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December 15

H.E.A.R.T. Initiative offers a total, four-year cost of about $40,000, making it one of the most affordable bachelor’s degrees in the Northeast 

Anna Maria College and Quinsigamond Community College today announced the launch of a joint initiative that will provide a cost-effective pathway for students pursuing four-year degrees in public service-oriented majors. The Higher Education and Active Responsiveness through Transfer (H.E.A.R.T.) Initiative will allow students to join the Anna Maria community upon entry to QCC, with eligible students being guaranteed admission to Anna Maria for the completion of their junior and senior years. The Initiative offers QCC students the opportunity to be part of the Anna Maria experience through all four years of study.

The H.E.A.R.T. Initiative was designed to provide access to one of the most affordable baccalaureate degree opportunities in the Northeast. Recognizing those unique qualities of both compassion and intellect that lead individuals to pursue public service careers, the joint degree program enables students to complete an associate’s degree en route to completion of the baccalaureate degree, in a stackable manner. The program is open to students studying Criminal Justice, Fire Science/Emergency Management, Human Services and Social Work. The H.E.A.R.T. Initiative is also an option for students initially aiming to complete associate’s degrees who wish to be part of the Anna Maria community.

 “Quinsigamond has always had the word Community as its middle name; it's more than a geographic description, it’s about who we are and what we do. We serve individuals who live in our community, we graduate people into the community,” said Quinsigamond Community College President Gail E. Carberry, Ed.D. “We need people who can get an education and stay living in our communities. We know the affordability factor is real, we know that middle class families are struggling now to enable their young people to get a college degree. How could we not step up for this community that we both serve so well and enable students this prime opportunity to be part of something special.”

“We are so pleased to announce this exciting partnership with Quinsigamond Community College,” said President Mary Lou Retelle of Anna Maria College. “Since the Sisters of Saint Anne founded Anna Maria College 70 years ago, access to our quality education has been paramount in our mission. The H.E.A.R.T. Initiative expands access for students looking to make a difference in their communities. This will give students the opportunity to complete their desired degree in public service in a cost effective way.”

Among those present at the announcement was District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., who said, “Often times the component of cost that goes with education is just overwhelming and often times it keeps them from getting into these jobs; $40,000 is very reasonable.”

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. also stated, “[people] get a quality education at an affordable, realistic price.”

State Representatives Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden) and James O’Day (D-West Boylston) also provided remarks in support of the academic collaboration. 

The H.E.A.R.T. Initiative capitalizes on the individual strengths of Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Maria College while ensuring optimal access by full-time, college-ready, local students to highly affordable college degrees. The Initiative is primarily designed for full-time, non-residential, in-state students at approximately a $40,000 degree price point. This price is made possible by significant scholarships, made available to all students who enter Anna Maria through this program.

As an added benefit, students who choose the H.E.A.R.T. Initiative upon entry to QCC as commuter students will be able to become part of the Anna Maria College experience for all four years of the program. From the beginning, students can partake in a variety of Anna Maria social and special events to connect with the campus community. In addition, academic advising for students is specific to each student’s chosen major and his or her transfer option.

Public service leaders from the field were also on hand for the morning announcement. Paxton Chief of Police Robert Desrosiers stated that of his 30 police officers “28 are both Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Marie graduates.” Chief Auburn Fire Rescue Department and Chairman MA Fire District 7 Stephen Coleman Jr. is also a proud alumnus of both QCC and Anna Maria. Linda Cavaioli, executive director of the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and QCC Board member, spoke to the advantage this program would provide to human services and social work professionals.

Completing an associate degree program before attending a four-year college is often lauded as an affordable way to reduce the cost of a four-year degree. While often effective, students can also find themselves taking additional courses to meet transfer and completion requirements, in instances in which the two colleges are not affiliated. The H.E.A.R.T. initiative is the result of close collaboration between Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Maria College, to ensure that students are taking pre-approved courses under a shared philosophy of public service, allowing for an efficient and affordable four-year degree with many of the same benefits that come from attending a four-year college.

The first H.E.A.R.T. Initiative class will be enrolled for the Fall 2016 semester. View the photo gallery of the signing, here


Anna Maria College is a private, co-educational institution founded in 1946 by the Sisters of Saint Anne. With an annual enrollment of 1,500 students, the College prides itself on providing a values-based, service-focused liberal arts education. AMC has grown to offer a variety of undergraduate majors, as well as many graduate and certificate programs, both on-ground and online.  The small student-faculty ratio allows for a highly personalized learning experience, while the modest class and campus size allow for optimal student involvement. The College offers 13 Division III NCAA athletic programs for men and women. AMC’s campus is conveniently located just minutes away from Worcester, MA on 192 acres in Paxton.

As a regional leader in education and workforce development, Quinsigamond Community College serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.

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