Process To Date and Next Steps

January 2016

BHE and BESE agreed to make early college a high priority for exploration. The boards agreed that early college, done well, might contribute to:

1. the BESE primary goal of ensuring that students, particularly students underrepresented in higher education, achieve college and career readiness; and

2. the BHE goal of graduating more well prepared students across our system.

December 2016

To determine if there was an evidence base to support policy action and, if so, to identify the best approach to move forward, the Barr Foundation supported a thorough research effort by an independing consulting organization, Parthenon-EY. In coordination with a steering committee of leaders of the state education system and a working group of representatives from EOE, DHE, DESE, and the field, the Parthenon study, completed in December 2016, found support for the creation of a state-funded Early College designation and laid a foundation for the policy.

January 2017

BHE and BESE voted to endorse a joint resolution PDF establishing a formal Early College designation and an Early College Joint Committee to oversee both the development of criteria for Early College designation and the application process for programs to receive the designation.

Meanwhile, Senator Michael Moore and Representative Alice Peisch filed legislation in both the Senate and House to enable early college.

February 2017

DHE, through the Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund, issued $695,000 in early college grants to Bridgewater State University, Bunker Hill Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. The proposed projects will serve over 1500 students and are aligned with the design principles of the Early College Initiative.

March 2017

EOE, DHE and DESE, in partnership with MassINC, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, and Jobs for the Future, hosted a Massachusetts Early College Initiative launch event, convening over 250 stakeholders and interested parties from the State House, K–12, higher education, think tanks, foundations, and the business community to celebrate the progress and success of pioneering early college efforts in the Commonwealth and lay out the path forward for the initiative.

June 2017

BESE and BHE will each meet again to vote on moving forward with a final version of the Early College designation, ratifying the specifics of the criteria and process for designation.


BESE and BHE intend to launch a Request for Proposals (RFP) and application process for programs to receive the Early College designation

Fall 2018

The first programs in Massachusetts holding the boards’ Early College designation are expected to launch.