Key Outcome #1: College Participation

Vision Project work in College Participation focuses increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are going to college—and the readiness of these students for college-level work. To achieve these goals, the Department of Higher Education is working in close collaboration with elementary and secondary education and other partners across the state.

Initiatives in College Participation

College Access Challenge Grant: Massachusetts is a participant in the federal College Access Grant Program, which supports partnerships that focus on increasing college readiness and participation of underrepresented students, with priority to those living at or below poverty.

GEAR UP: Massachusetts is also a participant in the federal GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), which works to give low-income middle and high school students the skills, knowledge and academic background they need to succeed in college.

Dual Enrollment: The Commonealth Dual Enrollment Partnership (CDEP) enables eligible high school students to take courses at public campuses in Massachusetts, simultaneously earning credit for their high school diploma and future college degree. CDEP and other dual enrollment programs are based on research that shows giving high school students access to college coursework increases the likelihood they will go to college and do well when they get there.

Future Ready: Future Ready is a public campaign in Massachusetts to increase awareness and promote understanding of the tools available to ensure students are “college and career ready.”

PreK–16 Alignment: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) is a national initiative dedicated to developing a common set of K–12 assessments, aligned with the Common Core, that mark students’ progress toward college and career readiness. The overarching strategy is collaboration at the national, state, regional and local levels and among K–12 and higher education educators and administrators.

A record of success in academically challenging high school coursework is the best indicator of a student’s readiness for college. In 2011 and 2012, the Board of Higher Education, in coordination with the Board of Elementary & Secondary Education, strengthened admissions standards at state universities and the University of Massachusetts by (1) increasing the minimum high school mathematics requirement from three years to four and (2) increasing the minimum laboratory science requirement from two years to three and allowing students to apply engineering and technology coursework toward this requirement. These standards go into effect for current high school students applying for fall 2016 and fall 2017 admission respectively.

YourPlanForTheFuture: YourPlanForTheFuture is a web portal designed to help Massachusetts students manage their educational and career pathways, making quality postsecondary opportunities more accessible.