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Transitional Scholars Program

What is the MassBay Transitional Scholars Program?

The Transitional Scholars Program at MassBay is a student-centered program designed for transition-age students with documented intellectual and/or developmental disability. The program serves students typically between 18-22 years of age, who are currently enrolled in their high school transition program or are transitioning from high school to post-secondary education having earned their diploma. Transitional Scholars is designed for students who are interested in having a college experience with the support of our Educational Coaches and programming.  Admitted students take one (1) or two (2) college courses per semester (Fall and Spring) for a maximum of three (3) years. While enrolled in the program, Transitional Scholars have the opportunity to participate in campus activities, join clubs and organizations, and have full access to all MassBay supports and services.

MassBay Transitional Scholars Program Profiled in Community College Daily

“In Massachusetts, higher education opportunities are opening up for students with autism and intellectual disabilities.”

“New legislation requires the state’s public colleges to provide accommodations for people whose disabilities have impeded them from earning a standard high school diploma. This means these students can take classes and participate in extracurricular activities as nondegree-seeking students without having to pass a college entrance exam, meet GPA requirements and pass other barriers to admission.”

“Massachusetts Bay Community College President David Podell advocated for the legislation. He has a background in psychology, with a specialty in the area of disabilities. And his college has helped people with intellectual disabilities since before he became president.”

Read the entire article | Community College Daily — Smoother transitions to higher ed →

How does the Transitional Scholars Program work?

  • The goal of the program is for the student to gain independence, learn to self-advocate, develop action plans and personal goals and to gain skills to access employment in an area of interest.
  • Through Person-Centered Planning (PCP), each student develops an action plan to achieve their goals. Person-centered planning is a results-oriented process that engages students in planning for their future and choosing their pathway to success.
  • Before the start of the semester, students meet with the program coordinator to establish goals for participating in the program and select their top 5 course choices. Courses are matched with individual student goals and course/Ed Coach availability.
  • Schedules are individualized based on the student’s interests and needs. The program coordinator meets weekly with each student to measure progress and re-evaluate the student’s needs.
  • Students have access to Educational Coaches for support both in and out of class.  Coaches help students with scheduling, planning and other executive function skills, making connections with on-campus supports and services, communicating effectively with professors, building study and note-taking skills as well as navigate the campus and encourage socializing.
  • Most students take one (1) course per semester and have the option to audit or take the class for credit. Examples of courses include but are not limited to: Introduction to Mass Media; Computers & Technology; Career & Life Planning; Child Development; Fundamentals of Composition; Critical Thinking; Environmental Science; Drawing; Oral Communication; and Introduction to Hospitality.
  • Students in the Transitional Scholars Program are MassBay Community College students. Students have access to all available supports and services that the college offers, including, but not limited to: tutoring & peer mentoring; student clubs & activities; career planning & counseling services; recreation & wellness center classes & working out.


Program Costs

  • Total cost for the comprehensive services offered through Transitional Scholars is $5,400 per semester for up to 4-credits (one class) and $7,900 per semester for 5 to 7-credits (one to two classes). This includes educational coaching, tuition and fees, textbooks and materials, person-centered planning, social skills & life skills development, self-advocacy training, tutoring & peer mentoring, and access to all other college activities/opportunities such as classes at the Recreation & Wellness Center, counseling services, and clubs.
  • A $500 non-refundable deposit is due with a signed MassBay Program Contract upon acceptance.

Application Requirements

Transitional Scholars Program Application →

  • Completed Transitional Scholars Program Application.
  • Copy of applicant’s high school transcript.
  • Documentation supporting the student’s intellectual disability (IEP and psychological evaluation).

Transitional Scholars Recommendation Form →

  • Two letters of recommendation from people who have known the applicant for at least 6 months.
    1. One from an educator (teacher, special education facilitator, guidance counselor, etc.)
    2. One from an employer/supervisor in an employment or internship setting.

Additional Information

  • A 30-minute interview with the Transitional Scholars Program selection committee is required for admission.  Invitations to interview are based on meeting the requirements of the program.
  • Appropriate documentation is required for all students seeking accommodations at MassBay.
  • Applications are accepted beginning January 1 through April 15 for Fall enrollment.

For more information, please contact:
Kelly Graska, Coordinator of Transitional Scholars Program

Phone: 781-239-2625
Fax: 781-239-2627