State colleges, community colleges are awarded $7.5 million in grants

 The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education awarded $7.5 million in grants today to state and community colleges to spur innovation on the campuses.

The grants, awarded through the Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund, were announced at Roxbury Community College, which received $294,859 to team up with UMass Boston. The partnership will create a coaching and advising program that gives Boston Public School students intensive support as they transition into and through college.

The program will track student performance and offer academic advising, tutoring, and study groups to candidates at RCC hoping to transfer to UMass or to Madison Park High School students in the nursing assistant program who hope to earn college credit at RCC.

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“In many ways, this is higher education’s own ‘Race to the Top,’ ” Education Secretary Matt Malone said in a statement, referring to a federal education grant program. “We are rewarding campuses that have spent money wisely and have results to show for it.”

The Vision Project, in its third year, aims to support campuses with a goal of becoming national leaders in various areas, including workforce alignment, college completion, and closing achievement gaps, the education department said in a statement.

Other grants include:

-- $508,667 for Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, and Massasoit Community College to ensure a smooth transition for students at the community college level transferring to Bridgewater.

-- $375,000 to Framingham State University and MassBay Community College to establish a MetroWest College Planning Center, offering pre-college counseling services to at-risk students.

-- $239,334 to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College and Berkshire Community College to work with regional schools to boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Additional funding also went to Springfield Technical Community College and UMass Boston for individual projects to improve the academic success of Latino students.