"Westfield State University has received a $140,000 Early College Implementation Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to continue The Westfield Promise program, which was officially designated as an early college program by the Department of Higher Education in May. The program aims to benefit underrepresented student populations, including first-generation and students of color.
Partnering with public high schools in Holyoke, Springfield, and Westfield, the program involves Westfield State faculty co-teaching a "stretch year" course with the high school faculty to high school juniors. As seniors, students then take courses on the University's campus, providing the students with an early exposure to the rigor of collegiate study and the campus environment – enabling them to more clearly visualize themselves completing a four-year degree. As an additional measure, the students are supported with peer and professional tutors.
"By immersing high school juniors and seniors in the Westfield State University culture, college becomes more of an attainable reality," said President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D. "The Westfield Promise students are already identifying themselves as Westfield State students, which is highly encouraging."
Seventy-nine high school seniors and 119 juniors are participating in The Westfield Promise this year, a program which began last fall. Upon high school graduation, if the students meet the appropriate admissions criteria of the University, they will earn preferred admission and enhanced financial aid packages at Westfield State."
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