Massachusetts boasts 124 postsecondary institutions, 14 of which are public, four-year colleges, and 82 are nonprofit institutions. Schools in the state include the multi-campus University of Massachusetts and prestigious private schools such as Harvard University and Smith College. The state is also home to 18 two-year institutions.
The following guide includes higher education opportunities across the state. Massachusetts' online colleges and universities are evolving quickly and promote distance learning through fully online and hybrid programs. Below, we list the best online colleges in Massachusetts and explore the most affordable programs. We also provide an overview of job prospects and identify the fastest-growing employment areas in the state.
Before we look at the top Massachusetts online colleges and universities, let's discuss the current state of higher education and online education in Massachusetts.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Massachusetts
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 505,723 students were enrolled in Massachusetts’ online colleges and universities and on-campus institutions in 2016. As with most states, Massachusetts has seen a gentle decline in enrollment since 2013, which saw 513,964 enrollees. The decline is likely due in no small part to rising tuition rates.
- 14 public
- 82 non-profit
- 11 for-profit
CollegeBoard’s Trends in Higher Education report states that for the 2004-2005 academic year, tuition for a two-year, in-state program costed $3,361. For the 2017-2018 academic year, tuition costs in Massachusetts nearly doubled to $6,076. Likewise, the four-year, in-state tuition that cost an average of $7,034 in 2004-2005 now averages $12,732. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the state’s flagship public research university, currently costs state residents $15,596 per year in tuition and fees, and out-of-state students pay $33,662; both rates have increased nearly 60% since the 2007-2008 academic year, according to Trends in Higher Education.
To mitigate the rising costs of college education, the state of Massachusetts sponsors various grant and scholarship programs for state residents. According to the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, Massachusetts students received nearly 100,000 grants during the 2015-2016 academic year, including 31,538 Massachusetts Access Grants; 51,553 MASSGrants; and more than 8,000 Gilbert Matching Grants. The state invests in opportunities for students who grew up in foster care, including 271 recipients of foster child grants and 885 recipients of the Foster and Adopted Child Assistance Program. Additionally, various companies and state programs entice promising college students to stay in Massachusetts after graduation.
The State of Online Higher Education in Massachusetts
The Online Learning Survey of Massachusetts states that 17.1% of current in-state students take at least one online course. While this figure is lower than the 30% of U.S. students who participate in online learning, the number of students who take online college courses in Massachusetts increased 23% during the past year. Students increasingly seek flexible course structures that allow them to manage academics, career goals, and personal obligations. Additionally, distance learners can live off campus and save money on housing.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
The New England Board of Higher Education works to bring higher educational opportunities to residents of the Northeast. The cost-sharing Tuition Break program unites public schools across the region to reduce program redundancies and provide education at a discounted rate. Currently, the program saves families an average of $7,900 annually.
To qualify for the Tuition Break program, students must be permanent residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont and must apply to a qualifying public school in one of those six states. Upon acceptance, the participating school informs the student whether they have received the Tuition Break as part of their financial package. Through the program, out-of-state students can attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for $26,540 per term, saving more than $7,000 in tuition and fees. Students whose applications are unsuccessful may reapply as current undergraduates. The Tuition Break provides a pathway for underrepresented and financially disadvantaged students to pursue higher education.
Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts
Below, we have ranked the best online four-year programs in Massachusetts. The profiles cover each school’s approach to online education and available services for distance students. After reviewing the best online colleges in Massachusetts, explore our state resources, which include a database of every college and university in Massachusetts and an index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Northeastern University - Global Network||Boston||$$$$$||360 Huntington Ave|
Boston, MA 02115
Based in Boston, Northeastern enrolls about 25,000 students each year. The university's global network delivers online degrees and certificates through Blackboard. Distance learners pay low tuition prices based on their program type and degree level. Students gain access to financial support, including city scholarships and Torch Scholars awards for learners with exceptional needs. As one of the best online colleges in Massachusetts, Northeastern guarantees that no student's scholarship package will decrease during their undergraduate program. Furthermore, should tuition increase, the school promises that each student's grants will increase at the same percentage rate.
Northeastern offers 10 online bachelor's programs in fields that include health management, information technology, liberal studies, political science, and professional communication. Online students can also pursue a bachelor of science in finance and accounting management. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, this 120-credit program focuses on globalization's effects on financial transactions and regulations. Participants take classes such as taxation principles, risk management, and investments. The program culminates in a business strategy capstone, during which students work virtually with a sponsoring organization through the university's experiential network.
Northeastern also offers 38 master's and two doctoral programs online. Education students can pursue degrees in special education, learning analytics, and eLearning and instructional design. Graduate programs also include offerings in business administration, engineering management, and applied nutrition. Totaling 43-46 credits, the school's online master of science in urban informatics offers multidisciplinary training that prepares students for careers in data science and city planning. Full-time students can earn their master's in as few as 12 months.
At the doctoral level, distance learners can study education or transitional physical therapy. Students in the education program can concentrate in higher education administration; organizational leadership studies; or curriculum, teaching, learning, and leadership. The physical therapy program helps practicing physical therapists advance professionally through classes in diagnostic imaging, clinical nutrition, and evidence-based examination.
|2||University of Massachusetts - Lowell||Lowell||$$$$$||1 University Ave|
Lowell, MA 01854-5104
UMass Lowell was established in 1972 by a merger between Lowell State College and Lowell Technological Institute. Today, the university enrolls more than 18,000 students in 200 programs, including several online degree tracks. All distance learners pay the same affordable tuition rates, regardless of their residency status. The school also provides merit-based scholarships for nontraditional students, veterans, and education majors.
UMass Lowell offers 10 online undergraduate programs, including associate degrees in management or information technology. The school's two-year IT program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and requires 65 credits in classes such as management calculus, marketing principles, and business communication. Graduates can apply all associate-level credits toward completion of the university's online IT bachelor's degree.
Other four-year programs available at UMass Lowell include business administration, criminal justice, English, and psychology. The university also offers an online bachelor of liberal arts that is ideal for students returning to school. The curriculum requires 120-122 credits and offers concentration options in art history, economics, gender studies, philosophy, and political science.
Online education students can pursue master's and education specialist programs in areas including education administration; reading and language; and administration, planning, and policy. UMass Lowell students can also earn a master of education in curriculum and instruction. This 30-credit program requires core classes in areas such as educating diverse populations and dynamics of curricular change. Students can choose a generalist track or specialize in autism studies or science education.
Additional graduate offerings include programs in accounting, business administration, finance, and health informatics and management. Unlike many other Massachusetts online colleges and universities, UMass Lowell offers a master's in security studies program that emphasizes large-scale policy perspectives. In addition to core topics, the 30-credit curriculum includes advanced classes in a concentration area. Concentration options include cybersecurity, homeland defense, critical infrastructure protection, international security, and industrial and economic security.
|3||University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst||$$$$$||374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive|
Amherst, MA 01003
The flagship campus for the the state's public university system, UMass Amherst enrolls more than 30,000 students annually. The school offers 109 undergraduate, 77 master's, and 48 doctoral programs, many of which students can access remotely through Blackboard. In addition to online degrees, UMass Amherst delivers online certificate, continuing education, professional development, and noncredit programs. Distance learners benefit from individualized academic mentoring and technological support, and many students receive tuition waivers, state grants, and institutional scholarships.
UMass Amherst's emphasizes sustainability, setting it apart from many other Massachusetts online colleges and universities. The school offers an associate of science in sustainable food and farming. Participants take at least 60 credits in classes such as soil science and management, agricultural chemistry, and land use policies. Students in the program also complete a practicum, during which they work with a local organization or business to implement a community project.
After completing this two-year program, students can pursue a bachelor of arts in sustainability studies at UMass Amherst. Learners in this fully online program can receive up to 105 credits based on prior coursework and professional experience. Required classes include community nutrition, environmental law, and offshore wind energy development. The university also offers online bachelor's programs in nursing, criminal justice, public administration, and women's and gender studies.
Graduate students at the university can pursue online degrees in security studies, public health, applied linguistics, computer science, engineering management, business administration, and critical and creative thinking. UMass Amherst also offers seven master of education degrees and two post-master's educational specialist tracks.
The Ed.S. in administration, planning, and policy prepares educators for careers as curriculum developers and school advocates. Alternatively, the school's Ed.S. in reading and language features classes like program evaluation, young adult literature, and teaching reading in content areas. Applicants to either Ed.S. program must hold a Class A teaching license. Educators can also earn doctoral degrees remotely.
|4||Endicott College||Beverly||$$$$$||376 Hale Street|
Beverly, MA 01915
Located in Beverly, Endicott opened its doors in 1939 to a class of 20 students. Today, the college enrolls more than 5,300 learners in its on-campus and online programs. Distance learners pay affordable tuition rates based on their degree level, not residency status. Endicott provides career services, online tutoring, and financial aid opportunities, including the Endicott Health Sciences Scholarship for nursing majors and the Tupper Endowed Scholarship for single parents.
Distance learners can choose from two-year programs in business, computer science, criminal justice, and hospitality management. Online students can also pursue an associate of science in integrated studies to prepare for advanced college academics. This 66-credit curriculum includes courses in global issues, quantitative reasoning, literary perspectives, and science and technology.
Endicott delivers bachelor's degrees in business management, liberal studies, and criminal justice. Students can also earn an online bachelor of of science in psychology, which helps them develop the fundamental skills needed to occupy entry-level positions in fields like advertising, counseling, and laboratory research. In addition to required coursework, the 126-credit psychology program includes advanced coursework in a student's chosen concentration. Concentration options include homeland security, integrative health, early childhood education, and trauma studies.
Distance learners can pursue master of education programs in athletic administration, higher education administration, integrative learning, and international education. Endicott distinguishes itself from other Massachusetts online colleges and universities through its combined special education and applied behavior analysis program. Students in this program choose from tracks in moderate or severe disabilities. The 51-credit curriculum includes classes in inclusive education, assistive and augmentative technologies, and psychoeducational assessment. Graduates can go on to obtain a professional certificate from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.
Endicott also offers four doctoral programs online, including a Ph.D. in nursing for healthcare leaders and researchers. This program consists of 45 credits, covering courses such as clinical research design and knowledge development in nursing science. Candidates also write and defend a dissertation. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, have completed basic registered nursing preparation, and submit samples of published scholarly work.
|5||Westfield State University||Westfield||$$$$$||577 Western Ave|
Westfield, MA 01086-1630
Established in 1838, Westfield currently enrolls more than 5,500 students. The university delivers distance education programs through the PLATO platform, including fully online and hybrid programming. Distance learners can apply for financial assistance, which includes merit scholarships for first-year and transfer students. Westfield also provides free online tutoring services and discounts on computers and software.
Undergraduate students can pursue bachelor's degree completion programs in business, criminal justice, liberal studies, psychology, history, sociology, and nursing. Students in these programs should be able to transfer in 60-76 previously earned credits. Westfield offers 16-week classes during the fall and spring semesters, six-week courses during summer sessions, and two-week classes during the winter session. Full-time students who take full advantage of the the school's generous transfer policy can earn their bachelor's in one year.
While students can transfer credits from any accredited school in the U.S., Westfield maintains a direct transfer pathway through the MassTransfer Agreement. Students can begin their postsecondary education by enrolling in a Massachusetts community college online associate program. After earning an associate degree, students with a GPA of 3.0 GPA or higher can automatically transfer to Westfield to complete their undergraduate education. Westfield freezes all tuition and fees for students taking advantage of the MassTransfer Agreement until graduation. Participants also receive a 10% rebate on expenses.
Westfield offers two graduate programs through a hybrid format. The school's 30-credit master of science in accounting prepares students to sit for the public accountant certification exam. Students with an undergraduate accounting degree can earn an MSA in one year. Alternatively, the master of social work requires 37 credits and prepares students to become licensed clinical social workers. Applicants to either program need a bachelor's degree in a related field -- earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA -- and some prerequisite coursework. Applicants must submit a resume or CV and three recommendation letters.
|6||Fitchburg State University||Fitchburg||$$$$$||160 Pearl St|
Fitchburg, MA 01420-2697
Fitchburg State was founded in 1895 as a school for women. Today, the university operates as a coeducational institution, enrolling nearly 7,000 students and offering degrees in 25 fields of study. Fitchburg State delivers online programs using Blackboard, and distance learners pay affordable tuition rates based on their degree level and course type. About 90% of the 2017 first-year class received financial aid, including merit- and need-based scholarships. Undergraduate students also benefit from a generous transfer policy. The university accepts up to 75 credits from regionally accredited two-year schools and up to 90 credits from four-year institutions.
Students can earn a BS or BA in interdisciplinary studies. Learners in either 120-credit program can personalize their study plan with the help of an academic adviser. The university also provides a bachelor of business administration with concentration options in accounting, management, and marketing. Students in the BBA program take core classes in business law, financial reporting, and computer information systems.
One of the best online colleges in Massachusetts, Fitchburg State offers an online RN-to-BSN program for active nurses who hold a diploma or associate degree. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, this 32-credit degree completion program includes classes in social justice and advocacy, health and physical assessment, and evidence-based nursing practice. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and an unencumbered RN license.
Fitchburg State offers online master's programs in several areas, including forensic nursing, history, and education. Additionally, business students can concentrate in accounting, human resource management, or general management. The school's MBA programs comprise 18 credits of required coursework, nine concentration-related credits, and three elective credits. Applicants need a minimum 2.8 GPA and relevant work experience. The university does not require applicants to submit GMAT scores. All of Fitchburg State's business programs hold specialized accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
|7||Framingham State University||Framingham||$$$$$||100 State Street|
Framingham, MA 01701-9101
Established in 1839 as a normal school, FSU is now a comprehensive public university that offers more than 100 academic programs. The university delivers online degrees and certificates through Blackboard, as well as remote professional development opportunities for educators and paralegals. Similar to other Massachusetts online colleges and universities, FSU charges low tuition rates based on program level. Students can access financial aid, including the Diversity Scholarship for minority students and the Nancy Murphy Hatch Scholarship for education majors.
FSU offers an online bachelor of arts in liberal studies. Students in this 120-credit program can design a unique curriculum with the help of an adviser. Participants complete two required research classes, and the rest of the degree plan consists of electives chosen from the general studies and individualized studies concentrations. Distance learners can earn up to eight transfer credits through prior learning assessments.
The university also offers five fully online graduate programs, including a master of science with a concentration in marketing. Totaling 33 credits, this program helps retail managers, fashion merchandisers, and project managers advance in their careers. Students take classes in digital retailing, global markets, and product development and analysis. The program culminates in a capstone requirement, which learners can fulfil by researching and defending a thesis or by completing a practicum. FSU also offers master of education programs in nutrition education, school nutrition specialist, educational technology, and instructional technology.
The university hosts hybrid master's programs in STEM education, nursing leadership, nursing education, and business administration. The school's MBA degree offers a concentration in management and combines asynchronous coursework with on-campus classes and intensive experiences. The curriculum includes 48-52 credits, and students learn to apply legal, ethical, and technological considerations to global business initiatives and project planning. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores, two recommendation letters, and a resume or CV. Applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher can apply to waive the standardized test requirements.
|8||Assumption College||Worcester||$$$$$||500 Salisbury St|
Worcester, MA 01609
Based in Worcester, Assumption enrolls more than 2,100 students each year. Distance learners access fully online and hybrid programs through Blackboard. Assumption offers low tuition rates, financial aid opportunities, and tuition discounts, making it one of the best online colleges in Massachusetts for students seeking an affordable education. Learners can receive state grants, low-interest loans, and awards such as the Continuing Education Scholarship. Students enrolled in degree and certificate programs who take at least one class during the fall, spring, and first summer terms receive a 25% tuition reduction during the second summer term. Assumption also boasts a generous transfer policy, allowing community college graduates to apply up to 75 previously earned credits toward a bachelor's degree.
Online students can pursue two- and four-year programs in social sciences and the humanities. Assumption also offers an associate of science in business administration. This 69-credit program covers core topics in areas including natural science and foreign language, along with foundational business skills. Students take classes in quantitative methods, corporate finance, and organizational behavior.
Assumption also delivers a fully online bachelor of business administration program. This 120-credit curriculum offers concentrations in digital marketing, human resource management, and project management. Participants can also craft a unique concentration with the help of a faculty adviser. BBA students complete their training with a self-directed multidisciplinary capstone course.
Learners who plan to pursue entry-level positions as community health advocates and addiction counselors can earn a bachelor of arts in human services and rehabilitation studies. This 120-credit program includes courses in medical aspects of disability, client assessment, and case management principles. Students take advanced classes in one of three professional perspectives and can pursue a concentration in alcohol and substance abuse counseling. The program includes internship and capstone requirements. Applicants to any online program should hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and must participate in interviews.
|9||University of Massachusetts - Boston||Boston||$$$$$||100 Morrissey Boulevard|
Boston, MA 02125-3393
The third-largest school in the University of Massachusetts System, UMass Boston enrolls approximately 17,000 students and offers academic programs at every degree level. The university delivers online programs using Blackboard, and distance learners can pursue degrees, certificates, and professional development opportunities. UMass Boston charges low tuition rates based on degree type, not residency status. Distance learners can qualify for financial aid, including the Chancellor's Scholarship for first-year students and the Osher Reentry Scholarship for returning learners. Graduate candidates can apply for state grants and departmental assistantships.
UMass Boston offers online bachelor's programs in global affairs and nursing. The global affairs track prepares students for advanced studies in the field and for entry-level careers in regional economics, NGO leadership, consultancy, and governance. This 120-credit program includes core classes in international relations, foreign policy analysis, and human security. Participants also complete an internship with a local organization.
The RN-to-BSN program uses a cohort-based format, and students earn their degrees in five semesters. Coursework includes classes in pharmacology, legal and ethical health policy, and lifespan growth and development. The nursing program features asynchronous classes and optional synchronized sessions where students can communicate with peers and professors in real time.
At the graduate level, distance learners can choose from several master's degrees, including applied linguistics, family therapy, history, critical and creative thinking, and instructional design. UMass Boston distinguishes itself from other Massachusetts online colleges and universities by offering a master of education in vision studies with concentrations in orientation and mobility, teacher of students with visual impairment, and vision rehabilitation therapy.
Students pursuing the vision rehabilitation concentration complete 37 credits, learning to help visually impaired people lead independent lives by taking advantage of technology and compensatory skills. Coursework covers topics including braille communications and perspectives in cross-cultural counseling. Students also complete a four-credit practicum. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, standardized test scores, and a two-part personal essay.
|10||University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth||North Dartmouth||$$$$$||285 Old Westport Rd|
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
Established in 1991 through a merger of two Massachusetts universities, UMass Dartmouth enrolls more than 8,600 students annually in on-campus and distance learning programs. The school delivers online and continuing education programs using the Blackboard learning management system. Distance learners pay affordable tuition rates based on degree level and program type. Students can access various forms of financial assistance, including the Ryan David Reaves Memorial Scholarship for online undergraduate students. UMass Dartmouth hosts a career development center, digital library, and free online tutoring services.
The university offers 15 fully online bachelor's programs in fields including accounting, healthcare services administration, marketing, operations management, public administration, and women's and gender studies. UMass Dartmouth also provides an RN-to-BSN program for professionals who hold a valid nursing license. Students in the RN-to-BSN program take 31 credits in classes such as holistic health assessment, healthcare informatics, and nursing care of persons with chronic illnesses.
Unlike many Massachusetts online colleges and universities, UMass Dartmouth offers a hybrid, accelerated BSN program for professionals who want to enter the nursing field. The curriculum has seven prerequisite classes and features 59 major-related credits; full-time students typically complete the program in 17 months. Graduates qualify to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
UMass Dartmouth offers five online master's programs in areas including nursing, business administration, and computer science. Distance learners can also pursue a master of science in healthcare management. This 30-credit program trains students to improve the quality of patient care while reducing operational costs and implementation errors. Coursework covers topics including organizational change and accounting for decision making.
Online students can pursue a master of public policy to prepare for leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, labor associations, and government agencies. In addition to core classes, the 30-credit curriculum includes concentration courses in education policy, environmental policy, and public management. Applicants to any graduate program must submit standardized test scores, a resume, two recommendation letters, and a 300-word statement of purpose.
|11||Fisher College||Boston||$$$$$||118 Beacon Street|
Boston, MA 02116
Fisher was founded in Boston as a business school in 1903. Today, the college enrolls more than 2,500 students and offers comprehensive academic programming. Distance learners can earn online certificates and degrees through Blackboard. Online programs use eight- and 12-week asynchronous classes. As a private and independent institution, Fisher charges students the same tuition rates, regardless of residency status. In addition to low-interest federal loans and Massachusetts grants, online students can apply for military tuition and police and public service scholarships.
Undergraduate students can pursue one associate and two bachelor's programs online. The school's associate of science in health information technology prepares students for entry-level careers working at hospitals, community health centers, insurance companies, and medical research organizations. This 71-credit program includes classes in medical terminology, coding and classification systems, and healthcare reimbursement methodologies. Students also complete two supervised practica. Graduates qualify to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician certification offered by the American Health Information Management Association.
Fisher also offers an online bachelor's degree in management with a concentration in health information management. This four-year program prepares students to work for healthcare providers as administrators, patient advocates, and insurance coordinators. Totaling 120 credits, the curriculum includes major coursework in managerial communications, healthcare statistics, and quality management. The program also requires an internship.
Like other Massachusetts online colleges and universities, Fisher offers an online RN-to-BSN program that students can complete in 20 months. Learners take courses in population health in the community and nursing research for evidence-based practice. Applicants must hold an unencumbered Massachusetts RN license and have completed 36 prerequisite credits with a "C" or better.
Graduate students can pursue an online master of arts in psychology with a mental health track. Participants can earn this degree in as few as five terms. The 30-credit curriculum includes classes in psychopharmacology, advanced human development, and crisis intervention and disaster mental health. Graduates go on to pursue roles in government agencies and doctoral degrees.
|12||Lesley University||Cambridge||$$$$$||29 Everett St|
Cambridge, MA 02138
Lesley was established in 1909 as a normal school to train kindergarten teachers. Today, the university enrolls 7,500 students annually and offers more than 100 degrees. Lesley operates three Cambridge-area campuses in Cambridge Common, Harvard Square, and Porter Square. The university also delivers online programs in seven fields of study, in addition to individual courses for teachers. Distance learners pay per-credit tuition rates based on their degree level. The university provides financial aid opportunities, including merit scholarships for first-year and transfer students. Learners can take advantage of the Urban Scholars Initiative, through which the school partners with community organizations to offer a 50% tuition discount.
Lesley hosts six online bachelor's programs in areas including psychology, business management, human services, interdisciplinary studies, and liberal studies. Distance learners can also pursue a bachelor of science in art and design. This 120-credit program trains students about the fundamentals of user experience design, enabling learners to create intuitive software applications across diverse product ecosystems. Coursework covers topics like interface elements, digital culture, and sketching for interactive design. The program includes 36 elective credits, which students can use to complete a minor or pursue a second major.
Graduate students may enroll in the school's fully online master of science in management program. By taking accelerated, eight-week courses, students can complete the 33-credit degree in as few as 12 months. In addition to required courses, learners take advanced specialization classes in general management, nonprofit management, or human resource management. Graduates often pursue leadership roles, becoming chief advocacy officers, corporate trainers, and project managers.
Distance learners can earn online master of education degrees, focusing on mathematics education, science in education, language and literacy, or elementary education specialist. Additionally, Lesley sets itself apart from many other Massachusetts online colleges and universities by allowing education students to work with an adviser to create a customized master's program. Each 33-credit, individually designed degree culminates in an action research study project.
|13||Salem State University||Salem||$$$$$||352 Lafayette St|
Salem, MA 01970
Founded in 1854 as a normal school, Salem State became a teachers' college 80 years later. Today, Salem State is a comprehensive public university that enrolls more than 9,300 students annually. The university delivers fully online programs through Canvas. Distance learners pay tuition rates based on their residency status, with residents of the New England area paying less. Students can access financial support, including a state grant for part-time students and the Jack Welch Scholarship for business majors.
Like many other Massachusetts online colleges and universities, Salem State offers an RN-to-BSN program for distance learners. Part-time students can finish this degree completion track in less than two years, provided they hold a valid Massachusetts nursing license and prerequisite coursework. The program features classes in nursing research, health assessment across the lifespan, and microbiology and its applications. The university also offers a hybrid bachelor of liberal arts program, where students take core classes on campus and complete an interdisciplinary studies concentration online.
Nursing applicants must hold a minimum 3.3 GPA and an SAT score of at least 1,030 or an ACT score of at least 20. First-time undergraduate applicants applying to other programs at Salem State only need to submit test scores if their GPA is below 3.0. Transfer applicants must hold at least 12 previous credits earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Graduate students can enroll in the school's online master of education in library studies program, which awards both a degree and initial library teacher K-12 certification. The curriculum requires 33-36 credits and includes classes in reference materials and research, managing and evaluating school library programs, and technology as catalyst for change in education. Students can also pursue a business certificate, which features 18 credits of courses like quantitative analysis and managerial economics. Students can transfer these credits directly into the university's MBA program.
|14||Anna Maria College||Paxton||$$$$$||50 Sunset Lane|
Paxton, MA 01612-1198
Located in Paxton, Anna Maria is a private liberal arts college that enrolls approximately 1,400 students annually. The school offers 56 programs, many of which students can access remotely through the Engage learning management system. Anna Maria bases its low tuition rates on program type, not residency status. Students can reduce costs through state tuition reimbursement and assistance programs and through scholarships, including three awards for nursing professionals. The college offers six start dates per year, and its accelerated online classes last eight weeks.
Anna Maria's online offerings include three bachelor's programs and one master's program. Undergraduate students can complete the school's RN-to-BSN program in less than two years. Students receive up to 75 credits for their nursing license and prior academic work. The remaining 45 credits consist of classes such as integrative approaches to health, public health nursing, and core concepts of leadership. Students also complete a capstone experience, where they explore a challenge in the nursing field with the help of a faculty adviser. BSN applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Unlike most other Massachusetts online colleges and universities, Anna Maria offers a BS in fire science. This degree completion program includes classes in disaster planning and legal aspects of emergency services. The degree can help experienced professionals qualify for leadership positions, such as fire marshal, prevention educator, and fire service trainer.
Anna Maria also offers an online master of public administration that emphasizes the executive leadership skills needed to work in government and nonprofit organizations. The program typically requires 36 credits, although mid-career professionals can opt for a 30-credit option. In addition to the generalist track, the program offers specializations in criminal justice, emergency management, homeland security, and fire and emergency services. MPA applicants need to hold a minimum 2.7 GPA.
|15||College of Our Lady of the Elms||Chicopee||$$$$$||291 Springfield St|
Chicopee, MA 01013
Based in Chicopee, Elms College was established in 1928 as a girls' preparatory academy. Today, the school is coeducational and enrolls more than 1,200 students. Elms College delivers online degree completion programs through Moodle. Distance learners take accelerated, 10-week classes and can earn an associate degree in 21 months or other credentials in 20 months. All online students pay the same affordable tuition rate. One of the best online colleges in Massachusetts, Elms College admits applicants on a rolling deadline and does not charge application fees.
Elms College offers an online bachelor's degree in healthcare management. The curriculum includes classes covering the global business environment, health ethics, and critical issues in administration of healthcare. Students gain hands-on training through internships with local organizations. Graduates often pursue work at hospitals, nursing homes, managed care facilities, and rehabilitation clinics. Applicants must hold an associate degree in a related field earned with a GPA of 2.25 or higher. Additionally, the department strongly prefers applicants with at least two years of work experience in the health services field.
Elms College also offers online speech language pathology assistant (SLPA) certificate, associate, and bachelor's programs. The SLPA certificate requires 37 credits and is available as a stand-alone degree and as post-associate and post-baccalaureate tracks. Certificate graduates who earn a minimum 3.0 GPA can transition directly into the four-year program, transferring up to 79 credits towards a bachelor's degree. The remainder of the curriculum features coursework in normal language development, phonetics and phonology, and bases of intervention. Students also complete two clinical practica at a local school.
In addition to online learning, students can take advantage of off-campus bachelor's programs in fields including entrepreneurship, psychology, early care and education, and social work. Learners in these programs complete flexible classes at partnering community colleges. Applicants must hold an associate degree.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Massachusetts
Below, are the very best online colleges in Massachusetts sorted by affordability.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||National Graduate School of Quality Management||Falmouth||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Nichols College||Dudley||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||MCPHS University||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Salem State University||Salem||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Westfield State University||Westfield||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Fitchburg State University||Fitchburg||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth||North Dartmouth||School profile||$$$$$|
|8||University of Massachusetts - Boston||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
|9||University of Massachusetts - Lowell||Lowell||School profile||$$$$$|
|10||University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst||School profile||$$$$$|
|11||Northeastern University - Global Network||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
|12||Fisher College||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
|13||Bay Path University||Longmeadow||School profile||$$$$$|
|14||Anna Maria College||Paxton||School profile||$$$$$|
|15||Assumption College||Worcester||School profile||$$$$$|
|16||Endicott College||Beverly||School profile||$$$$$|
|17||Becker College||Worcester||School profile||$$$$$|
|19||Western New England University||Springfield||School profile||$$$$$|
|20||Northeastern University||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
|21||New England College of Business and Finance||Boston||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Massachusetts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state of Massachusetts maintains a strong employment rate. Even at the height of the financial crisis in 2009-2011, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts remained below the national average. Currently, unemployment hovers between 3.5%-3.6%, which compares favorably against the nationwide 2018 average of 3.7%-4.1%. According to the BLS, the annual mean salary for all occupations in Massachusetts is $62,110. As more initiatives take root to keep well-educated Massachusetts residents in the state, employment is likely to rise.
Massachusetts institutions train students in areas including technology and STEM research, linguistics and the humanities, and agricultural and entrepreneurial business.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Massachusetts
Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship
Applicants must be permanent residents of Massachusetts who are enrolled full-time in a public institution to earn a certification, associate, or bachelor's degree. Students from rural areas with strong academic records receive priority.
Massachusetts Public Service Grant
Applicants must be Massachusetts residents who have been accepted to a certification, associate, or bachelor's program in an in-state public or private institution. Applicants must be a widow or child of a police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer or related to a U.S. military prisoner of war or U.S. veteran killed in the line of duty.
Paul Tsongas Scholarship
Students of nine participating state colleges and universities in Massachusetts can qualify for this merit-based scholarship. Applicants must have a minimum 3.75 GPA and an SAT score of at least 1200.
NIADA Foundation Regional Scholarship
The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association offers this scholarship to graduating high school seniors with outstanding academic records.
PMI Mass Bay Chapter Milestone Scholarship
This scholarship supports the professional development of undergraduate students in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Part-Time Grant
Depending on school tuition rates; applicants must be part-time students enrolled in 6-12 credits at an in-state institution and must have a satisfactory academic record.
Massachusetts National Guard Tuition Waiver
Students must be actively engaged in the Massachusetts Army or Air National Guard and must be enrolled full time in an undergraduate or graduate program.
Valley Press Club Scholarship
This award is for high school students interested in pursuing a college degree in print, photo, or broadcast journalism.
Gilbert Matching Student Grant
Applicants must be state residents and high school seniors in good academic standing; must demonstrate financial need; and must have been accepted to an accredited, in-state program.
Massachusetts Cash Grant
Depending on school tuition costs; intended to cover only non-tuition costs, this grant is for state residents enrolled in an in-state postsecondary institution who have a strong academic background.
Find Schools in Massachusetts
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