By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
LYNN — Enrollment in North Shore Community College’s CommUniverCity program has greatly surpassed the originally anticipated enrollment estimates, said college officials.
With more than 160 Lynn high school students enrolled into the program, enrollment expectations for the newly-launched collaborative between the college local public high schools has exceeded expectations, said NSCC spokeswoman Linda Brantley.
Brantley said a mid-January CommUniverCity enrollment drew more than 300 high school students, who attended with their parents to receive orientation information and to register.
“Obviously,our message of students being able to take up to 30 college credits while still in high school, graduating with both a high school diploma and a year of college under one’s belt, at a huge cost savings and great jump on college completion, resonated,” Brantley said.
North Shore President Patricia Gentile, School Superintendent Catherine Latham, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, and Salem State University President Patricia Meservey announced the CommUniverCity concept and signed an agreement at North Shore in December, making it official.
This program simultaneously addresses Gov. Charlie Baker’s goals of expanding opportunities for students to get college credit while still in high school and enable students to get a college degree faster.
Brantley said CommUniverCity enables students to reduce the cost of obtaining a degree and improves for students and families in Lynn to expand educational horizons.
“It’s rare for one effort to address so many important priorities simultaneously,” she said.
The students attend evening and Saturday classes on the college’s Broad Street campus and can earn up to a year’s worth of college credits, while also earning their high school diploma.
“It makes a college degree much more affordable,” Gentile said earlier in the month. “The high school courses have no fee and no tuition. They are paid for by grants and generous donors.”
It also gets high school students “ready for the labor force faster” and “much more prepared, in terms of academics.”
“We know that this early college model under CommUniverCity will make sure that more Lynn students will finish high school and pursue a higher degree,” she added.
“This important beginning of the innovative CommUniverCity at Lynn initiative is drawing attention at the state level,” said NSCC spokesperson Nancy Barker. “It is aligned with the Baker administration’s focus and commitment to early college and its impact on workforce development, especially in the technology sector.
“It also directly relates to the (Massachusetts) Department of Higher Education goals to reduce the achievement gap for minority students and to better serve underserved populations,” Barker said.
“I think NSCC is earning broad recognition for our expertise and as a leader in this area across the Commonwealth, which is a huge benefit to the students, residents, and businesses in Lynn,” Barker said.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected].