Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams has received a $2 million federal grant to increase retention and graduation rates of low-income and minority students.
The U.S. Department of Education “Strengthening Institutions Program” grant will help create online summer courses and go toward the purchase of software to track student progress. MCLA President Jaimie Birge says the five-year funding will improve student retention.
“Our retention rate right now for last year’s class of freshman is at a little more than 79 percent, the highest in our history,” Birge said. “We’ll be able to, with this grant, I think drive that number further higher probably to the low to mid-80 percent range.”
About 40 percent of MCLA students are from families that earn less than $40,000 a year and 46 percent receive federal Pell grants.