On March 28, 2022 the Baker-Polito administration announced the designation of eight new Early College programs including Narragansett Regional High School (NRHS) in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State University.
Early College programs provide college exposure to students in high school who might otherwise not have considered higher education as an option. The Early College Designation put forth by the Massachusetts Bord of Higher Education (BHE) and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) states that approved designated early college programs in Massachusetts will provide equitable access; guided academic pathways; enhanced student support; relevant connection to career; and effective partnerships.
“We are proud to receive this designation, and grateful to our faculty and staff for supporting opportunities for NRHS students to explore their career interests and related college programming more deeply,” stated NRHS Principal Colby Young.
The Governor’s FY23 budget proposal includes $7.3 million for early college funding, representing a significant increase over FY22, to bring the total annual investment to more than $18 million.
“Early college is an invaluable tool that supports increased college enrollment among participating students, particularly students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education, and helps them succeed once they arrive on campus,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a press release from the Executive Office of Education on March 28. “Today’s announcement will boost participation rates at schools that already have programs, as well as launch new and exciting programs that will create more pathways to college.”
“This new designation is evidence of the success our existing programs have seen to date,” notes MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “Our Early College programs have helped hundreds of students start a college career that they might otherwise not have considered.”
“Early College programs improve outcomes and open doors of opportunity for students, and we are honored to build upon our record of success by adding Narragansett Regional High School to our list of partners,” Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus said.
MWCC Early College programs have grown exponentially in recent years and currently include partnerships with Gardner High School, Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology, Leominster High School, Leominster Center for Excellence and Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation, Fitchburg High School, the Sizer School, and now Narragansett Regional High School. Recruiting is now on-going for fall 2022.