Transforming Lives Through Scholarship

Each year, the Pioneer Scholars Program offers up to ten Abbott Lawrence Academy students a full scholarship to Merrimack College covering tuition, room and board, fees and books.

Abbott Lawrence Academy ceremony. Photo by Mary Schwalm 5/16/19

Increasing Access to Education in Lawrence

In 2017, Merrimack College advanced its longstanding commitment to the City of Lawrence through the creation of the Early College Program (ECP), a unique dual enrollment program that enables high school students from Lawrence to earn college credits on Merrimack’s campus. Partnering with Abbott Lawrence Academy (ALA), the honors program within Lawrence High School, the ECP helps provide a viable, affordable pathway to college for underrepresented students. Through this partnership, Merrimack has opened our doors to a group of students from Lawrence who are academically motivated and accomplished, giving them a head start on college while they complete high school.

Advantages of the Partnership
  • Builds confidence and college readiness.
  • Fosters an environment of intellectual curiosity.
  • Encourages social responsibility and compassion.
  • Helps students in Lawrence achieve empowerment through education.

National research shows that students enrolled in early college initiatives are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and continue their education earning a college degree. 

How It Works

Abbott Lawrence Academy students begin by taking classes together as a cohort at Merrimack. Eventually, they are enrolled in classes with matriculating Merrimack students. This college access program exposes the students, many of whom will be first-generation college students, to campus life and academic expectations and provides them with hope and self-confidence that they can succeed in college.

Merrimack’s Early College Program Proves to be a Success

The Program is Growing.

Since its inception, 226 students have graduated from the Early College Program. Sixty students are enrolled for the Fall 2020 semester.

Students Are Succeeding in Class.

The course pass rate is 98%.

All Students Are Applying to College.

100% of graduating seniors applied to college.

The Program Is Recognized by the State.

Merrimack College is the only private college in Massachusetts to receive state designation from the Baker-Polito Administration in 2018, recognizing its work in preparing disadvantaged high school students for college academics at no cost to their families, while earning credit toward college graduation.

The Pioneer Scholarship for ALA Students

In 2019, Merrimack established a scholarship fund for Abbott Lawrence Academy students who have successfully completed the Early College Program. This Pioneer Scholarship provides up to ten ALA students with the opportunity to attend Merrimack College on a full scholarship, covering tuition, room/board, fees and books.

Infographic showing how students go from Abbott Lawrence Academy to the Early College Program at ...

Pioneer Scholars undergo a competitive selection process and will:

  • Submit a written application and participate in an interview
  • Commit to being residential students, living on Merrimack’s campus
  • Meet high academic standards to retain their scholarship
  • Spend their first year immersed in intensive core and intro courses
  • Receive support through our Academic Success Center

How You Can Help

The College has set several funding goals to ensure this innovative program can continue in perpetuity. With your gift, you can help transform their lives through education. 

Video: Gov. Baker Recognizes Pioneer Scholars in His Annual State of the Commonwealth Address