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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Massachusetts. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

All of the programs on our list are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a voluntary, non-governmental association that promotes academic excellence in the New England region. It is composed of both public members and faculty from affiliated institutions, and it is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditations are often needed for students looking to earn professional credentials after graduation.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Massachusetts

Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts Badge

Boston University

Babson College

American International College

Bay Path University

Bentley University

Fitchburg State University

Cambridge College

Elms College

Lasell University

UMass Amherst

Fisher College

Merrimack College

Nichols College

Mount Holyoke College

UMass Lowell

Simmons University

Regis College

UMass Boston

Suffolk University

Harvard University

UMass Dartmouth

Westfield State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lesley University

Bridgewater State University

Northeastern University

Framingham State University

Worcester State University

Assumption University

Salem State University

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Brandeis University

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Western New England University

Emmanuel College

Endicott College

Anna Maria College

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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Massachusetts

Does Massachusetts have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. At the bachelor’s degree level, Massachusetts offers several online degree programs that rank in the top 50 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report: University of Massachusetts Amherst ranks No. 16, University of Massachusetts Lowell ranks No. 30, and University of Massachusetts Boston ranks No. 35. At the graduate degree level, Boston University offers some of the best online master’s programs for business, criminal justice, and information technology. At the community college level, Massachusetts has extensive online options through the Mass Colleges Online consortium.

It’s also worth mentioning that we included multiple Massachusetts schools in our guide to the best accredited online colleges in the entire United States. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the country for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Massachusetts cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Massachusetts charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition. At the community college level, however, out-of-state students tend to pay more than in-state students.

Why should you choose Massachusetts for online higher education?

Massachusetts’s online degree programs are highly ranked at all levels — bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, associate degree, and certificate programs. Moreover, relative to other states, Massachusetts’s offerings are relatively affordable. So, if you’re looking for a combination of quality and affordability, Massachusetts offers numerous strong options.

The Cost of Online College in Massachusetts

How much does an online degree in Massachusetts cost?

The cost of an online degree in Massachusetts depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate programs are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts below:

Most affordable online college in Massachusetts: Fitchburg State University, $150 per credit

Most expensive online college in Massachusetts: Simmons University, $500 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Massachusetts to get in-state tuition rates?

Massachusetts requires you to have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to declaring residency. To qualify for in-state tuition, you must prove that you came to the state for a reason other than education. This requires, for instance, not enrolling in college during your residency period, working full-time (or close to full-time) in the state, paying state income taxes, and so on.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the New England Board of Higher Education’s Tuition Break program, which enables students from New England states to enroll at out-of-state New England public colleges and universities at a discount. Costs vary depending on the institution you want to attend. This tuition discount can end up saving you thousands, even tens of thousands, on your degree.

The state also sponsors the MASSGrant and MASSGrant Plus programs, which award need-based funding to undergraduates and community college students attending approved colleges and universities in the state. Eligibility for the grant is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Massachusetts

In addition to the Tuition Break program and MASSGrants, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program

Massachusetts’s Department of Higher Education sponsors this grant program, which awards funds to eligible colleges and universities in the state, who then distribute that funding to students in the form of need-based aid. Awards to students range from $200 to $2,500 per academic year.

Who’s eligible? Massachusetts residents who attend an eligible institution in the state and demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 617-391-6070

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Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program

Created by the Massachusetts Legislature, this scholarship program aims to support an educated workforce by providing funding to students pursuing degrees in high-demand fields. Currently, that includes all STEM and/or health profession majors at public universities in Massachusetts. Awards vary by school and program, but may be up to $6,500 per year.

Who’s eligible? Massachusetts residents enrolled at a public college or university in the state who are pursuing a STEM or health profession degree and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Contact information: [email protected] | 617-391-6070

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The Roothbert Fund Scholarships

This fund provides scholarships to students whose daily actions are guided by spiritual motives and values. Preference is given to graduate students and undergraduates with at least one year of college completed. Grants are typically $5,000 to $7,000 and may be renewed for subsequent years.

Who’s eligible? Students who demonstrate financial need and are guided by spiritual values.

Contact information: [email protected] | 212-870-3116

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Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund

This is a scholarship for permanent residents of New England states who demonstrate financial need and display academic achievement, a commitment to serving others, a strong work ethic, and leadership qualities. Awards tend to range from $3,000 to $17,000.

Who’s eligible? New England residents enrolled in an eligible program at an eligible postsecondary institution who meet certain financial need criteria, have a GPA of at least 3.0, and demonstrate qualities of community service, changemaking, and leadership.

Contact information: [email protected] | 978-744-2111

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Massachusetts

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Massachusetts can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Massachusetts:


Statisticians gather data via surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls, then analyze that data using mathematical tools and programs. Their findings are used to help decision-makers choose the best course of action given their company’s goals and resources. In Massachusetts, statisticians earn an average annual salary of $110,080.

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Market research analysts and marketing specialists use data to understand consumer preferences and tailor a company’s marketing campaigns to what will bring the greatest return on investment. In Massachusetts, market research analysts and marketing specialists make an average salary of $84,240.

Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Massachusetts, software developers earn an average salary of $133,750, and software testers make $112,870.

Financial Managers

Financial managers tend to the financial health of an organization. Home to the financial and commercial hub of Boston, the state of Massachusetts expects to see a significant increase in demand for financial professionals over the coming decade. Financial managers earn an average annual salary of $177,990 in the state.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Massachusetts, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and substance use disorder epidemic. There is a growing need to provide more professional support around addiction, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Massachusetts, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $59,780 per year.

  • Growth: 21.8%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Bachelor’s in Psychology, Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Master’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling

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