Massachusetts to Launch Online Dual Enrollment Pilot

August 26, 2005

For Immediate Release Contact: Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO)
David Kelley, executive director
978 556-3401
Ernie Greenslade, marketing specialist,
603 431-5758

New Resource for High School Juniors and Seniors Who Want to Earn College Credits Massachusetts high school juniors and seniors who want to get a head start on their college education have a new opportunity, thanks to a pilot program initiated by Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO), a consortium of the 24 state and community colleges, designed to deliver online education.

These students will now have access to the over 900 online courses taught by state and community colleges and offered at affordable in-state tuitions. Courses will be reported on their transcripts as a college-level course (there is no difference between credits earned online and those earned in a traditional classroom) and they will receive high school and college credit for their efforts.

“Dual enrollment definitely benefits students. It keeps them challenged in high school and prepares them for college,” said David Kelley, executive director of MCO. “A successful experience in a college level course is also a plus for college admissions.”

Les Murray, principal of Amesbury High School, which has been collaborating with Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill and Lawrence) for years sees definite benefits for the high schools as well. “Dual enrollment allows us to expand what we can offer our students. If we have a student who has taken all the computer classes we offer, they continue to progress by taking more advanced courses at the local college. Unlike AP courses which may or may not provide college credit, these courses are unquestionably college level courses and will transfer to most colleges.”

Dual enrollment is not new but the growth in online courses in recent years has made it easier for students to access college courses.

Schools participating in the pilot project include Bristol Community College (Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School), Mt. Wachusett Community College (Lunenberg and Ayer high schools), Northern Essex Community College (Amesbury High School), Westfield State College (West Springfield High School) and Worcester State College (Worcester Public Schools).

Students will be enrolled for the fall semester and then the program will be evaluated with recommendations made for future development.

“Our goal is to come up with a best-practice and grow what we’re doing based on what we learn,” said Kelley.

The initiative is fully supported by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) which is a strong supporter of dual enrollment. “The online dual enrollment program is an excellent way for students to be introduced to college level work while in high school. It provides access for students, reduces costs, and shortens the time to completing a degree or certificate,” said Judith Gill, chancellor, BHE.

Courses offered by MCO partner colleges include a wide variety of required courses in the social sciences, math, science and humanities as well as high-level computer courses; and hundreds of electives. All courses are offered by fully accredited state and community colleges and are interactive, allowing students and professors to communicate through e-mail and online discussions.

In addition to offering dual enrollment options for high schools students, MCO provides one-stop shopping for students interested in online courses and has allowed MCO member colleges to better market their online offerings to target audiences such as state agencies that need effective, low cost training options; and businesses that want to convert existing classroom courses into online delivery.

High school juniors and seniors who are interested in online options offered through MCO partner colleges, should contact Suzan Kinaci at 978 556-3324 or .

For a full list of courses, visit the MCO website at