MCLA Continues to Climb U.S. News College Rankings

September 14, 2021

NORTH ADAMS, MASS.—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ continued commitment to an excellent, affordable education is reflected in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings: The college has risen to #7 on the list of Top Public Colleges, and risen to #21 as a Top Performer on Social Mobility and first among all Massachusetts schools. MCLA also continues to appear on the list of Top National Liberal Arts Colleges. 

MCLA has appeared on U.S. News’ list of Top Public Colleges for nine of the past 11 years. The College has also appeared on its list of National Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility since the organization adopted this ranking in 2019. This list measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000, though most Pell Grant money goes to families with income below $20,000. 

More than 45 percent of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and more than 40 percent are the first in their families to go to college. Nearly 85 percent of students receive some kind of financial aid.  

The 2022 rankings represent a march upward for the College. In 2021, MCLA was ranked #9 on the list of Top Public Colleges, and appeared in the top 50 National Liberal Arts Colleges for social mobility.   

“I am proud to see MCLA recognized again as a Top Public College, but I am more proud of the work we’ve done to continue to climb these rankings for nine of the last 11 years,” said MCLA President James F. Birge, Ph.D. “We have an excellent faculty body with expertise and dedication to a liberal arts education. We have staff dedicated to student outcomes at every level and in every department. We have incredible programs that contribute to social mobility, helping our under-resourced students achieve a college education, which will help them earn more in their lifetimes, find fulfilling careers, and live meaningful lives. Public colleges help contribute to furthering economic equity every day, and we are proud to make this part of our mission as an institution.” 

"As the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college, MCLA is an enormous asset that provides access, equity, and academic excellence to its students. We are proud of MCLA’s achievements and appreciative of its impact on our communities. MCLA is one of the many higher education institutions that make Massachusetts a national leader in higher education,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. 

In recent years, MCLA has added new programs that help bolster student support. The TRiO Program, supported by a $1.2 million federal grant and founded in 2020, works toward increasing the retention, good academic standing, and graduation rates of low-income, first generation, and students with disabilities. This program serves up to 160 students a year.  

In 2020, in response to economic uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, MCLA established the Resiliency Fund, which has to date distributed nearly $300,000 to 296 students in need. The College maintains a robust food pantry to combat student food insecurity, supported with student volunteer work and donations. The College also boasts over 100 of its own private scholarships, including five new additions in 2020. 

U.S. News ranks colleges based on indicators that reflect a school’s student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution achieves its mission of educating students. 

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