Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts 2020
Massachusetts is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, many of which offer online programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition rates in the state exceed the national average. However, online learners can qualify for financial aid opportunities, including state-sponsored scholarships and grants. Additionally, data from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) shows that professionals in Massachusetts earn one of the highest median wages in the nation.
Attending one of the high-quality, affordable online schools and colleges in Massachusetts can help you significantly increase your earning potential. This guide covers the importance of accreditation, strategies for paying for college, and online resources for Massachusetts students.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Massasoit Community College Brockton, MA||Tuition $576||# of Online Programs 20||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid 21%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|2||Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA||Tuition $576||# of Online Programs 9||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid 28%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|3||Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner, MA||Tuition $600||# of Online Programs 12||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid 34%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|4||Quinsigamond Community College Worcester, MA||Tuition $576||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid 7%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|5||Bristol Community College Fall River, MA||Tuition $576||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 21%||Financial Aid 1%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|6||Northern Essex Community College Haverhill, MA||Tuition $600||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|7||Holyoke Community College Holyoke, MA||Tuition $4,272||# of Online Programs 12||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 19%||Financial Aid 32%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Harvard University Cambridge, MA||Tuition $43,280||# of Online Programs 103||Acceptance Rate 5%||Graduation Rate 98%||Financial Aid 55%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services No||
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University offers hybrid options for undergraduate and graduate distance learners. You can earn a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in an accelerated format with concentrations in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, that requires 128 credits for graduation. All online distance learners at Harvard must meet the required amount of time for on campus courses and commitments. The bachelor's degree requires that you complete 16 credits, or roughly four courses, in person at Harvard. Master's degrees in popular fields such as finance, management, and history, as well as uncommon online majors such as museum studies, anthropology, and dramatic arts, can also be earned in hybrid formats. Harvard's distance learners can also prepare for medical or dental school in its post-baccalaureate premedical extension school. Most students in this program complete 20 to 32 credits, especially core prerequisites in the medical field: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Tuition varies per degree and concentration, but all distance learners pay the same tuition rate and fees. Since these programs require you to spend time in Cambridge, be sure to factor travel and cost of living into your expenses.
|2||University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA||Tuition $14,590||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate 60%||Graduation Rate 77%||Financial Aid 65%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst offers various online undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Isenberg School of Management at UMass offers one of the most diverse online education programs at the university. Distance learners can earn a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting, finance, marketing, management, or operations and information management. Undergraduates can also earn master's degrees in sports management, hospitality and tourism management, and business and analytics. The MBA is a popular program at UMass and is available entirely online or in a blended format. Students in a hybrid format can attend their in-person classes at any of the three satellite campuses. Previous colleges courses in which you earned a C- grade or higher may be transferable toward your UMass degree. Internships, vocational, and highly specialized courses generally do not transfer.
|3||Westfield State University Westfield, MA||Tuition $970||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 78%||Graduation Rate 64%||Financial Aid 29%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Graduate and undergraduate degrees are available entirely online at Westfield State University. Traditional bachelor's degrees in areas such as history, sociology, and psychology are offered in various flexible scheduling formats. Courses are self-paced and are usually offered in regular or accelerated schedules available at various times throughout the calendar year. For bachelor's degrees, you can transfer up to 76 credits into Westfield State. Some majors require you to complete the Massachusetts transfer compact to complete the last two years of their bachelor's degree entirely online. While out-of-state tuition is higher than in-state, distance learners can apply for the private Westfield State merit-based scholarship reserved for out-of-state students.
|4||Endicott College Beverly, MA||Tuition $30,612||# of Online Programs 10||Acceptance Rate 79%||Graduation Rate 73%||Financial Aid 89%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Established in 1939, Endicott College is a private institution in Beverly, Massachusetts. Through the Van Loan School at Endicott you can earn certificates and degrees entirely online. For undergraduate students, six bachelor's degrees are available, including a flexible liberal studies degree. In this program, you can choose from concentrations in early childhood education, homeland security studies, Montessori education, and trauma studies. Master of Education programs at Endicott are plentiful with several concentrations available to online students. MEd online majors can specialize in organizational management, applied behavior analysis, athletic administration, autism and applied behavior, and homeland security, among others. For bachelor's students, a maximum of 85 credits from accredited collegiate institutions can be transferred toward your degree. Endicott will review all of your previous college courses and automatically issue a transfer credit evaluation.
|5||Framingham State University Framingham, MA||Tuition $970||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate 65%||Graduation Rate 53%||Financial Aid 55%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
In Framingham State University's 18 fully online and hybrid programs you can earn a bachelor's degree, several master's degrees, or a certificate from any location. Take advantage of Framingham State's Master of Education concentration options, including educational technology, school nutrition, and nutrition education specialist. There are also less traditional areas of study available online, including a Master of Science with a concentration in merchandising. This degree provides specialized education for students interested in the fashion industry, marketing, and retail sales. Most online programs at Framingham State do not require the GRE, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test for admission. Transfer credit from other regionally accredited universities will be considered when you are admitted.
|6||Simmons College Boston, MA||Tuition $37,500||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate 64||Graduation Rate 66%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in Boston, Simmons College offers bachelor's degrees for women and co-educational graduate programs. Their online degree offerings include only master's and doctoral degrees, as well as two certificate programs. As a distance learner at Simmons, you can take advantage of their graduate programs in nursing, including the MSN and DNP degrees. Master's students can also obtain degrees in areas such as behavior analysis, business administration, library sciences, and nutrition and health. Traditional MBAs with concentrations in healthcare, behavior analysis, and public health are also available. For most graduate programs, a maximum of 32 credits completed within the last five years may be transferred toward your Simmons degree.
|7||Lesley University Cambridge, MA||Tuition $25,200||# of Online Programs 26||Acceptance Rate 64%||Graduation Rate 60%||Financial Aid 95%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Lesley University has more than 20 flexible, fully online programs for graduates and undergraduates. Graduate students can choose from master's programs in management or education. In Lesley's online Master of Education programs, you can choose from concentrations in educational technology, elementary education, online education, language and literacy, mathematics, and science. You can also earn degrees in modern and progressive fields like the Bachelor of Science in Design for User Experience, where you learn about graphic design, mobile applications, and product interfaces. Bachelor's degrees in traditional areas like psychology and business management are also available in a fully online format. Distance learners can transfer up 90 credits toward a bachelor's degree or receive course credit via life experience credit, standardized entrance exams, and evaluated non-college sponsored learning. Taking advantage of these credit options will save you time and money as you work toward your degree or certificate.
|8||Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA||Tuition $32,739||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate 60%||Graduation Rate 59%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online. The bachelor's program is reserved for women only, while the master's program is co-educational. From child psychology and criminal justice to business administration and cybersecurity, women can earn online degrees entirely online though Bay Path's American Women's College. Over 15 graduate programs are available online and open to both men and women. Many of these degrees are flexible, 30 to 36-credit programs that you can finish in eight, 12, or 24 months, depending on your enrollment status and availability. For most of these online master's degrees, no GRE is required for admission. Tuition varies per major, but all online students pay the same tuition costs and fees. To be accepted to Bay Path, you must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and an associate degree or a minimum of 60 semester hours from a program recognized by the Bay Path transfer agreement.
|9||Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA||Tuition $970||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate 75%||Graduation Rate 58%||Financial Aid 42%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Fitchburg State University is a public institution established in 1894 with online education options for undergraduates, graduates, and those seeking a non-degree certificate. Focusing on traditional tracks in business administration, Fitchburg State's undergraduate programs offer specializations in accounting, management, and marketing. Interdisciplinary studies programs for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are also available entirely online. Online graduate offerings include master's degrees in education, history, forensic nursing, and MBAs in accounting, human resources management, and management. For online students seeking a bachelor's degree, you may transfer up to 90 credits from accredited four-year schools and 75 credits from regionally accredited two-year schools. Most courses are asynchronous and delivered through the Blackboard system. While some professor may require regular meetings, you can plan on a flexible, self-paced schedule when taking classes at Fitchburg State.
|10||Bentley University Waltham, MA||Tuition $44,210||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate 46%||Graduation Rate 88%||Financial Aid 65%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Bentley University's online bachelor's degree completion program includes various tracks in business administration. The core curriculum gives students a foundation in statistics, economics, accounting, finance, and marketing. In addition to five elective courses of your choosing, your required set business courses include classes such as organizational behavior and leadership, law ethics and social responsibility, and global strategies. Entering students must have completed two years of college courses at an accredited institution. An associate degree is not required for admission. Any combination of prior coursework can comprise the required 60 credits for admission. As this a part-time only program designed for working professionals, distance learners can only take one course at a time. This is a cohort learning program where you will begin and complete course content with your peers as a unified class. Distance learners pay a flat tuition cost per course regardless of their location.
|11||Lasell College Newton, MA||Tuition $32,300||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate 76%||Graduation Rate 57%||Financial Aid 95%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|12||Merrimack College North Andover, MA||Tuition $36,625||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate 82%||Graduation Rate 68%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|13||Assumption College Worcester, MA||Tuition $35,510||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 78%||Graduation Rate 71%||Financial Aid 98%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|14||Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA||Tuition $46,364||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate 48%||Graduation Rate 86%||Financial Aid 99%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|15||Western New England University Springfield, MA||Tuition $32,524||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate 80%||Graduation Rate 61%||Financial Aid 97%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|16||University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA||Tuition $13,932||# of Online Programs 21||Acceptance Rate 61%||Graduation Rate 58%||Financial Aid 59%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|17||University of Massachusetts-Boston Boston, MA||Tuition $13,110||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate 69%||Graduation Rate 47%||Financial Aid 66%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|18||Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston, MA||Tuition $30,600||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 84%||Graduation Rate 64%||Financial Aid 97%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|19||Nichols College Dudley, M||Tuition $33,000||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 84%||Graduation Rate 49%||Financial Aid 96%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|20||Brandeis University Waltham, MA||Tuition $49,586||# of Online Programs 11||Acceptance Rate 33%||Graduation Rate 92%||Financial Aid 57%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|21||Emmanuel College Boston, MA||Tuition $37,280||# of Online Programs 3||Acceptance Rate 71%||Graduation Rate 65%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|22||Boston University Boston, MA||Tuition $49,176||# of Online Programs 21||Acceptance Rate 29%||Graduation Rate 85%||Financial Aid 46%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|23||University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth North Dartmouth, MA||Tuition $12,783||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 76%||Graduation Rate 50%||Financial Aid 68%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|24||Suffolk University Boston, MA||Tuition $35,440||# of Online Programs 14||Acceptance Rate 84%||Graduation Rate 56%||Financial Aid 93%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|25||Anna Maria College Paxton, MA||Tuition $33,840||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate 83%||Graduation Rate 41%||Financial Aid 99%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|26||Berklee College of Music Boston, MA||Tuition $40,220||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate 34%||Graduation Rate 56%||Financial Aid 55%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|27||Fisher College Boston, MA||Tuition $28,645||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate 68%||Graduation Rate 42%||Financial Aid 98%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|28||Hebrew College Newton Centre, MA||Tuition $24,780||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Massachusetts?
Researching online schools and colleges in Massachusetts takes time. Students should explore each prospective program's website and contact the school with questions. You can click the icon below to learn about online universities and colleges in Massachusetts.
How Much More Do College Grads in Massachusetts Make?
Earning a postsecondary degree typically leads to more career opportunities and higher earning potential. Nationwide, graduates of postsecondary programs earn higher average salaries than individuals with a high school diploma. Higher levels of educational attainment generally correlate with higher salaries. In 2016, bachelor's degree-holders in Massachusetts earned a median salary that was double that of professionals with only a high school diploma, according to data from MassBudget.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree|
|Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Massachusetts: Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition rates for Massachusetts learners are higher than the national averages for in-state and out-of-state learners at both public and private schools. In-state students at public colleges pay tuition rates more than $3,000 higher than the national average; out-of-state students pay about $4,000 more than the U.S. average. Average tuition at private universities far exceeds the national average, with students in Massachusetts paying rates more than $13,000 higher than the national average.
|In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
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Cost Considerations for Online Students in Massachusetts
The figures above do not account for room and board or additional costs for online learners. Learners should understand all education-related expenses when budgeting for college. Below are some cost considerations for students attending online schools and colleges in Massachusetts.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Massachusetts
At public schools, in-state learners typically pay discounted tuition rates. To qualify for in-state tuition rates in Massachusetts, students must have lived in the state continuously for at least six months (for learners attending community college) or 12 months (for state schools). Students can prove residency by submitting documents such as tax returns, voter registration, or a Massachusetts high school diploma.
Residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont can apply for the New England Student Regional Program, which offers an average tuition break of $7,900. Students should contact their school to learn about residency requirements for online learners.
Paying for College in Massachusetts: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students attending online schools and colleges in Massachusetts can apply for financial aid to help fund their education. Scholarships and grants are ideal forms of funding, since they do not require repayment. Below is a sampling of the scholarships and grants available to online learners in Massachusetts.
Scholarships for Massachusetts College Students
- Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be permanent residents of Massachusetts and be enrolled in a public college in Massachusetts. Candidates must come from a rural area of the state and must demonstrate financial need.
- Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Tenth-grade and eleventh-grade students who have overcome a major obstacle can apply for this scholarship. Students must demonstrate academic potential and can attend any college in the continental United States.
Amount: Up to 50% of documented financial need
- Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program encourages students to earn degrees that lead to careers in high-demand fields in Massachusetts. Applicants must pursue a degree in a STEM field and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: Up to $5,000
- John and Abigail Adams Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must receive high scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment test in tenth grade and plan to attend a Massachusetts state university or college.
Amount: Up to $1,714
- One Family Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Massachusetts residents who are the head of their household and have children under 18 years old. Applicants must be at risk of homelessness or have experienced homelessness during the previous 12 months. Students must participate in service activities through One Family, Inc.
Grants for Massachusetts College Students
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Massachusetts residents enrolled full time. Candidates must demonstrate financial need and academic progress, and they must have an expected family contribution of less than $5,486.
- MASSGrant Plus
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be residents of Massachusetts enrolled part time or full time at one of the state's community colleges. Students must demonstrate financial need.
- Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program
Who Can Apply: This program supports Massachusetts residents enrolled full time at an eligible institution. Students must not hold a bachelor's or professional degree or diploma from a hospital or nursing program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: $200 to $2,500
- Public Service Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Massachusetts residents who lost a parent or spouse in the line of duty in Massachusetts can apply for this grant, regardless of financial need.
- Cash Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be permanent legal residents of Massachusetts enrolled in at least three undergraduate credits in an eligible program. Candidates must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts
Students attending on-campus or online programs should ensure that they choose a school that meets set standards for academic quality. Accreditation is a voluntary process that demonstrates that an institution or program meets minimum standards. Choosing an accredited school ensures that you will receive a quality education and that employers will recognize your degree. The sections below detail several types of accreditation for online schools and colleges in Massachusetts.
Regional and National Accreditation
Regional accreditation is the oldest and most prestigious type of institutional accreditation in the United States. Typically, students must attend a regionally accredited school to qualify for federal financial aid or to transfer credits to a regionally accredited institution. However, some vocational and for-profit schools earn national accreditation. In Massachusetts, the New England Commission of Higher Education awards regional accreditation to postsecondary institutions.
In addition to institutional accreditation, learners can look for subject-specific accreditation. Independent, field-specific organizations evaluate programs to ensure the programs help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in that industry. For example, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits education programs. Professionals in some fields need a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
To determine the accreditation status of a school or program, you can search the directory from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Prospective students can search the directory by program, school, or accrediting agency. Most schools also include accreditation information on their website.
Online College and Adult Education in Massachusetts
Adult learners in Massachusetts can pursue education programs to gain skills and qualify for more advanced career opportunities. The sections below include data and information related to adult education in Massachusetts.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Massachusetts
Adult Education Programs for Massachusetts Students
- Gardner Pilot Academy Adult Education Program: The Gardner Pilot Academy offers an English for Speakers of Other Languages program. Students gain language skills, including reading, writing, and oral communication. The program offers six levels of classes, from beginner to advanced.
- Training Opportunities Program: This program from the state of Massachusetts allows adult learners to collect unemployment benefits while attending an approved, full-time training program to learn new skills.
- Boston Adult Literacy Initiative: This consortium of adult literacy programs offers adult learners access to services such as distance learning, college preparation, and job skills training. Adult learners can find program locations throughout the Boston metro area.
Online College Resources for Massachusetts Students
Massachusetts learners can access various online resources to help them choose an online program and locate options for financing their degree. Below are some resources for students attending online schools and colleges in Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts Colleges Online: This website allows prospective students to search thousands of online courses and programs from 15 Massachusetts public universities and community colleges.
- UMassOnline: Learners can use this website to search for online programs and courses in the UMass system. Students can also view an online course demonstration prior to enrolling.
- Mass.gov: This resource provides information about all financial aid opportunities available from the state of Massachusetts, including scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, loans, and tuition reimbursement programs.
- New England Regional Student Program: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont can receive discounted tuition rates at Massachusetts institutions. This program helps out-of-state learners save an average of $7,900.
- Massachusetts Department of Higher Education: The department provides information about education-related topics including financial aid, college planning, transfer agreements, and online courses.