NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts was ranked amongst the top 10 public liberal arts colleges in the country for the third year in a row last week.
U.S. News and World Report ranked MCLA 10th in a large field of public liberal arts colleges.
MCLA President Mary Grant praised students and faculty alike for the achievement, while also recognizing what she said is a commitment by the state legislature to fund the higher education.
"It's taken a lot of collective effort," Grant said.
According to Grant, a key to MCLA's recent successs has been the ability attract talented students, and the continued high rankings in the U.S. World News report should only help.
Great rankings do help catch the eye of prospective students, according to Grant.
"[Students] compare a whole host of factors," Grant said. "They do take a look at the rankings."
Grant described the ways families look for colleges have changed.
"We are seeing more and more students look at schools both public and private," Grant said. "And MCLA is a strong contender."
Now, Grant said, affordability is a large factor when a student is looking at colleges.
"Families are really worried" about paying for college, Grant said.
Grant said that while lower costs certainly aid in attracting talented students, the quality of the education comes first.
While Grant recognized the importance of the achievement, she said there are a number of ways she gauges the success of the college.
Grant said MCLA is flourishing when it is attracting quality students and faculty. She also looks at the success of students' careers after they graduate.
Grant said she also cares that MCLA is "engaged in the community." That aspect of the college has improved in recent years, according to Grant.
"I really do think we have strong, robust civic engagement," Grant said.
Grant pointed out the college's art gallery that puts MCLA in the center of North Adams. MCLA also runs the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, which supports Berkshire County artists.
But Grant admits there is still room for improvement.
"I would love to be able to see us provide more scholarships," Grant said.
However, the high ranking is a sign MCLA is "building on a very strong foundation."
"We'll enjoy it, and we'll continue to work hard," Grant said.
To reach Adam Shanks: