Contact:
Katy Abel, MA Department of Higher Education
(617) 994-6932, kabel@bhe.mass.edu
Liz Cooper, MassBay Community College
(781) 239-2636, ecooper@MassBay.edu
Dan Magazu, Framingham State University
(508) 626-4539, dmagazu@framingham.edu

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2016

100 Males to College: February 26th Kickoff of New Initiative Aimed at Closing the Opportunity Gap Among Male Students

FRAMINGHAM – A new statewide initiative aimed at closing the opportunity gap among male students by partnering local school districts, community organizations and public colleges will launch on Friday, February 26, 2016 at Framingham State University.

100 Males to College will provide a comprehensive support structure to a cohort of 100 young male students to help them successfully graduate from high school, gain entry to college and earn a post-secondary degree. The support structure is an asset-based youth development model that embraces culture, identity and community.

One hundred male sophomore and junior students from Framingham High School and Keefe Tech have been identified and selected to participate in the program, which is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The students will meet at Framingham State University’s McCarthy Center (100 State Street, Framingham) at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, February. 26th, for a special kickoff event with Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, Framingham State University President F. Javier Cevallos, MassBay Interim President Yves Salomon-Fernandez and representatives from other community partners.

"We're launching 100 Males to College programs here in Framingham and in communities across the state because we need all students, regardless of race, gender or economic status, to see college as an essential part of their future," said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education for the Commonwealth. "At a time when Massachusetts employers face critical shortages of college graduates, it is both an economic imperative and a matter of social justice that we help more young men achieve the dream of a higher education and the chance to pursue a career of their choice."

“Every child deserves the same opportunity to attend and succeed in college,” said Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “These students represent the future for their communities, which is why we are so excited to take part in this important initiative.”

“Achievement gaps are generally outcomes of opportunity gaps,” said MassBay Community College Interim President Yves Salomon-Fernandez. “This collaboration reflects the strength of the regional partnership among the vocational/technical and traditional K-12 school districts, two-year and four-year higher education partners in MetroWest.”

Other partners in the program include the MetroWest College Planning Center, MetroWest Boys and Girls Club, Metrowest YMCA, Jewish Family Services and Chyten Test Prep and Tutoring Framingham.

The partners will develop a set of activities and unique experiences for the cohort aimed at increasing students’ aspirations and readiness to attend college, as well as their general knowledge of the application process and strategies for achieving personal, academic and professional success.

Elements of the project include:

A pilot program for 100 Males to College is currently underway in the Springfield Public Schools. Other communities around the state are also considering the program, which was created following the recommendations of a task force appointed by the Commissioners of Higher Education and Elementary and Secondary Education. The task force proposed that the Department of Higher Education “make increasing college access, enrollment, retention and success for low-income males, and particularly young, low-income Latino and African American men, an explicit priority for the Commonwealth.”

Data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows a significant gap between the percentage of male (74.9 percent) and female (83.1 percent) students in Framingham Public Schools who go on to attend college.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently awarded a $100,000 College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) to fund the 100 Males to College in Framingham.  

###