Associate degrees

Podcast: Private Grant Gives Haverhill High Students Free Associate’s Degrees

Haverhill High School students in the Northern Essex Community College Early College Program have the opportunity to earn Associate Degrees for free.

Haverhill High School principal Jason Meland, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, says tuition is paid for by the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. The Newton, Mass.-based foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to launch the Promise program next year, which allows Early College students to earn the degrees they started in high school.

“In addition to expanding from ages 9 to 12 our Early College offerings for children, we will be adding a 13and year, so children who are committed to Early College as juniors and seniors will have the option next year to opt for one more year,” he said.

Meland noted that during the extra year, students will spend 100% of their time as university students on the Northern Essex Community College campus. It comes with additional support and collaboration between Haverhill High and the College.

“And, they will be able to get their associate degree at the end of this 13and year, this year at Haverhill High, which they will technically spend as students. What he will do is get them, one year out of high school, their associate degree for free,” the principal said.

Meland adds that the $250,000 grant allows the program to be offered to 30 students next year and then will be self-sustaining with the state funding Haverhill High School receives.

Since 2017, according to its website, the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation has invested nearly $10 million in more than half of Massachusetts’ early pioneer colleges, including those in Lawrence, Chelsea, Lowell, Lynn, Framingham, and Boston.

“Students graduate from high school with thousands of college credits, saving their families millions of dollars and reducing the time it takes to graduate,” the Foundation reports.

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