dcsimg

Online and On-Campus Colleges in
MASSACHUSETTS

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Massachusetts

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages accessed May 25, 2017: About MMA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, https://www.maritime.edu/about-mma; Degrees and Certificates, University of Massachusetts Online, http://www.umassonline.net/programs/bachelors-degree-programs; 175 Facts for 175 Years, Westfield State University, http://www.westfield.ma.edu/about/175-facts-for-175-years; About FSU, Framingham State University, https://framingham.edu/about-fsu/; Part-Time Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, University of Massachusetts Lowell, https://continuinged.uml.edu/degrees-certificates.cfm; About, Worcester State University, http://www.worcester.edu/About/; Tuition Reduction Programs, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, http://mcla.edu/Admissions/financial-aid-and-cost/nebhe/index; Career Services, Salem State University, https://www.salemstate.edu/careers;
  • Take a Course, College of Continuing Studies, Bridgewater State University, accessed July 12, 2017, http://www.bridgew.edu/ccs/take-a-course
  • Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, accessed May 15, 2017: About the Public Higher Education System, http://www.mass.edu/system/aboutsystem.asp; About MassTransfer, http://www.mass.edu/masstransfer/about/home.asp; Campus Directory, http://www.mass.edu/system/campusdirectory.asp;
  • Office of Student Financial Assistance, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, accessed May 15, 2017, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/home/home.asp
X

We wanted to help Massachusetts students get the best education for their money and sort through the dozens of colleges and universities in the state. So, in addition to highlighting the state's most popular degree programs and digging into state-related scholarship information, we did some statistical analysis of each four-year school and ranked the top ten in the state.

For community college students looking to transfer to a four-year traditional or online school, be sure look into MassTransfer, a statewide initiative designed to make that transfer simple and seamless. There may even be additional financial incentives available at the state level for MassTransfer students. Check with your advisor for details.

We included independent four-year schools in our analysis as well as those in the Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education. In the case of large universities with one main campus and several satellite locations, we treated each campus as a separate school.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Massachusetts

Our specially crafted analytical system uses data from the U.S. Department of Education to score each institution on metrics such as affordability, flexibility and student success.

Methodology
1University of Massachusetts Amherst+
ADMISSION RATE
58%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
24

The landmark public research university in central Massachusetts offered the third-largest catalog of academic programs in the Bay State in 2015-16 and recorded a streak of other top-tier finishes on our metrics. Only one school in our top ten recorded a higher graduation rate than UMass Amherst, and its retention rate of first-year students came in at No. 3 among institutions that made our top ten.

Students seeking an online bachelor's degree program in Massachusetts had a wide range of options here, in popular subjects like business and psychology as well as less common online degree tracks like arts management and social justice. The array of distance education degrees available at the Amherst school was the third-largest in the state, and more than 24 percent of the student body was reported as taking at least some of their coursework online.

Additional Info
2Harvard University+
ADMISSION RATE
6%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
49

Just about everyone in the country knows the name of this prestigious private institution in Cambridge, and the numbers show that it generally lives up to the hype. Harvard University recorded the No. 1 graduation rate in Massachusetts and nationwide in 2016, and its retention rate ranked No. 4 in the state and in the 98th percentile nationally.

Harvard offered the state's No. 2 academic catalog in terms of variety, and its slate of online degree programs was second-largest among schools on our list. It also covered the state's highest proportion of tuition with institutional grant aid. The high raw cost of attendance and limited measures of on-campus flexibility were likely all that kept this Ivy League stalwart from fully dominating the rankings.

Additional Info
3Fitchburg State University+
ADMISSION RATE
75%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

Distance education enrollment numbers show that Fitchburg State University is one of the best online colleges for Massachusetts students, taking the No. 4 spot statewide for its percentage of learners enrolled in at least some online courses.

It ranked No. 8 in the state for the raw affordability of its tuition and fees, as well, and took the No. 1 spot on a more precise measure of college cost - average net price.Average net price is a cost measure that's calculated by subtracting the expected amount of institutional grant and scholarship aid from the average estimated expense of tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and other necessities. Students at FSU paid the lowest average net price in the state in 2015-16, and just three other schools on our list reported a lower out-of-pocket cost for students in lower income brackets.

Additional Info
4Westfield State University+
ADMISSION RATE
80%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

This member of the Massachusetts State System of Public Higher Education has been educating students in Westfield for more than 170 years. Tuition and fees at this old-guard state school ranked No. 2 statewide for affordability, and the average net price for middle- and low-income students came in at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, among schools on our list.

That focus on affordability may be a big part of the reason that Westfield State University graduates reported leaving school with a manageable median amount of student debt. Only three other schools on our list saw their alumni leave school with less debt on average. The graduation rate was also substantial at this southeastern Massachusetts institution — only three schools on our list ranked higher in 2015-16.

Additional Info
5Framingham State University+
ADMISSION RATE
71%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Framingham State University is a medium-sized institution situated less than an hour west-by-southwest of Boston, and students from the metropolis and surrounding area can earn an education here without breaking the bank. FSU ranked No. 2 in the state for its affordable average cost of tuition and fees, and just one other school on our list reported a lower cost of books and supplies than the Framingham school.

The university also has a number of campus-based programs in place that show a commitment to student access. Remedial services are available for returning students who have spent a period of time away from the higher learning environment, and incoming students may be able to earn course credit for life experience that applies to their degree program.

Additional Info
6University of Massachusetts Lowell+
ADMISSION RATE
57%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$60
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
50

This University of Massachusetts campus in the northeastern part of the state has a robust selection of on-campus degree programs, coming in behind just two other schools on our list in that category, and the academic variety doesn't stop there. The NCES reports that 50 degree plans are available to online students — a total that landed it the No. 1 spot in the state for the depth of its distance education catalog.

Online enrollment was also high at UMass Lowell in 2015, according to the latest NCES data. The 28 percent of students taking at least some of their courses in the virtual classroom was a higher proportion than all but two other schools in our top ten. Hybrid programs where students take courses online and in a traditional classroom are also common here.

Additional Info
7Worcester State University+
ADMISSION RATE
69%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Worcester State University, founded in 1874, is a member of the Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education. That state-supported status allows them to take a fair portion of the cost burden of a college education off of the shoulders of the individual students, and the NCES numbers demonstrates the advantages of such an initiative.

WSU ranked No. 3 in the state for the manageable raw cost of its tuition and fees, and the average net price paid by middle-income students at the Worcester school was lower than all other institutions in the state but one. On top of that, graduates of WSU held a median student debt burden of less than $20,000. Just one other school on our list reported a lower average debt load for recent alumni.

Additional Info
8Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts+
ADMISSION RATE
73%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The smallest school on our list comes in at No. 8. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a public college in the state's far northwestern corner, near the borders with Vermont and New York, offers a surprisingly affordable education for a small liberal arts school. It took the statewide No. 6 spot for its raw affordability of tuition and fees, and its average net price for middle-income students came in at No. 3 among all Massachusetts schools.

Thanks in part to its position near a multi-state border, MCLA offers breaks on tuition for out-of-state students. Residents of New York and southern Vermont can get an 85 percent reduction in their non-resident tuition on any degree plan offered by the college, while subject-restricted discounts apply to residents of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, northern Vermont and Maine.

Additional Info
9Salem State University+
ADMISSION RATE
75%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Another member of the Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education comes in at No. 9, thanks to a sizeable academic catalog that ranked ninth in the state and an average net price that landed at No. 7 statewide for middle-income students. Salem State University also provided an array of on-campus services to help its students succeed throughout college and beyond.

The career services office at Salem State takes its student guidance role very seriously, aiming to connect with students during their first few days on campus and working to stay active and available to them well into their time as alumni. Students can get help with career exploration, résumé building, locating internships and more. The most-popular major at the school was nursing, with more bachelor's degrees awarded in that field in 2015 than in any other.

Additional Info
10Bridgewater State University+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

Students at Bridgewater State University paid the state's fourth-lowest raw cost of tuition and fees in 2015-16, and the points of pride in terms of affordability don't stop there. The average net price for middle-income students at the Bridgewater school ranked No. 5 in the state, and its average estimated cost of books and supplies per student was the lowest of any school on our list.

The College of Continuing Studies at BSU offers undergraduates more than 500 courses available either online or on campus outside of normal classroom hours. Nearly 25 percent of enrolled students took at least some of their credit courses in the online environment in 2015, good for the No. 5 spot among schools on our list in that category.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Massachusetts

If you don't yet know what you want to study in college, a list of the top majors in your state may help stimulate the decision-making process. Here's a rundown of the degrees most often pursued by Massachusetts students.

In-Demand Careers in Massachusetts

Having an idea about the job market for Massachusetts graduates can help you direct your education toward a degree plan that takes some of the pain out of the post-college job search. Here are the hottest career fields of the moment, according to employment projections.

Career Title Projected Job Growth Total Employment Annual Salary
Home Health Aides37.5%27,020$29,200
Statisticians34.7%2,640$85,120
Interpreters and Translators31.8%1,830$58,690
Nurse Practitioners29.5%6,190$117,860
Operations Research Analysts29.3%4,590$82,170
Physical Therapist Assistants29.3%2,420$60,210
Physical Therapist Aides29.3%1,110$30,720
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians28.7%640$32,210
Genetic Counselors26.9%190$74,990
Computer and Information Research Scientists26.4%1,180$125,870
Physical Therapists25.6%8,420$86,110
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers25.1%1,940$81,050
Personal Care Aides24.7%42,190$28,260
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians24.1%1,600$76,020
Physician Assistants24%2,620$106,220
Audiologists23.9%410$77,870
Occupational Therapy Assistants23.4%1,270$56,130
Biomedical Engineers22.3%2,880$91,410
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics22.2%6,220$39,660
Web Developers22%4,030$79,040
Law Teachers, Postsecondary21.2%1,090$141,050
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary20.9%460$69,490
Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other20.9%1,790$56,920
Phlebotomists20.1%3,400$38,930
Marriage and Family Therapists19.7%330$50,890
Nurse Midwives19.6%340$112,290
Industrial Machinery Mechanics19.6%3,620$55,440
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors19.5%5,010$45,520
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary19.5%1,360$88,240
Psychologists, All Other19.2%900$80,230
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Massachusetts

Students in Massachusetts should check out some of the state-based grant and scholarship programs. MASSGrant is a need-based aid program with an award amount that varies based on each student's expected family contribution (EFC) to their tuition. Also, The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship awards a full tuition waiver to qualifying students who score highly on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test.

 
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Merit Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming student at the New England School of Law with exceptional academic promise. No separate application. All students are considered upon admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$30,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable annually if recipient meets academic requirements.

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund
Applicants must be U.S. residents or resident aliens who are permanent residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont. They must be enrolled in a demanding undergraduate course of study pursuing their first degrees. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Applicants must demonstrate citizenship, character, serious-mindedness and financial need.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$18,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

May 1

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
X
Bridgewater State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
131 Summer Street
City
Bridgewater
State
MA
Zip Code
02325
Website
www.bridgew.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,608
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
81%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,903
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
25%
Fitchburg State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
160 Pearl St
City
Fitchburg
State
MA
Zip Code
01420
Website
www.fitchburgstate.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,270
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
75%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,935
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
35%
Framingham State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
100 State Street
City
Framingham
State
MA
Zip Code
01701
Website
www.framingham.edu/index.html
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
440-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-530
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,478
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$45
Admission Rate
71%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,700
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
22%
Harvard University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Massachusetts Hall
City
Cambridge
State
MA
Zip Code
02138
Website
www.harvard.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
700-800
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
700-800
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
710-790
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
32-35
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
10,255
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$75
Admission Rate
6%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$45,278
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
7
Number of Online Programs Offered
49
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
10%
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 University Ave
City
Lowell
State
MA
Zip Code
01854
Website
www.uml.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
550-650
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
550-650
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-29
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
13,863
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$60
Admission Rate
57%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$13,427
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
50
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
29%
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
City
Amherst
State
MA
Zip Code
01003
Website
www.umass.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
550-640
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
580-670
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
25-30
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
22,748
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$75
Admission Rate
58%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$14,356
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
18
Number of Online Programs Offered
24
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
24%
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
375 Church St
City
North Adams
State
MA
Zip Code
01247
Website
www.mcla.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,457
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
73%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,475
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
8%
Salem State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
352 Lafayette St
City
Salem
State
MA
Zip Code
01970
Website
www.salemstate.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,499
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
75%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,246
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
2
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
19%
Westfield State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
577 Western Ave
City
Westfield
State
MA
Zip Code
01086
Website
www.westfield.ma.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
460-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-530
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,636
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
80%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,815
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
Worcester State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
486 Chandler St
City
Worcester
State
MA
Zip Code
01602
Website
www.worcester.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
455-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-560
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
440-540
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,514
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
69%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,857
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
27%
X
Explore Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts