Eagle Tribune: Northern Essex puts bachelor's degrees in reach of students
Eagle Tribune: Cheers and jeers for recent newsmakers
On Thursday, September 7, Northern Essex Community College unveiled newly renovated space on the 2nd floor of 420 Common St, which will be used for bachelor’s degrees offered on the college’s Lawrence Campus
Lyndon State College (Vermont) and Regis North (Weston, MA) students will learn in the bright space which features four classrooms, most with stunning views of the city; PC and Mac labs; and faculty and staff offices. Faculty from the four-year colleges will travel to Northern Essex to teach the students, most of whom graduated with associate's degrees from Northern Essex.
“A college education is almost a requirement for a ticket to the middle class,” said NECC President Lane Glenn. “We are proud and happy to partner with visionary colleges that recognize how access to higher education can elevate a community, preparing local residents for high-demand careers.”
Regis began offering bachelor’s degrees at NECC in 2013 and Lyndon State College began their programs in 2016, and now there’s centralized, dedicated space for the programs, according to Noemi Custodia Lora, vice president of NECC’s Lawrence campus and community relations, who also spoke at the event.
“Our students work and have family commitments and many don’t have transportation,” she said. “Having this partnership means educational equality. We’re expanding what the community college offers, reaching students who are underserved in higher education.”
Regis President Antoinette Hays announced that Regis will expand its program offerings, which currently include bachelor’s degrees in nursing and public health, to include sports management and health sciences.
“Regis is dedicated to making accessible a high-quality, affordable education to the residents of Lawrence and the entire Merrimack Valley. We found the perfect partner to achieve this mission in NECC and we’re proud to offer additional programming as a sign of our commitment.”
Lyndon State is also an “access institution”, said Nolan Atkins, provost of the college. “If you look at our respective mission statements, we’re very similar with Northern Essex in many ways. We share common core values.”
The bachelor’s degrees offered at Northern Essex are designed to be affordable. Lyndon State College offers in-state Vermont tuition rates and Regis North students pay a continuing education rate, which is more affordable.
Calling Lawrence “a college town”, Mayor Dan Rivera said he’s “thankful a kid from Lawrence can get an associate's degree and then a bachelor’s right in Lawrence.”
Three students spoke compellingly about the opportunities they’ve received as a result of these partnerships.
Yanina Vasquez Riley of Lowell, who earned an Associate's Degree in General Studies: Health Specialization from Northern Essex in 2015 and a bachelor’s in public health from Regis in 2017 is currently enrolled in a master’s in health administration at Regis while working as an interpreter at Lowell General Hospital.
“There are many other Yaninas in Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence, single parents, working full-time, thinking they can’t afford education. I’m here to tell you, you can do it. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given through Northern Essex and Regis.”
Two students in Lyndon State College’s Computer Information Systems bachelor's degree—Jean Carlos Diaz of Lawrence and David Arivella of Haverhill—also shared their stories.
Diaz, who received an associate's degree in computer science from Northern Essex in 2015, is the first in his family to attend college. “I don’t have the words to describe how excited I am about college. It makes me very strong and hopeful for the future.”
With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Northern Essex Community College offers over 60 associate's degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth. Nearly 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate's degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 3,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus and at the Opportunity Works building at 671 Kenoza St., located next to the Haverhill campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley. For more information.