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The Commonwealth recognizes QCC as a leader in Expanding College Pathways

January, 2018
  • QCC is working with WPS and WSU on an Early College Program.

The Baker-Polito Administration has announced that Quinsigamond Community College has received Early College Program Preliminary Designation status, in addition to a $10,000 Early College Program Planning Grant for its collaborative effort with Worcester State University (WSU) and the Worcester Public School System, to establish college pathways for Worcester Public School high school students through an Early College Designation Program.

The Boards of Higher Education and Elementary and Secondary Education named QCC as one of the 21 public colleges and universities to receive this preliminary designation and one of the eight educational institutions to be awarded a competitive planning grant. The competitive planning grants will assist schools in becoming “designated” early college programs by the Boards of Higher Education and Elementary and Secondary Education. Early college programs are designed to help high school students prepare to be successful in college. QCC will apply for final designation by February 2018 with the goal of launching the program in the fall of 2018.

“We envision an expanded QCC Early College model that will exponentially increase college and career attainment for underserved Worcester Public School students,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja. “A decade-long partnership between QCC and Worcester Public Schools has already offered thousands of Worcester Public School students from the City’s seven high schools the opportunity to enroll in QCC courses each semester - both on campus and at their respective high schools. We now want to take this to the next level.”

QCC will collaborate with the Worcester Public School system and WSU to increase college pathways for underserved Worcester high school students, at no cost to the students, by expanding upon QCC’s early college dual enrollment program. QCC’s early college model was developed to offer an unobstructed pathway to postsecondary education and career learning experiences, bringing dual enrollment, remediation, mentoring and wrap-around services to high school students. The program focuses on those who are underrepresented, under-served and first generation-to-college students. Students will have the opportunity to earn from 12-18 college credits while completing a high school diploma.

The early college program model will use multiple approaches and outreach strategies to reach, encourage, and recruit underserved students who may not consider college an option due to barriers such as language, disability, financial and social factors, culture, and academic performance. QCC is looking to substantially increase the current number of dual enrollment seats by the year 2021.

“We are looking to reach and recruit those students who may have little or no experience with, or knowledge of postsecondary education,” Dr. Pedraja added.

The proposed program will incorporate and integrate elements of other successful dual enrollment models such as the 100 Males to College program and the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership educational and wrap-around services.These will include English Language Learner (ELL) classes, tutoring, mentoring, preparation for college course placement, curriculum alignment, and information sessions about how to apply to college, how to complete a FASFA, search for scholarships, and how to apply for financial aid.

QCC is no stranger to the merits of early college programs. In 2011, QCC and Marlborough Public Schools launched an Early College program in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM). To date over 650 students in grades 6 through 12 have been enrolled. In 2014, the program expanded to six STEM-based pathways that included advanced manufacturing, engineering, information technology, computer science, healthcare and biotechnology. The goal is to also continue to expand this program and include career opportunities and certification completion.