This site is best viewed in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or EdgeX

NECC Early College Quick Facts – Spring 2024

At NECC, 1,017 students enrolled in 5,683 credits, saving families thousands in college tuition and fees. Massachusetts Early College students have more than double the odds of immediately enrolling and then persisting in a second year of college.! Massachusetts Early College students have more than double the odds of immediately enrolling and then persisting in a second year of college.!

Early College at NECC

Early College at NECC
Early College (EC) at NECC serves schools across the entire Merrimack Valley. EC is a dual enrollment program that allows students to take college courses and earn college credits while still in high school, and gain exposure to a variety of career and pathway opportunities. Research has consistently demonstrated significant benefits for dually enrolled students, including improved academic achievement in high school, increased likelihood of enrolling in college, and better credit accumulation and college completion rates.  For years, NECC has proudly partnered with three local high schools that hold Early College Designation status; Lawrence High School (since 2018), Haverhill High School (since 2019), and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School (since 2021). EC-designated programs are designed to empower students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education, helping them to gain access to and find success in college coursework. Statewide data reports that EC students are more likely to attend college immediately after high school graduation, and more likely to persist from year one to year two.  Students from over 15 other high schools in the region are currently enrolled in EC courses with NECC.

Snapshot of EC @ NECC:

  • Early College has grown from 250 students in 2018 to more than 1,000 students as of 2024.
  • Students choose one of six pathways when joining:
    • Liberal Arts, Education, Criminal Justice, STEM, Health Care, or Business
  • In Fall 2023 the Early College program served 875 students who earned 4,457 credits (just over 5 credits per student)

Spring 2024 by the Numbers:

  • 1,017 students enrolled in 5,683 credits (~5.5 credits per student)
  • More than 40% self-report as first-generation college students
  • 46% identified as Hispanic
  • Students enrolled in over 110 different NECC course offerings
Promise Program at NECC

Promise Program at NECC
The NECC Promise Program, in guaranteeing coverage of most tuition-related expenses, effectively closes enrollment gaps while addressing shortcomings in access, affordability, and degree completion. By building upon the Early College experiences students had throughout high school, leveraging NECC’s K-12 partnerships, and providing targeted support to students, the program reduces the average time-to-degree. Now in its 5th year of operation, the Promise Program continues to provide historically underrepresented students with financial, academic, and support services to enhance their experience. Impacts of Promise Program:

  • Enrolled in majors in areas such as Liberal Arts, Business, Information Technology, Civil Engineering, Biology, Healthcare, and Chemical Engineering, Promise students graduate NECC with an average GPA of 3.63.
  • Over two-thirds of Promise graduates have transferred to four-year colleges and universities to continue their education
  • In 2021 and 2022, students completed their first semester (often the most challenging) in the Promise Program with an average GPA of 3.58.
  • Promise Graduates complete their degrees in just under 5 semesters on average
  • Since 2019, students earn an average of ~29 credits per academic year
Promise Student Testimonials

Promise Student Testimonials
The NECC Promise Program is more than just a scholarship for students; it also taps into and builds upon students’ successful EC experience at NECC and provides the support necessary to ensure these students can remain committed to their higher education goals. The ultimate goal of the Promise is to retain and graduate all students who start the program, preparing them to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program or go directly into the workforce.


“The Promise scholarship has been crucial to my success in college. By holding me to a higher academic standard and allowing me to graduate with an associate degree without spending thousands of dollars, the Promise scholarship helped to develop my work ethic and put me on the right track as I go on to pursue my bachelor’s. Without the Promise scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to look into going to graduate school in the future.”


“Promise helped me in many ways but the main one is that it has given me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams, which is to continue my studies to be able to complete my associate degree in early education so I can serve my community and give it a better future for my family and myself. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I will continue to do my best”


“Promise has been instrumental in supporting me to achieve a smooth path to higher education. It’s a blessing that allows me to focus solely on my studies without the burden of student debt, but there is also so much more I have gotten out of being in the Promise program. The Promise staff are so indispensable for anyone in the program; the academic advisors are such a necessity, and I genuinely don’t know how I would have put together my academic planner without them. The program’s coordinators do so much for the students, and I have gotten to be a part of numerous amazing celebrations thanks to them. Being in a scholarship program is immensely validating and motivating when things become difficult. Even then there are people in the Promise staff you can go to for help. Whether it be academic or emotional, there are always resources. Overall, Promise has been a significant figure in helping me to achieve my future aspirations.”

Read about Lana’s Early College and Promise journey here

5th Year Pilot

5th Year Pilot

NECC has been participating in the Massachusetts Early College Promise (ECP) Pilot Program (sometimes referred to as”13th year” or a “5th year” of high school) pilot with both Lawrence and Haverhill High School. This program is a one-year extension of Designated Early College Programming in MA, and deepens Early College offerings while expanding opportunities for students to earn an associates degree and deepen credit completion at no cost to the student. Currently, 70 students are enrolled in the pilot program.

Print View