Stimulus cash on way to 2 colleges

Sunday October 3, 2010

Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will receive more stimulus money after Gov. Deval Patrick designated $55 million to go to public higher-education.

Of the $55 million in federal stimulus money, $51 million will go directly to the 29 public higher-education institutions in the state, bringing total economic recovery funding for public campuses to $71 million this year.

BCC will get $677,423 and MCLA will get $1,037,548.

"We're delighted with the governor's support for public higher education. There are no end to the uses of having additional resources for campuses," said James Stakenas, MCLA's vice president of administration and finance.

The college's original allotment of federal stimulus money was $311,422.

"This will clearly be helpful," said BCC President Paul Raverta. For fiscal 2010, BCC received $2.6 million in stimulus funds.

The new money will help make up a lack of state funding. The commonwealth is ranked 46th in the country in per capita funding for public colleges and universities.

Other educators welcomed the federal money.

"This is good news. There are increasing needs with a growing student population, which we're all experiencing," said Ellen Kennedy, BCC dean of administration and finance.

She said BCC's initial stimulus funds went to preserving faculty and staff positions and paying for academic equipment.

In addition to the $51 million in direct funds, the governor announced a $3 million allotment to the state's scholarship program and $750,000 for the dual-enrollment program, which gives students an opportunity to study and receive credit for college-level courses while still in high school.

Since 2008, higher education in the state has received more than $350 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

To reach Jenn Smith:
or (413) 496-6239.


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