Whittier Tech Students May Now Earn Northern Essex Early College Credits for Free

Whittier Tech students were recognized in the spring of 2019 for taking part in the Northern Essex Community College Early College Program. (Courtesy photograph.)

Students of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School taking part in an Early College program are now able to earn credits at no cost.

The Early College partnership between Whittier Tech and Northern Essex Community College was recently awarded designation as a Massachusetts Early College Program, which takes effect this fall. Whittier students have been taking Northern Essex Early College courses since 2018, and there are currently 70 students enrolled in the program. With this new designation from the state and the benefit of free tuition, the schools anticipate the number of participating students will increase.

“We truly value our partnership with Northern Essex Community College,” Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. “Our students are able to develop important skills that will serve them through life, and able to reduce the cost of a college degree.”

Northern Essex already had state-designated Early College partnerships with Haverhill and Lawrence High Schools. Early College courses count toward both a student’s high school graduation requirements and future college degree. Marcy Yeager, executive director of the college’s PK12 Partnerships, which administers the Early College program, explains, “it’s not double the work, it’s double the credit.”

Most students spend the morning at their high school and travel to the college campus by bus for afternoon college-level courses. While there is no limit to the number of courses a student can take, up to 12 credits—equivalent to one semester—is free.

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