MCLA to Receive $1.3M TRIO Program Grant for Student Support Services from U.S. Department of Education


NORTH ADAMS, MA—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is among institutions chosen by the U.S. Department of Education to receive a TRIO program grant for student support services. The College will receive $261,888 per year for up to five years, a total of $1.3 million, in order to enhance student support for under-resourced students. 

“College students benefiting from the TRIO program have gone on to make incredible contributions to their communities and their professions,” said MCLA President James F. Birge, Ph.D. “I am thrilled that MCLA will now be part of this program. Many of our students come from under-resourced populations, and it’s been our 125-year mission to provide an accessible, affordable education. The TRIO program grant will enhance our existing work in the area of student support, and create further opportunities for our student body.”  

The TRIO programming will work toward increasing the retention, good academic standing, and graduation rates of eligible students, and foster an institutional climate that is supportive of low-income, first generation, and students with disabilities. Additionally, MCLA will provide provide flexible and affordable paths to obtaining knowledge and skills as well as promote the development of skills that prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, and productive individuals and citizens. This program will serve up to 160 students a year. Sixty-nine percent of the program’s funding will come from federal dollars, and 4 percent will be financed by non-governmental sources. 

“We have been working tirelessly on this grant since I first arrived two and a half years ago,” said MCLA Chief Diversity Officer Christopher MacDonald-Dennis. “TRIO is a highly respected program that brings results, and I know we will get so much from being part of this program.”  

Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects.