For Immediate Release - September 06, 2011

18 PUBLIC CAMPUSES WIN COMPETITIVE GRANTS TO SPUR INNOVATION, IMPROVE GRADUATION RATES

"Performance Incentive Fund" Awards go to Three UMass campuses, Five State Universities, 10 Community Colleges

                                      Performance Incentive Fund
Governor Patrick introduces himself to a group of students gathered to ask questions about higher education.(Photo: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)

BOSTON - Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced the recipients of $2.5 million in funding through the Performance Incentive Fund (PIF), a competitive grant program designed to spur innovation in higher education settings. Through this program, 18 public colleges and universities across the Commonwealth will receive state funding to spur innovative programs and reward campus efforts to improve educational outcomes.

Funding for this program, proposed by Governor Patrick in his fiscal year 2012 budget, will be used to support a variety of new and existing programs to improve college readiness and attendance of high school graduates, as well as college graduation and student success rates. The funds will also be used to expand programs linked to the state's future workforce needs by preparing students for jobs in high-demand fields.

"The innovative strategies that will be advanced through these grants demonstrate our commitment to provide all students with access to a world-class education," said Governor Patrick. "Today we are making an investment in our campuses that will increase opportunities for students and strengthen our workforce, leaving a better Commonwealth for generations to come."

The Performance Incentive Fund is a cornerstone of the Vision Project, the state's master plan to establish the Commonwealth's system of public higher education as a national leader in educating students to be productive workers and engaged citizens. The "vision" at the heart of the Vision Project is that Massachusetts needs the best educated citizenry and workforce in the nation and that it is the job of public higher education to achieve the result.

"This fund provides momentum to a new and important chapter in the Commonwealth's successful history as the national leader in education reform," said Secretary of Education Paul Reville. "Our campuses are rising to meet the challenge of preparing our students, especially those who have been caught in achievement gaps, to participate successfully in the increasingly-competitive modern economy."

"In a budget with very little new spending, the goals of the Vision Project received the strongest possible endorsement from the Patrick-Murray Administration and the legislature," said Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeland. "At a time when higher education budgets are being challenged in many states, this funding represents a strong vote of confidence in our ability to deliver a high-quality education to the citizens of Massachusetts."

Since taking office, Governor Patrick has invested in education at record levels, understanding that the long-term economic stability of the Commonwealth is directly linked to the education of its workforce. Investments in public higher education, like the PIF, are critical, given the growing importance of public higher education in preparing the state's future workforce and driving technological innovation through applied research. Approximately two-thirds of the state's high school graduates who attend college in state now choose public higher education.

"We applaud the grant evaluation process that brought in educational leaders from around the country to review applications from all of our public higher education institutions," said Dan O'Connell, the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. "The Vision is becoming clear that Massachusetts is committed to a first class public higher education system."

Among the campus programs chosen to receive PIF funding:

College readiness and attendance: Quinsigamond Community College will partner with the Worcester public schools to "plug the leaks in the math pipeline," an effort to improve students' math skills.

Graduation Rates and Student Success: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will launch 30 in 3, an initiative aimed at helping freshmen complete 30 credits in three semesters in order to remain on track for graduation.

Student learning: UMass Boston plans to use grant funds to build a program of student learning assessment for both core courses and specific disciplines.

Workforce Preparation: North Shore Community College will launch an academic/career mapping initiative to strengthen connections between workforce training college credit programs.

Closing Achievement Gaps: Worcester State University's grant will be used to create a Teaching Corps program in its Latino Education Institute.

An independent, external review panel evaluated proposals submitted by each of Massachusetts' 29 public campuses and made recommendations for funding.

A complete list of the PIF campus awards and capsule program descriptions is attached.

For more information on the Vision Project, please visit: http://www.mass.edu/currentinit/visionproject.asp

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