WORCESTER, Mass. (Mass.gov) – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito met with high school students from several Worcester public high schools to hear about their experiences in early college courses, a statewide initiative where high school students earn college credits at no cost and gain experience and confidence to enroll in college. The Baker-Polito Administration also announced the designation of five new early college programs to launch this September.
With the newly approved programs, 43 high schools will have designated early college programs this fall that will impact approximately 4,500 high school students. Some Massachusetts students have earned enough college credits to be awarded an associate’s degree at the same time as their high school diploma.
Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito participated in a roundtable discussion with Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda, Worcester State University President Barry Maloney, Quinsigamond Community College President Luis Pedraja, Education Secretary James Peyser, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, and several legislators, including Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) and Representative Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin), co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Higher Education Committee.
Worcester was among the first school districts in the Commonwealth to apply for state designation for an early college program in 2018. The school district is one of only a few district-wide models, offering early college at every high school in the city. During the 2020-2021 school year, approximately400 Worcester high school students across the district took college classes, earning about 1,900 college credits.
The five early college programs approved this week include:
- Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology in partnership with Mt. Wachusett Community College
- High School of Commerce in Springfield in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College
- North Quincy High in partnership with Quincy College
- Quincy High School in partnership with Quincy College
- Waltham High School in partnership with Framingham State and Massachusetts Bay Community College