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New Grants to Benefit NECC’s Early College Partnerships

Submitted by on March 29, 2022 – 7:15 pm

Boston, MA (March 28, 2022) – The Baker-Polito Administration just announced several grants totaling more than $1.3 million to high schools launching or expanding early college programs. Those grants include $75,000 each to Haverhill and Lawrence High Schools to expand upon the existing partnerships with Northern Essex.

two students in NECC sweatshirts in a classroom

Former Early College students Nicole Affannato and Gladdys Jiminian enrolled at NECC after high school

Luisanna Crespo, Assistant Director for PK-12 and International Programs at NECC, says that her office is currently working with both schools to determine how the best utilize the funding. “The idea is to reach more students and to implement more supports for our current Early College students to increase success rates for them,” she says.

NECC is one of 19 colleges and universities participating in the statewide Massachusetts Early College Initiative, which partners high schools with colleges and universities for designated programs between them. NECC has designated programs with Haverhill High School, Lawrence High School, and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Students from these designated programs earn college credits for free while they’re still in high school. Plus, the classes count toward both students’ high school graduation requirements and their future college degrees. Most students spend the morning at their high school and travel to the college campus by bus for afternoon college-level courses.

In all, nearly 700 local students are enrolled in Early College at Northern Essex, from more than 20 high schools.

In a press release about the newly announced grants, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito says, “By creating and supplementing designated early college programs with our municipal partners, our administration aims to break down barriers that persist between high school and higher education.” State data shows that Early College boosts college enrollment and completion rates for low-income, minority and first-generation college students.

If you are interested in learning more about Early College opportunities at NECC, contact