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Annual Report Fall 2020

Paul Haijan and architecture student in studio

The live dashboard (above) provides an overall update on the status of all goals, strategies, and actions outlined in the plan.

Strategic planning has helped our campus collectively craft a shared vision, consistent with our mission and values, that defines the work of the College. Through this process, we are positioned to better serve the Commonwealth and our students. 

A few of our recent accomplishments include:

  • Colleague Modernization project: updating our student information system to a fully-cloud based server environment. This migration significantly enhances the stability, performance, security, reliability and redundancy of our core enterprise system, and lays the foundation for improved technical integration and digital transformation, in alignment with strategic plan goals and initiatives.
  • In a first-of-its-kind partnership, MassArt and the City of Boston were awarded $1.2 million over three years from the SURDNA Foundation for a regranting program entitled Radical Imagination for Racial Justice (RIRJ). MassArt stewards these funds to Boston area artists of color seeking to advance racial justice through collaborative projects in their communities. MassArt is the only institution of higher education involved in the national cohort of eleven award recipients. 
  • MassArt received $100,000 from the Lumina Foundation who recognized our legacy of commitment to our public mission of access and opportunity to all students. This award supports our work with professional development and curricular interventions to dismantle systemic barriers to student success and degree attainment, particularly for Black and Latinx students.

Read the 2020 Annual Report

Progress on Retention and Completion

We pursue a just, compassionate, and equitable learning environment is the first phrase of our values statement and is the clear driver of our community to ensure that MassArt moves deliberately to be more just and equitable, and to do so with compassion.

Recently, we have worked to address retention and completion by:

  • Studio Kits - the creation and distribution of major-specific supply kits for remote learning. These kits were provided free of charge to all degree seeking students and equipped them with the basic tools and equipment needed to be successful in their major in the hybrid/remote educational environment.


  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy - ensures all students have access to the technology needed to be successful in their year/major and adapts financial aid packaging to reflect these technology requirements.


  • CARES Act Aid - $1 million in federal CARES act funding to immediately respond to student needs in the COVID crisis and funding critical health and safety updates to respond to the pandemic.


  • My SSP - which provides multilingual 24/7 remote mental health and wellbeing counseling for students

MassArt’s first-year to sophomore retention rate for the 2018 entering cohort was 84%. For the most recent comparative data available, we are the third highest retention rate of our AICAD peers. The fall 2017-to-2018 rate also places MassArt among the top three Massachusetts state universities for fall-to-fall retention with the University of Massachusetts Amherst (91%) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (86%). Maintaining a high first-year retention rate is a critical element in our commitment to increase both the six-year and four-year graduation rates.

Retention Rate Comparison Chart

Six Year Graduation Rate Chart

MassArt’s six-year graduation rate for the 2012 entering first-year cohort was 63% — the sixth highest of our AICAD peer group. We returned to a six-year graduation rate of 71% for the 2013 entering cohort. Aside from this anomaly, the six-year graduation rate has remained over 70% for first-year students entering MassArt since 2013. The rate consistently ranks above the median our AICAD peer group and in the top three of the Massachusetts state universities. The college affirms our commitment to maintain an average six-year rate above 70%, and to increase the number of students who complete their degrees in four years. The four-year graduation rate has increased in recent years, and is 54% for the 2013 cohort.

MassArt and the Board of Higher Education are committed to partnering together to close opportunity and completion gaps and center our work on pursuing systemic equity on our campus and throughout the Commonwealth.