The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is launching a new campaign to promote student access and awareness of opportunities across the public higher education system, with a slate of events for high school students and a new web site to help them prepare for college and career choices after high school.
The “Go Higher!” campaign reminds students that by 2020, 72% of the jobs in Massachusetts will require some post-secondary education. At high school events across the state, students from the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges will speak directly to more than 8,000 high school students to share their experience choosing a college and a major, adjusting to campus life, and preparing for careers through internships and research opportunities.
“I am really excited about the chance to present my experience as a community college honors student moving on to a four-year university,” said Micah Klayman, a graduate of Quinsigamond Community College who has transferred to Worcester State University to earn his bachelor’s degree. “What I really want high school students to know is that our public colleges and universities are not only affordable but also amazing places for students to grow as leaders and scholars. After my experience, I am steadfast in that belief.”
The campaign was developed in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 15A, Section 5, which mandates the Board of Higher Education to conduct “a sustained program to inform the public of the needs, importance and accomplishments of the public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth.” It is produced by the Department in collaboration with the GEAR UP college access program and the 29 campuses of the public higher education system.
A total of seventeen events will take place at high schools across the state and at the Metrowest College Planning Center, where an evening event for parents is scheduled. The center, the first such publicly-funded regional college planning center in the state, was designed by MassBay Community College in collaboration with Framingham State University and funded in part by a grant from Department of Higher Education.
“We are proud of the fact that Massachusetts is home to some of the best public and private institutions in the world, and this rich balance is one of our greatest strengths,” said Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “Our administration is focused on helping to increase access to excellent, affordable higher education options and ensure that students are prepared to succeed once they arrive on campus.”
“The Commonwealth has the highest percentage of college graduates of any state in the nation,” said Commissioner Santiago. “But for students who will be the first in their family to go to college, it is often difficult to get the right information or to see that college can indeed be part of their future. It is tremendously inspiring for high school students, especially those in urban communities or Gateway cities, to hear from college students who overcame obstacles and have gone on to become successful in college.”
The Department will also use the “Go Higher!” event series to alert high school students to new admission standards, taking effect at the University of Massachusetts and state universities in fall, 2016, requiring four years of high school math, including math in a student’s senior year.
The Department of Higher Education’s new on-line portal will promote dual enrollment programs, honors programs, transfer opportunities and financial aid information for students, and also include direct links to all campus web sites. The complete Go Higher! event schedule is available at the site.