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Framingham State and MassBay to Celebrate Early College Scholars from Waltham, Framingham, and Milford High Schools

Friday, May 12, 2023

Liz Cooper


Dan Magazu


This Program Saved 300 High School Students Nearly $1 Million in College Tuition

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. (May 12, 2023) — Framingham State University and MassBay Community College are pleased to announce that 68 high school juniors from Milford, Framingham, and Waltham High Schools are the inaugural cohort to successfully complete the MetroWest Scholars Early Start Program. A graduation ceremony featuring a keynote address from U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark was held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at MassBay’s Wellesley campus to celebrate their achievements.

Framingham State University logoThe Early Start program offers instruction to low-income and underrepresented students and families starting in 8th grade in high-demand professional fields and career pathways such as business, sociology/criminology, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and education. The students participate in college-level, credit-bearing courses. The Early Start program is overseen by the MetroWest College Planning Collaborative, a joint initiative of Framingham State and MassBay.

“Early College programs are a proven approach to raising the college-going rates of students from underrepresented backgrounds,” says Framingham State President Nancy Niemi. “The MetroWest Scholars program takes a good idea and goes a step further by working with students and families starting in the 8th grade. The results have been remarkable. We are excited to continue working with our partners at MassBay Community College and the MetroWest Planning Collaborative to continue expanding this effort and grateful to Congresswoman Clark for her steadfast support.”

“This partnership has proven to be successful because it not only supports the student in their pursuit of an education, but their families as well,” said MassBay President David Podell. “Providing the opportunity for underrepresented high school students to earn college credits for free, before they graduate from high school, is a springboard to a lifetime of success. Making college accessible to these students can be the catalyst for future academic and career success. At MassBay we are proud to partner with Framingham State University on the MetroWest College Planning Collaborative, and we look forward to providing many more Early College students with this remarkable opportunity in the years to come.”

Currently the MetroWest Scholars Early Start Program enrolls 598 students from the Milford, Framingham, and Waltham School Districts. To date, 300 students enrolled in the program have collectively completed almost 3,000 college credits successfully, which equates to nearly $1 million in college tuition savings for these families.

“Equity, younger access and high level academic opportunity through college courses with professors is why the Metrowest Scholars is transforming the landscape of k12 and higher education success one young graduate at a time,” says Colleen Coffey, Executive Director of the MetroWest College Planning Collaborative. “The career pathways are clear and explicit. Many scholars will be engaging in experiential work place learning as soon as their junior year. The development of this program has already shown great success. Today it is satisfying to be able to celebrate.”

After early success with the Early Start Scholars program in Framingham and Milford Public Schools, the program expanded into the Waltham Public School system in March 2022.

“I love being a scholar,” says Jennifer Panza, a junior at Framingham High School. “I get to explore different pathways before I finally choose which one I want to do. There’s also a great community that puts support behind you and classes and activities. It’s hard to believe that we have already made it this many years and we are now choosing colleges.”


About Framingham State University
Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.

About MassBay Community College
MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations, and Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond.


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