts,” said MassBay Community College President David Podell. “By taking college-level coursework, high school students jumpstart their associate or bachelor’s degrees. Further, our regional economy benefits from the Early College pipeline of educated and trained workers who will enter career paths that will be essential to tomorrow’s workforce.”

In Massachusetts, students of color are less than half as likely to complete a college degree within six years after high school than their white peers.

Among the 4,500 high school students currently enrolled in Early College programs, two-thirds are students of color, and nearly half are from low-income families.

Erika Giampietro, founding Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, commented, “There is significant momentum building in the Commonwealth behind Early College, and that’s because it works. Students from low-income communities and students of color are on track to earn college degrees at significantly higher rates.

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Massachusetts has lost 30,000 college students over the span of the pandemic, disproportionately in underserved communities. But we have a program that works, and the legislature and leaders at the highest levels are supporting it. There has never been a more important or more hopeful time than now to grow high quality Early College in Massachusetts.”

Since 2017, the state’s Early College initiative has experienced significant growth; the state legislature has increased funding for these programs to $11 million in FY22, a tenfold increase from just $970,000 in FY18. In January, Governor Baker released an FY23 state budget proposal that would increase funding for Early College programs by two-thirds, from $11 million to $18 million, demonstrating the state’s commitment to bringing this initiative to scale.

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university
for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to
access for all qualified students.

MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in
MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations, and Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its
mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.

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In full transparency, above is a press release submitted to SOURCE media for publication.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.