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October 1, 2012

Endicott eyes full-fledged program here

Come January, for the first time in its 390 years, Gloucester will be home to a college campus.

The novel meeting of town and gown in this insular city will be provided by Endicott College, which will expand its satellite program here to offer morning courses for young people aiming for an associate’s degree.

The virgin venture gives local youth a first-ever opportunity to garner the higher ed experience in a familiar setting while availing all the facilities of Endicott toward an advanced degree or better employment.

Meanwhile, Endicott, based in Beverly, opens its doors on the 4,000-square-foot campus at Commercial Street on Tuesday for evening courses for grown-ups wanting to complete a long-lost bachelor’s degree.

Attracting Gloucester youths who might not otherwise pursue college – or ever get familiar with a school that costs about $50,000 a year, like Endicott — this foot-in-the-door experience has mutual benefits.

For one thing, Gloucester could well become a feeder school for the Endicott campus, a mere 10 miles down the road, school officials say.

“We want to build comfort levels, and build our own support systems, that will give the traditional-age student the confidence to do college work,” said Brian Pellinen, assistant dean of professional studies, who is running the academic side of the Gloucester program.

In addition, local teachers who must complete graduate work and might not have thought of Endicott now can access those courses in their backyard. Local employers can utilize intern and training programs from their academic neighbor, Endicott, leading to enhanced employment relationships.

The curriculum for the two-year associate of arts degree comprises five courses per semester taught from 9 a.m. to noon — such as English Composition, Intro to Psychology and Oceanography, plus electives and a summer course — with a total tuition of almost $10,000 a year. Financial aid is available; applications are now being accepted, and those interested are being encouraged to call Jason Powers at 978-232-2847.

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