The US Department of Education has selected Urban College of Boston (UCB) as one of 44 institutions of higher education in the country to participate in an experimental program to make Pell grants available to high school students to enable them to enroll in college courses on May 17.
The Dual Enrollment Pell Grant Site Experiment allows high school students for the first time to be eligible to access Pell Grants and receive college credits while attending high school. Dual enrollment programs are especially critical for young adults who are first generation college students from low-income families.
Earning a college degree is an increasingly important step towards entering the middle class and enjoying a quality career. Yet less than 10 percent of children born in the bottom quartile of household incomes attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to over 50 percent in the top quartile.
This new initiative will support UCB’s unique dual enrollment partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS), called the High School to Teacher Program (HSTT), which creates a pathway for high school students to become Boston Public School teachers.
The UCB/BPS High School to Teacher Dual Enrollment Program provides high school students a career pathway to teaching and offers them the opportunity to receive a minimum of 12 college credits before they have even finished high school. This is of enormous benefit to urban high school students who benefit significantly from early access to higher education and career development. Dual enrollment reduces their time to degree completion, saves tuition and increases college graduation rates.
As USDOE Under Secretary Ted Mitchell stated, “Innovation is an important underpinning in our efforts to expand college access and increase college completion for our nation’s students. We’re thrilled these institutions have joined us in answering the President’s call to reimagine the high school experience and create stronger linkages to college coursework. These sites will help us learn how the availability of Pell Grants impacts participation and success in dual enrollment programs.”
Proud to be among the 44 colleges selected across the nation, President Michael Taylor of Urban College of Boston stated, “Being selected by the Obama administration to pilot this Pell Grant Experiment greatly strengthens our dual enrollment initiative with the Boston Public Schools. Our partnership will support hundreds of BPS students achieve their dream of becoming a Boston Public School teacher.”
“We extend our gratitude to the US Department of Education and Urban College of Boston for investing in our students by focusing on building workforce diversity,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang. “When our educators reflect the many cultures, languages, and racial backgrounds of the children we serve, we enhance academic achievement and social-emotional wellness within our classrooms.”
Lead partner from the Boston Public Schools with Urban College, Ceronne Daly, Director of
Diversity Programs, further stated, “We are thrilled to deepen our strategic partnership with Urban College of Boston. This partnership directly supports our district’s workforce diversity pipeline development strategy. We believe the next generation of our teachers is in our classrooms and our communities right now.”
Urban College of Boston (UCB) is a private, non-profit, two-year college established to provide educational and career opportunities for students who face the steepest economic, cultural and linguistic barriers to success. UCB is one of the most diverse colleges in the nation and currently has a student enrollment of over 91% from minority backgrounds. The college was founded in the 1970s as an education and training program for its employees by Action for Boston Community Development, the largest human service agency in New England and one of the leading community action agencies in the nation; it was later chartered as a degree granting college in 1993. Since 1993, UCB has worked “to provide opportunity to every student seeking a college degree or professional advancement. The College supports students in multiple ways as they overcome economic, social, and language barriers to achieve academic, personal or professional aspirations.” UCB now serves 1400 inner-city students, 75% of whom qualify for need-based financial aid.