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Office of College, Career and Technical Education

Early College

Early college programs are designed 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 Download PDF Document, done by Parthenon-EY Education Practice, to look at what exists in Massachusetts and the possibility of expanding successful models. The report found early college is a promising model that narrows educational opportunity gaps, and existing programs were 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.

Designated Early College programs in Massachusetts.

Read the Governor's press release.

To learn more about Early College, review the Designation Criteria. Download PDF Document

Early College Pathway Designation Process and Timeline

Due to COVID-19, new Designation applications are not currently being accepted. However, we highly encourage any interested program to discuss next steps with our team in preparation for when the Designation process reopens.

Please check this page regularly for updates.

Note that NS4Ed, in partnership with the MA Early College staff, has created an online resource site for our community of practice. Anyone interested in accessing this site can request the password from Rebekah Barr at .

If you are seeking additional information on Early College, please email .

Last Updated: October 21, 2020

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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