A drive to increase access to education is what motivates the team at Saylor Academy, and this is why we have partnered with schools across the United States. Together we can increase access and affordability to education.

A partner school that has a similar drive is Urban College of Boston (UCB). UCB is a non-profit co-educational two-year institution located in Boston, Massachusetts. They were chartered in 1993, and have been working ever since to provide an opportunity for post-secondary education and professional advancement to those in their community traditionally underserved by higher education.

We reached out to Nancy Daniel, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Urban College of Boston, and asked her what makes UCB different from a traditional institution.


David Thompson, Social Media Coordinator at Saylor Academy: Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role at UCB?

Nancy Daniel: I am the Vice President of Academic Affairs. I hire faculty and oversee all curriculum. I was the first faculty member hired when the Urban College was in the first stages of accreditation. (1991) I taught, created curriculum, developed the early childhood education program, developed the Learning Resource Center and moved up to program coordinator, division chair, academic dean and now Academic VP.

DT: In your words, can you tell me how UCB got its start and what its mission is?

ND: We were founded by Action for Boston Community Development, Boston’s largest social service agency. It was first a program whereby courses from various colleges were offered at ABCD’s main headquarters as a means of professional advancement for employees and community members.

Urban College of Boston exists to provide an opportunity to every student seeking a college degree or professional advancement. The College supports students as they overcome economic, social, and language barriers to achieve academic, personal or professional aspirations.

UCB is an empowering institution, providing every student full access to the resources and support they need to succeed personally, academically, and professionally. We enrich the communities and neighborhoods of metropolitan Boston through our unique, rigorous, and compassionate education that goes beyond the classroom and meets our diverse students in the context of their lives.

UCB believes that the most lasting way to empower people is through education. We will leverage every resource at our disposal to ensure that our students not only have access to a college education but also have the social, economic, interpersonal, and academic support they need to be successful. We will impact communities by empowering leaders and parents, who build up their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. We will emulate the perseverance and fortitude exemplified by our students in our own conduct as we partner with them to transform lives and communities through the power of education.

DT: How has UCB grown or changed over time?

ND: We had 4 graduates in our first class and now have about 185 certificate and degree recipients at every graduation. We serve about 1600 students annually. We now are in a new building and are growing our traditional day program.

DT: What differentiates UCB from other schools?

ND: UCB is a private, non-profit 2-year college. Our goal is to allow anyone who seeks higher education the opportunity to do so regardless of their past. We also offer courses in Early Childhood Education in Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese so students can learn in their native language while learning English.

DT: What are some stories you have of students who have benefited from attending UCB?

ND: We have helped hundreds – maybe thousands – to obtain credentials for employment. Many have achieved certificates and degrees. Some have gone on to attain bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I actually have 5 faculty members who are graduates of our A.A. degree program who have master’s degrees and now teach here. Hundreds have opened their own businesses. The most important thing is that they have dared to take the next step toward fulfilling their dreams. Our average student is a 39-year-old mother who is working and supporting her family while attending college. They are amazing!

DT: How has the partnership between Saylor Academy and UCB benefited students?

ND: So many motivated students don’t have the time or money to fully invest in their education. Saylor is the perfect solution.

DT: What would your advice be to a potential new student on how best to take advantage of the partnership between UCB and Saylor Academy?

ND: Take as many Saylor courses as you can handle so as to speed up degree completion. Utilize the Learning Resource Center if you have any questions.

DT: Where do you see UCB in the future? Or more specifically, where do you see the world of higher education going and how do you see UCB keeping up with and/or impacting the change?

ND: We must develop more certificate programs. Boston is an area where health services jobs are plentiful. We must develop career pathways that lead to stable employment. I see higher education as a changing entity that must adapt to the rapidly changing workforce demands.

DT: Is there anything you would like to add?

ND: I think Saylor is a wonderful opportunity for students to achieve their goals and we are very pleased to be partners.


Urban College of Boston offers associates degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Services Administration, and General Studies. They can be completed in two years and, like Saylor Academy, they allow you to study at your own pace.

They also have certificate programs where you can study specific subjects before deciding on a degree program, if that is your goal.

If you live in the Boston area and are interested to learn more about UCB you can visit our page detailing our partnership and you can visit www.urbancollege.edu.

We would like to thank Nancy Daniel for taking the time to speak to us and for sharing UCB’s inspiring mission. We hope our partnership is long lived and that together we can continue to help students, especially adult learners, achieve their educational goals.

If you represent a school and would like to discuss forming a partnership please reach out to Jacqueline Arnold, Saylor Academy’s Manager of Strategic Communications and Relationships: jacqueline.arnold@saylor.org.