Part of the Massachusetts State University system, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is a public co-educational college that offer students both graduate and undergraduate degrees. MCLA emphasizes small classrooms (with a student-faculty ratio of 13:1), innovative teaching methods, and offers students both a supportive and collaborative environment.
MCLA enrolls 2,000 students and provides over 50 majors such as broadcast journalism, cytotechnology, and public policy analysis. Due to hands-on learning and a strict curriculum, MCLA helps its students think critically and communicate their thoughts; two skills that will help students further their careers upon graduation.
North Adams is home to MCLA. A small city in the Berkshire Country, North Adams has a lot to offer students. Many tourists flock to North Adams to view the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the largest contemporary art museum in the country. North Adams also offers many restaurants and shopping for students to enjoy.
Although a thriving city, North Adams also offers many outdoor recreational activities. Because of its location near the Berkshires, students can hike breathtaking trails such as the Cascade Trail, or try fishing in Windsor Lake. Whether a student wants fresh air or a rich culture steeped in traditions, North Adams offers an environment that continuously challenges and inspires.
Founded in 1894, MCLA was originally named North Adams Normal School, and taught post-secondary level for three years. Three years later not only did the name change to State Teachers College of North Adams, but it also started offering students four-year degrees. The name was again changed in 1960 to North Adams State College and finally changed to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts thirty-seven years later.
MCLA houses over 67% of all students who live in Co-ed dormitories. Students are required to live on campus through their junior year while freshmen are given priority housing. MCLA has three resident halls which all include lounge areas for students. Hoosac Hall is mainly for students who want a traditional dorm experience while the Flagg Townhouse Apartment Complex offers students apartment-style dorms complete with kitchens, living rooms, and private bathrooms.
Students can take advantage of numerous clubs and organizations the school has to offer such as Good Vibes, a studio for those who practice yoga and holistic health; Colleges against Cancer; and SLAM Poetry. Students can take part in these activities to meet other students and participate in activities that continue to inspire them and make a difference on campus and in the community.
Students can also cheer on the Trailblazers at Varsity sports. Participating in Division II, students can play sports such as soccer basketball or volleyball. In the past, there has been much controversy over athletics. The MCLA’s hockey team has been the most successful sport on campus but was cut due to Title 9. Students were not told of this until the beginning of the semester in which it was too late to transfer, losing a year of eligibility. Controversy also struck due to the original name of the Mohawks. Named after a trail that runs up route 2, many feared that the name would offend the Mohawk Nation. The name was still changed even after the Native American tribe gave their blessing.
Administrators at MCLA want students to “create opportunity, not debt” and believe that students will benefit from a MCLA education because MCLA combines “quality academics and affordability”. Around 85% of all students at MCLA receive financial aid, and on average receive a financial aid package of close to $14,000.
Furthermore, the financial aid department at MCLA believes that financial assistance is important. Therefore students are automatically considered for a scholarship upon applying to the school. Because it’s a state school, MCLA offers Massachusetts residents a reduced tuition rate of $8,500.
MCLA also offers tuition reduction to students who are residents of New York, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. Tuition for these students is around $9,000. Certain restrictions apply, and students from these states should consult with MCLA before applying.