Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Students Honored at State House for Receiving Tsongas Scholarships


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Twelve students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) were chosen to receive the Paul E. Tsongas Scholarship, which includes four full years of free tuition and fees. On April 8, they attended an honorary luncheon in the Great Hall of the State House in their honor. 

Tsongas Scholarship recipients are entitled to four years of study at MCLA without the costs of tuition or fees. The Tsongas scholars were chosen by each of the nine institutions in the state university system from among the most academically talented students in the Commonwealth. 

This program was created by the Council of State College Presidents and is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts. It is designed to foster more scholarship aid and to attract more top students to the state university system. 

Among the students to receive Tsongas Scholarships were MCLA students Caroline Bartlett '13 of Whitinsville, Mass.; Alyson Carey '12 of Dudley, Mass.; Megan Houle '13 of Northbridge, Mass.; Aimee Hudon '12 of Russell, Mass.; Tyson Luneau '13 of Amesbury, Mass.; Mary Marcil '13 of Agawam, Mass.; Emily Minns '13 of Gardner, Mass.; Peter Mitchell '13 of North Attleboro, Mass.; Kayla Montambault '12 of Edgartown, Mass.; Kaitlyn Moore '13 of Amesbury, Mass.; Ericka Oleson '12 of Florida, Mass.; and Tyler Prendergast '12 of Saugus, Mass. 

Luneau, who is majoring in history and education at MCLA, spoke at the event. Also present at the ceremony were Sen. Michael Moore, senate chair, Joint Committee on Higher Education; Rep. Tom Sannicandro, house chair, Joint Committee on Higher Education; numerous state senators and representatives; and Jay Curley, senior vice president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts; and all nine presidents of the Massachusetts State University System.  

Scholarship awards are merit-based, and financial need is not required for eligibility. Tsongas Scholarships are granted to students who graduated high school with GPAs of at least 3.75 or academic ranking in the top 10 percent of their classes.  Students can receive Tsongas Scholarship funding for all four years, although to renew funding students must maintain a 3.3 GPA and meet any other requirements set by individual institutions.

The awards cover in-state tuition and mandatory fees for up to four years, which is approximately $7,338 each year.

The program was launched in 1998 by the Board of Higher Education as a tribute to the late Paul E. Tsongas, who died in 1997. It was designed to further Senator Tsongas' belief in the value of education and the importance of public colleges and universities in providing all citizens access to academic excellence.  

In addition to his many other contributions to the public good, Tsongas once served as Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education, the precursor to today's Board of Higher Education. 

The nine-campus Massachusetts State University System comprises four-year baccalaureate and master's degree-granting teaching universities. They include six comprehensive institutions that combine a liberal arts education with professional development training, which include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, Westfield State University, Worcester State University, and three specialized institutions, including Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay. The state university system educates more than 51,000 students each year, and has more than 225,000 alumni.