MassBay and Framingham State Receive Funding to Help Underserved Populations Pursue Degrees in Computer Science

MassBay and Framingham State Receive Funding to Help Underserved Populations Pursue Degrees in Computer Science

Sep 27, 2019

MassBay Community College and Framingham State University are pleased to announce that the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded a $210,351 Higher Education Innovation Fund grant to collaborate with Framingham High School and Joseph P. Keefe Regional Technical School to increase the number of underrepresented and underserved students pursuing degrees in computer science related fields. The Commonwealth has identified computer science occupations a growing workforce gap and this projects focuses on improving the pipeline of computer science majors and careers, with a specific focus on underrepresented populations.

This new initiative would aim to enroll 50 Framingham High School and Keefe Technical High students who are Black, Latinx, and female into early college courses, while providing academic and career coaching at no cost. These high school students will also have the opportunity to participate with their parents in free hands-on workshops that would promote interest in computer science and business IT coursework. In addition, MassBay and FSU will be working with current first year undecided college students at the respective colleges to interest them in changing their focus to a computer science related major. All college students will receive academic coaching, attend career workshops, and participate in workshops to promote a “growth” mindset.

The Baker-Polito Administration announced that four community colleges and two state universities were awarded a total of $1.15 million in competitive grants to help the state’s public campuses support the needs and talents of an increasing diverse student population. The Higher Education Innovation Fund, established by the legislature, encourages state colleges and universities to compete for grants with the goal of accelerating change within the public higher education system.
This year, awards went to six of the twelve campuses that submitted proposals. The Department of Higher Education gave priority to proposals that focused on achieving greater equity among students by increasing college-going and college completion rates of students of color, low-income students, and those who are the first in their families to attend college. To maximize the impact of the funds and promote collaboration within the public system, this year’s winners were chosen from among campus consortia, representing institutions that are committed to working as partners to advance student success strategies.

“The Higher Education Innovation Fund is a vital resource for state colleges and universities across Massachusetts so that they can continue to provide the best learning experiences possible for their students,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this funding, these schools have the resources to deliver quality education while equipped with the tools and resources necessary to put students on a pipeline to success.”

“Our administration is committed to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for residents throughout the Commonwealth to ensure that every student has the same access to successful college and career pathways,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to see this important funding awarded to community colleges and state universities through the Higher Education Innovation Fund so that our public higher education system can continue to work for the learners it serves.”

“Like all industries, higher education needs to evolve in order to meet the needs of students,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “The Innovation Fund gives campuses tools to try new ways of doing business, whether lowering textbook costs or utilizing more effective measures to help struggling students succeed.”

“This year’s grant recipients are leaders who will drive our work to erase opportunity gaps in higher education,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “With enrollment declines hitting the northeastern states, we must work harder and smarter to increase the number of students who graduate and enter the workforce. Our Innovation Fund supports vital efforts to help us reach our goals and will help all our campuses pursue diversity and inclusion."

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.