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Foundation Deepens Investment in Early College Programs

August 2nd, 2019

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation is pleased to announce a lead gift of $600,000 to help Lowell High School and Middlesex Community College create a high-quality Early College program, building on their robust dual enrollment partnership. This investment brings the Foundation’s total multi-year commitment for Early College programs to over $6.2 million.
The Foundation’s investments in Early College support 9 of the 17 schools to date that have received an official Early College designation from the Commonwealth: Lawrence High School with Northern Essex Community College and Merrimack College; Bunker Hill Community College with its high school partners, including Chelsea High School, Charlestown High School, and Madison Park Vocational High School among others; North Shore Community College and its high school partners in Lynn Public Schools; Framingham State University and MassBay Community College with their high school partners in Framingham and Milford; and Lowell High School with Middlesex Community College.
In June, MassINC unveiled new research on Early College high schools at a State House forum. The report showcases data from two independent randomized controlled trials suggesting Early Colleges have demonstrated ability to double post-secondary degree completion among low-income high school students. Based on these strong results, rigorous cost-benefit analysis finds Early College delivers a return on investment of 15-to-1. No other known intervention to increase college completion delivers a benefit of this magnitude. To learn more, listen to the first and second of three podcasts reflecting on the promise of Early College as follow up to the forum.
Across the country, rigorous evaluations have shown that Early College improves post-secondary success, especially for first-generation college students. Aligning investments with the Massachusetts Early College Initiative, the Foundation looks forward to Early College delivering similar outcomes in the Commonwealth. By the school year 2020-2021, Smith Family Foundation-funded Early Colleges are expected to serve about 2,500 students who will soon make up the regional labor force.

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