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Office of College, Career and Technical Education

Early College

Early College programs are intentionally designed to empower students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. MA Early College Designated Programs work 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.

A Brief History of MA Early College

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 , done by Parthenon-EY Education Practice, to look at the potential for the development of Early College in Massachusetts The report confirmed that Early College is a promising model that narrows educational opportunity gaps, and that existing programs would provide 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.

Early College Designation Process and Timeline — SY2024-2025

Designation Timeline:

  • April 2024 — Part A Application and Letter of Intent forms open.
  • April 23, 2024 — 1:00 p.m. — Early College Designation Information and Orientation Session. Register.
  • May 7, 2024 — 9:00 a.m. — "Is Your Partnership Ready to Apply for Designation?" This session is strongly recommended for partnerships who want to apply for Early College Designation. Register.
  • May 17, 2024Letter of Intent due.
  • May 29, 2024 — District Superintendents' and IHE Presidents' Leadership Meeting for Programs Intending to Apply for Designation
  • April–August 2024 — Support sessions and office hours available for Designation applicants. Learn more about, and register for, the webinar series.
  • September 20, 2024 — Part A Applications due via Alchemer.
  • October 2024 — Announcement of Applicants advancing to Part B.
  • October 2024 – January 2025 — Technical assistance and office hours available for Part B Applicants
  • January 31, 2025 — Part B Applications due
  • February 2025 — Part B Interviews held
  • March 2025 — Designation recommendations reviewed by the Early College Joint Committee

Early College Readiness Checklist

Additional Resource

NS4Ed, in partnership with the MA Early College staff, has created a resource site to support the Early College community of practice. Visit MA Early College to learn more.

If you are seeking additional information on Early College, please contact the Executive Director of Early College at .

Please check this page regularly for updates.

Last Updated: May 8, 2024

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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