NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) recently was awarded a $45,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education to fund its participation in the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program during the 2017 fiscal year. This funding will allow for expanded opportunities for area high school seniors, including concurrent courses with area high schools and the Summer Academy program.

Through the Dual Enrollment Program, academically qualified high school seniors may register for one or more classes – at no cost to them – during which they will earn college credit while they experience an introduction to college life and the academic expectations of a college course.

All dual enrollment courses are free. In many cases, textbooks and other materials are included. 

Students who complete courses through the dual enrollment program can apply the credits they earn toward their college career if they choose to attend MCLA or Berkshire Community College (BCC). These credits also may be accepted by other colleges and universities.

According to MCLA President James F. Birge, through the Dual Enrollment Program, high school seniors will have multiple opportunities to enjoy an early college experience.

“We are thrilled that this ever-expanding program will allow more high school students than ever before to enjoy an early college experience as they earn college credits,” Birge said. “As I continue to become immersed in this community, I am especially delighted to share yet another partnership with BCC through one of our dual enrollment programs, the Summer Academy, which provides recent Berkshire County high school graduates with a jump start into college.” 

For the first time this past summer, MCLA – in collaboration with BCC – offered an academy for recently graduated high school students to help prepare them for college. Participants completed two college courses, “Math for Liberal Arts” and “College-Level Composition,” participated in a paid internship in partnership with the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board (BCREB), and were exposed to college readiness activities.

High school seniors will have access to courses at MCLA this fall, and during spring and summer 2017. In addition, courses will be offered concurrently at area high schools during, or after, the school day. This past academic year MCLA offered a college Spanish class at McCann Technical High School and a “Java” computer programming course at Hoosac Valley High School and McCann.

Pittsfield, Drury, BART, Hoosac Valley and Mt. Greylock Regional high school students also had the opportunity to participate in an open session in “Java” at MCLA. Additional courses, “Introduction to Statistics,” “Business” and “English Literature,” are planned for this year.

Dean Jake Eberwein, a member of the state advisory committee, emphasized, “Dual enrollment continues to grow at MCLA and across the Berkshires, and demonstrates MCLA’s commitment to ensuring students across the region are prepared and inspired for college study.” 

Students who are in their senior year of high school, who have maintained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and who have a letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor, are eligible to apply to the program.

Space is limited, based on available seats in the courses offered.

Those interested should contact their high school guidance counselors, or MCLA’s Office of Admission, 800-969-MCLA, for an application and more information. For more information about MCLA, go to .