Expanding early access to college in Massachusetts also comes with an expanding list of questions.

A joint effort of the Executive office of Education (EOE),  Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the High Quality College and Career Pathways (HQCCP) initiative is seeking to encourage districts and institutions of higher education (IHE) to expand access to college level coursework for high school students.

In late 2017, districts and partnering IHEs submitted letters of intent and applications for formal designation. Two types of program are available – Early College or Innovation Pathway.

  • The DESE and the DHE announced that 21 applications for preliminary designation as an Early College Pathway program. Nine programs received $10,000 planning grants.
  • Seven applications for the Innovation Pathways program received preliminary designations. Six received planning grants.

Neither DESE nor the DHE have posted the initial letters of intent, completed applications applications or preliminary designations online yet.

Applications that received preliminary designations are eligible to apply for final designation. Applications are due on February 2 with final decisions expected in March 2018.

At this time, it is not clear if districts and IHEs are expanding on existing dual-enrollment programs or developing new programs and pathways for students. A 2016 report on existing programs in Massachusetts dual enrollment programs provided an over view of  programs and developed some recommendations later adopted for the Early College and Innovation Pathways program under HCCQP.

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