Katy Abel, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
617-994-6932 (office) or 617-429-2026 (cell)

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2013

Massachusetts Public Colleges, Universities, Regional Campus Consortia Win $7.5 Million to Close Achievement Gaps, Raise Graduation Rates

FY14 "Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund" Awards Go to Two UMass Campuses, Three State Universities, 12 Community Colleges

Performance Incentive Fund

BOSTON – Massachusetts education officials joined leaders of the state’s public colleges and universities today to announce the 3rd annual Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund grants designed to spur innovations and improve educational outcomes in public higher education.

The grants totaling $7.5 million were announced Monday at Roxbury Community College (RCC), recipient along with the University of Massachusetts Boston of a consortia grant to help student who transfer to UMass from RCC remain on track to complete their programs of study.

“In many ways, this is higher education’s own ‘Race to the Top,’” said Education Secretary Matt Malone. “A number of these grants are being used to scale up programs that have proven track records. We’re not just throwing money at problems; we are rewarding campuses that have spent money wisely and have results to show for it.”

“These grants give campuses the tools to make real change in the lives of students,” said Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland. “I was impressed with the high caliber of the proposals we received this year, as was the panel of national experts who helped us decide on the awards.”

Created by the legislature in fiscal year 2012, the Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund is a cornerstone of the state’s master plan to establish the Commonwealth’s system of public higher education as a national leader in the following areas of campus work: college participation, college completion, student learning, workforce alignment, preparing citizens, and closing achievement gaps. Part of the funds are also being used to improve operational efficiencies.

The $294,859 grant received by RCC and UMass will enable the two campuses to partner on a new coaching and advising program based on a proven model called Success Boston, an initiative that gives Boston Public School students intensive support as they transition into and through college. The grant aims to improve the graduation and success rates of both high school and college students using a three-pronged approach:

1) RCC will pilot use of a coaching team from local non-profit organizations (Private Industry Council, Hyde Square Task Force) to work with Madison Park High School students participating in RoxMAPP (Massachusetts Academic PolyTech Pathway). This new “pathways” project allows students enrolled in Madison Park’s Nursing Assisting Program to “dual enroll” in RCC’s Nursing Health Science Preparatory Program where they will be able to earn college credits and satisfy some prerequisites.

2) The same coaching model will also be used to support the academic progress of RCC students who will transfer to UMass Boston. The model surrounds students with case management services including proactive advising, tutoring and facilitated study groups.

3) The program will track and assess student performance and outcomes.

Roxbury also plans to partner with Massasoit Community College to co-host a statewide conference focused on strategies for closing achievement gaps among students of color at the state’s 15 community colleges.

Other grants include:

• $508,667 to Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College and Massasoit Community College to design a “seamless pathway” for students transferring from the local community colleges to Bridgewater.

• $375,000 to Framingham State University and MassBay Community College to establish a MetroWest College Planning Center, offering pre-college counseling services to at-risk students.

• $239,334 to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College and Berkshire Community College to work with regional schools to boost STEM interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning and careers.

Additional funding also went to Springfield Technical Community College and UMass Boston for individual projects to improve the academic success of Latino students.

A total of 47 campus projects launched in FY12 and FY13 will receive continuation funding for FY14.

A complete list of campus awards and capsule program descriptions is attached. For more information on the Vision Project, please visit: