Yes. At the bachelor’s degree level, Massachusetts offers several online degree programs that rank in the top 75 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report: for online bachelor’s degree programs, University of Massachusetts Amherst ranks No. 19, University of Massachusetts Lowell ranks No. 35, University of Massachusetts Boston ranks No. 39, and Cambridge College ranks No. 68. At the graduate degree level, Babson College stands out for its online business degrees, Boston University ranks in the top 10 nationally in a variety of disciplines, and the University of Massachusetts system has earned top five rankings in a host of graduate degree areas. At the community college level, Massachusetts offers extensive online options through the unique Mass Colleges Online consortium.
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.
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 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:
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.
Massachusetts offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the New England Regional Student Program (RSP), 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.
In addition to New England RSP tuition reciprocity agreements 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:
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
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
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
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, maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and demonstrate qualities of community service, changemaking, and leadership.
Contact information: [email protected] | 978-744-2111
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 2018–2028, 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 $116,740.
As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $128,190 per year in Massachusetts.
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 $79,490 per year.
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 $161,230 in the state.
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 $55,160 per year.
For this list, we reviewed online programs available at research universities, midsize institutions, and liberal arts colleges. While each of these schools offers an online learning format, some give students the option of hybrid coursework. Other factors we considered include tuition costs and the credits required to graduate.
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.