The purpose of the Early College Initiative is to create and maintain partnerships connecting our state’s districts and high schools with our state’s colleges in order to give thousands of Massachusetts students, especially first-generation college-goers, access to college completion and career success.
Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives
Executive Director of Early College
2017 – Present
Joint BHE & BESE Resolution
Application Criteria for Early College Program Designation
COVID-19 EC CDEP FAQs
Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
The vision of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) and Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE) is for growth and sustainability of high-quality early college partnerships connecting our state’s districts and high schools with our state’s colleges. These partnerships will all be aimed at giving thousands of Massachusetts students, especially first-generation college-goers, access to college completion and career success.
Early College programs are intentionally designed to empower students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. MA Early College Designated Programs work to blend elements of high school and college to provide students with the opportunity to experience and complete college level academic coursework on a clearly articulated pathway and simultaneously gain exposure to a variety of career opportunities. Early college programs also reduce the time and expense of earning a college credential while increasing the likelihood of completion.
In 2016, the Boards of Higher Education and Elementary and Secondary Education looked at whether the state could devise an early college strategy. They commissioned a study, done by Parthenon-EY Education Practice, to look at the potential for the development of Early College in Massachusetts The report confirmed that Early College is a promising model that narrows educational opportunity gaps, and that existing programs would provide a powerful base from which to build a broader statewide Early College initiative. Following these findings in January 2017, the boards of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education jointly launched an initiative intended to support the expansion of Early College and establish an Early College Designation. The boards also created an Early College Joint Committee (ECJC), charged with developing the Early College Designation Process for the Commonwealth.
SY2022 Early College Program Designation
For Program Implementation and Enrollment Fall 2023
We encourage all partnerships who are designing Early College programs who are planning to meet the Designation Criteria available above to pursue MA Early College Designation. Along with program and fiscal support, the Early College Designation Process ensures that students across the Commonwealth are receiving expanded access to higher education opportunities, especially students traditionally underrepresented in higher education institutions.
The Commonwealth is pleased to once again offer its local secondary education agencies and institutions of higher education the opportunity to obtain formal designation for Early College Programs. Designed collaboratively by the EOE, DESE, and DHE, MA Early College Program Designation will entail a two-step process ("Part A" and "Part B"). By April 13, 2022, a comprehensive designation timeline will be posted, including links to SY23 Part A application and Letter of Intent.
Early College Program Designation Application Companion Document 2022 >
This companion document is designed to provide important information on the Designation process and requirements, as well as context for the criteria to be met under each of the five Guiding Principles.
Designation Readiness Checklist >
The Early College Readiness Checklist is a resource for prospective Early College partners to guide their pre-planning for the Designation application process.
Additional Resource: NS4Ed, in partnership with the MA Early College staff, has created a resource site to support the Early College community of practice. Visit www.MAEarlyCollege.com to learn more.
If you are seeking additional information on Early College, please contact the Early College Program Director at Kristin.Hunt@doe.mass.edu
Please check this page regularly for updates.
The Early College Joint Committee is charged with designing, developing and coordinating the administration of a Massachusetts early college program based on the process and key design principles set forth in the joint resolution of the Boards of Elementary & Secondary Education and Higher Education, approved at their joint meeting on January 24, 2017.
Under the Early College Designation put forth by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) and Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE), approved designated early college programs in Massachusetts will align with the following design principles:
targeting underrepresented students in higher education
through workplace and experiential learning experiences
that are well integrated and aligned with college and career
between high schools and colleges
in both academics and advising
Following a rigorous two phased application process based on the Massachusetts Early College Criteria, the Early College Joint Committee granted the first designations to five programs in May 2018. Four more programs were designated in July 2018. During the 2018-2019 school year, nearly 1,500 students enrolled in designated early college programs around the state, increasing to nearly 2,280 in the subsequent year.
In the 2021-2022 year, enrollment in designated early college programs are projected to jump to 4,000 students. As of June 2021, there are 22 IHEs and 42 high schools designated across 31 programs.
|District (High School)/Charter School Partner(s)||Institutions of Higher Education Partner(s)||Designation Date|
|1||Boston Public Schools (Charlestown High School)||Bunker Hill Community College)||April 2018|
|2||Chelsea Public Schools (Chelsea High School)||Bunker Hill Community College||April 2018|
|3||Holyoke Public Schools (Holyoke High School)||Holyoke Community College||April 2018|
|4||New Heights Charter School of Brockton||Massasoit Community College||April 2018|
|5||Salem Public Schools (Salem High School)||Salem State University||April 2018|
|6||Lawrence Public Schools (Lawrence High School)||Merrimack College||August 2018|
|7||Lawrence Public Schools (Lawrence High School)||Northern Essex Community College||August 2018|
||Westfield State University||August 2018|
|9||Worcester Public Schools (Burncoat Senior High; Claremont Academy; Doherty Memorial High; North High; South High Community; University Park Campus; Worcester Technical High)||Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College||August 2018|
|10||Lowell Public Schools (Lowell High School)||Middlesex Community College||January 2019|
|11||Nashoba Valley Technical High School||Middlesex Community College||January 2019|
||Fitchburg State University and Mount
Wachusett Community College
|13||Framingham High School
Milford Public Schools (Milford High School)
|Framingham State University and Massachusetts Bay Community College||April 2019|
|14||Lynn Public Schools (Lynn Classical HS, Lynn English HS, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Fecteau Leary Alternative HS)||North Shore Community College||April 2019|
|15||Haverhill Public Schools (Haverhill High School)||Northern Essex Community College||April 2019|
|16||Marlborough Public Schools (Marlborough High School)||Quinsigamond Community College||April 2019|
|17||Boston Public Schools (Madison Park Technical Vocational High School)||Bunker Hill Community College||April 2019|
|18||Somerville Public Schools (Somerville High School)||Cambridge College||June 2020|
|19||Lynn Public Schools (Lynn English High School)||Salem State University||June 2020|
|20||Lynn Public Schools (Lynn Classical High School)||Salem State University||June 2020|
|21||Hadley Public Schools (Hopkins Academy)||Greenfield Community College||June 2020|
|22||Fall River Public Schools (Durfee High School)||Bristol Community College||June 2020|
|23||Fall River Public Schools (Durfee High School)||Bridgewater State University||June 2020|
|24||Danvers Public Schools (Danvers High School)||North Shore Community College||February 2021|
|25||Boston Public Schools (Dearborn STEM Academy)||Wentworth Institute of Technology||February 2021|
|26||Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School||Northern Essex Community College||February 2021|
|27||Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology||Mount Wachusett Community College||June 2021|
|28||Springfield Public Schools (High School of Commerce)||Springfield Technical Community College||June 2021|
|29||North Quincy High (Quincy Public Schools)||Quincy College||June 2021|
|30||Quincy High (Quincy Public Schools) College||Quincy College||June 2021|
|31||Waltham High School (Waltham Public Schools)||Framingham State University and Massachusetts Bay Community College||June 2021|
|32||Boston Public Schools (Fenway High School)||Wentworth Institute of Technology||February 2022|
|33||Boston Public Schools (New Mission High School)||Wentworth Institute of Technology||February 2022|
|34||Southern Berkshires Regional School District (Mount Everett Regional High School)||Bard College at Simon’s Rock||February 2022|
|35||Narragansett Public Schools (Narragansett Regional High School)||Fitchburg State University and Mount Wachusett Community College||February 2022|
|36||Argosy Collegiate Charter School||Bristol Community College||March 2022|
|37||Cambridge Rindge & Latin School||Lesley University||March 2022|
|38||Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School||North Shore Community College||March 2022|
|39||New Bedford Public Schools (New Bedford High School)||Bristol Community College||March 2022|
24 IHE and 51 high schools (48 Designated high schools + 3 “sender” high schools), across 39 partnerships.
Last Updated: August 12, 2022