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Drury, MCLA Included in State Early College Program
02:00PM / Thursday, March 16, 2023
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BOSTON — The Early College Joint Committee under the Healey-Driscoll administration unanimously voted to expand the Massachusetts Early College program, adding nine additional Early College partnerships and increasing the number of participating high schools to nearly 60 high schools across the Commonwealth. 
With these additional programs, nearly 7,800 Massachusetts students are projected to be enrolled in Early College programs by the upcoming school year. Following the Joint Committee's vote, there are now 48 designated Early College program partnerships across 58 high schools and 27 higher education institutions across the Commonwealth. Over 70 percent of the programs will now be in high schools within Gateway cities or Boston, and all are reaching students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. 
"I am thrilled to see our Early College program expanding to nearly 60 high schools in the commonwealth. Early College gives students, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in higher education, the option to try out college courses at no cost — creating a more competitive and equitable Massachusetts as more of those students continue their higher education," said Healey. "That's why our FY24 budget proposal makes targeted investments to expand pathways to success and build our skilled workforce, including increases to Early College." 
The Healey-Driscoll administration aid it is committed to expanding the Early College program and other workforce and higher education pathways that ensure Massachusetts students have the opportunities they deserve when they graduate high school. The FY24 budget proposal includes nearly $47 million for Early College and Innovation Pathways, a $14.4 million increase from FY23. 
"As the mayor of Salem, I saw firsthand the invaluable advantage for students participating in Early College programs and the benefits the programs could bring to partnership universities like Salem State. These nine new Early College programs are a win for the high schools and their students and families, the higher education institutions, and the future workforce in these communities," said Driscoll. "Gov. Healey and I have proposed funding increases to opportunities like Early College, Innovation Pathways, and even apprenticeships, because every student, no matter their zip code, deserves access to a successful future." 
The Massachusetts Early College program gives students the opportunity to take college courses and earn credits at no cost before they graduate high school. Early College allows students to get a head start on their higher education and contributes to significantly higher college enrollment and completion rates, particularly for low-income, minority and first-generation college students. In 2019, approximately 76 percent of Early College students enrolled in college after graduation compared to 55 percent of their peers who did not participate in Early College.
Data shows that the benefits from Early College make the biggest difference for students who are English learners, but those benefits are still significant for students of color and students from lower economic backgrounds. 
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