Massachusetts has a well-earned place as the country’s “smartest state.” According to data estimates from the Lumina Foundation, in 2014 55.4 percent of Massachusetts residents had attained some higher education; the state ranks first nationally for the number of residents with bachelor’s degrees and professional degrees. This academic achievement is doubtless tied to the numerous colleges and universities in Massachusetts, many of which are world-renowned, such as Harvard University and MIT. Students considering attending college in Massachusetts can use this guide to explore the state’s best colleges, available planning programs and financial aid packages, and more.

Best Massachusetts Colleges: 2017 Rankings

Massachusetts Massachusetts

Narrowing down the list of possible colleges can be a big job, so students can begin with our comprehensive rankings list. These colleges in Massachusetts were evaluated on a variety of factors, including tuition cost, the availability of financial aid, student-to-teacher ratio, and graduation rate, to offer a look at the school’s overall picture.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Bunker Hill Community College
99.20
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,000
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
11% N/A 8 96 Yes Yes
2
Cape Cod Community College
97.40
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,900
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
26%
14% N/A 0 71 Yes Yes
3
Mount Wachusett Community College
97.04
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,500
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
20%
15% N/A 5 48 Yes Yes
4
Middlesex Community College
95.56
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,400
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
16%
13% N/A 5 69 Yes Yes
5
Quinsigamond Community College
95.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,300
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
13%
16% N/A 5 71 Yes Yes
6
North Shore Community College
94.47
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,200
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
14%
17% N/A 0 85 Yes Yes
7
Massasoit Community College
92.87
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,600
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
7%
15% N/A 6 65 Yes Yes
8
Springfield Technical Community College
92.70
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,200
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
20%
21% N/A 0 93 Yes No
9
Bristol Community College
90.24
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,900
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
17% N/A 3 86 Yes Yes
10
Massachusetts Bay Community College
88.54
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,300
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
14% N/A 3 41 Yes Yes
11
Berkshire Community College
87.85
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$28,700
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
10%
25% N/A 1 28 Yes Yes
12
Northern Essex Community College
87.16
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,300
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
18% N/A 4 79 Yes Yes
13
Greenfield Community College
87.07
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
20%
24% N/A 1 27 Yes Yes
14
Quincy College
86.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,400
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
17% N/A 0 33 Yes Yes
15
Roxbury Community College
86.29
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,800
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
12% N/A 1 31 Yes No
16
Holyoke Community College
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,100
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
26%
16% N/A 4 47 Yes No
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Harvard University
99.82
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$87,200
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
56%
97% 6% 31 164 Yes No
2
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
97.90
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$91,600
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
56%
93% 8% 0 70 Yes No
3
Wellesley College
97.61
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$56,700
7:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
60%
92% 30% 0 53 Yes No
4
Simmons College
97.36
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$51,400
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
67% 52% 1 74 Yes Yes
5
Tufts University
97.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$67,800
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
37%
92% 17% 0 135 Yes No
6
Brandeis University
97.08
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$58,800
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
57%
90% 35% 7 91 Yes No
7
Assumption College
96.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$52,800
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
75% 81% 5 46 Yes No
8
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
96.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$77,600
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
84% 44% 7 64 Yes No
9
Williams College
96.43
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$58,100
6:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
49%
96% 19% 0 38 Yes No
10
Amherst College
96.39
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$56,800
8:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
57%
95% 14% 0 37 Yes No
11
Northeastern University
96.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$60,100
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
69%
79% 32% 6 167 Yes No
12
Suffolk University
96.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$49,900
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
77%
56% 84% 3 168 Yes No
13
Bentley University
96.04
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$74,900
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
65%
84% 46% 3 39 Yes Yes
14
Stonehill College
95.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$58,800
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
90%
80% 77% 0 41 Yes No
15
Western New England University
95.93
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$55,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
62% 80% 6 64 No Yes
16
Smith College
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,700
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
62%
85% 42% 0 77 Yes No
17
Merrimack College
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$55,400
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
64% 78% 0 72 Yes Yes
18
Boston University
95.67
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$60,600
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
51%
84% 35% 11 297 Yes No
19
Clark University
95.63
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,100
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
91%
80% 54% 0 59 Yes No
20
College of the Holy Cross
95.58
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$63,700
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
52%
93% 43% 0 23 Yes No
21
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
95.46
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$49,600
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
60%
70% 61% 12 156 Yes Yes
22
Wheaton College
95.46
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$46,400
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
92%
82% 70% 0 44 Yes No
23
Mount Holyoke College
95.38
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,100
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
79%
81% 55% 0 56 Yes No
24
Eastern Nazarene College
95.24
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,400
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
48% 53% 0 46 Yes No
25
Lesley University
95.19
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,700
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
46% 71% 8 77 Yes Yes
26
College of Our Lady of the Elms
95.08
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,700
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
68% 79% 2 39 Yes Yes
27
Boston College
94.92
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$67,000
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
42%
92% 34% 0 116 Yes No
28
Springfield College
94.67
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
66% 71% 0 40 Yes No
29
Anna Maria College
94.54
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,400
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
47% 78% 4 64 No Yes
30
MCPHS University
94.37
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$116,400
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
85%
66% 84% 4 32 Yes No
31
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
94.20
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$48,900
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
59%
54% 62% 20 80 Yes No
32
American International College
94.01
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,400
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
39% 68% 2 58 Yes Yes
33
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
93.78
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,000
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
66%
65% 73% 0 25 Yes Yes
34
Endicott College
93.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,800
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
86%
72% 73% 7 40 Yes Yes
35
Bay Path University
93.72
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,900
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
50% 63% 14 24 Yes Yes
36
Wentworth Institute of Technology
93.59
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$54,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
64% 83% 0 16 Yes No
37
Regis College
93.53
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,300
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
51% 76% 0 39 Yes No
38
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
93.50
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,800
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
68%
50% 77% 8 85 Yes No
39
Curry College
93.18
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,600
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
43% 87% 0 25 Yes Yes
40
Wheelock College
93.17
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,400
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
58% 88% 1 25 Yes Yes
41
University of Massachusetts-Boston
93.11
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,800
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
58%
38% 71% 9 78 Yes Yes
42
Gordon College
92.88
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,600
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
74% 88% 0 44 Yes No
43
Westfield State University
92.72
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,300
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
20%
60% 75% 7 71 Yes Yes
44
The New England Conservatory of Music
92.69
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,500
5:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
83% 29% 0 22 Yes No
45
Emmanuel College
92.53
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,400
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
58% 69% 2 39 Yes No
46
Fitchburg State University
92.49
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,100
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
43%
51% 72% 5 76 Yes Yes
47
Nichols College
92.47
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,100
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
93%
50% 76% 5 26 Yes No
48
Emerson College
92.41
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,800
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
57%
82% 49% 0 32 Yes Yes
49
Worcester State University
92.38
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,700
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
46%
51% 61% 0 49 Yes No
50
Pine Manor College
92.34
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,700
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
30% 68% 0 14 Yes Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in Massachusetts

Students often have specific requirements for the school they attend. The following tool allows them to identify criteria that are most important to them-such as tuition rate or school type-and then search institutions and compare the results side-by-side.

Maximum Tuition
  • $7.5k
  • $15k
  • $22.5k
  • $22.5k+
Advanced Search
Campus-Only Programs
School Type
Maximum Student Population
  • 1k
  • 5k
  • 10k
  • 20k
  • 20k+
Expand Map
Compare key info for up to 4 schools

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

Show:

College Planning, Assistance & Outreach Programs in Massachusetts

College is a big step on the road to a successful career, and most students can use all the help they can get. These programs in Massachusetts are designed to help aspiring students select a college, improve the college experience while they are enrolled, and help them put their degree to use after they graduate.

Go Higher!

This partnership between the state’s Department of Higher Education and its 29 public colleges and universities aims to prepare high school students for college. College students visit local high schools and meet one-on-one with students to explain how to choose a college, settle on a major, land internships, prepare for campus life and more. Through the website, students can learn more about college transfers, dual enrollment, and other programs available.

Complete College America

Massachusetts is part of this nationwide movement to raise college completion rates across all member states. In Massachusetts, the strongest push is in the STEM areas; a recent grant allows eight of the state’s public campuses to design academic innovations to help students reach their educational goals. The program also aims to enhance the quality of degrees and certificates, and to improve educational attainment for populations traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

GEAR UP Massachusetts

This program targets low-income students, providing them with key skills and resources necessary to pursue higher education. Seven areas-Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Springfield, New Bedford, Worcester, and Lowell-are currently served by GEAR UP Massachusetts. In addition to receiving practical support during high school, students in the program are also eligible for scholarships.

Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program

The CDEP allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn credit toward a college degree. The first course is offered free or for a small fee, and subsequent courses are discounted from the full tuition price, easing financial commitments for incoming college freshmen. By taking courses while in high school, students can enjoy a smoother transition to the college experience, which might help ensure that they stay in school. Numerous students take advantage of the program; in 2015, enrollment was over 1,600.

Evaluating the Cost of College in Massachusetts

Cost is a real concern for almost anyone who is considering higher education. These charts focus on the average tuition rates in Massachusetts, as well as the financial aid availability for students in the state. Students can also see how Massachusetts stacks up against the national average in college costs.

Average Massachusetts Tuition & Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of Massachusetts Students Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award for Massachusetts Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in Massachusetts

Tuition prices can often seem staggeringly high, but they rarely represent the bottom line. The net price of college is obtained by subtracting the financial aid received from the sticker price of attendance. The result is the out-of-pocket cost. These six schools in Massachusetts are considered the most affordable, based on net price; we’ve also compared them to the national average.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

Massachusetts College Net Price vs. National Average
MASSACHUSETTS $25,712 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Massachusetts Colleges with Highest Alumni Earnings

In general, a college education is a ticket to a higher salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that those who earned their bachelor’s degree made $459 more per week in 2015, on average, than those who held only a high school diploma. For graduates from Massachusetts colleges, these six schools have the highest paid alumni ten years after entering college.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Massachusetts Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
MASSACHUSETTS $50,578 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Best Colleges in Massachusetts for Lower Student Debt

College graduates want to start their new life with the least amount of debt possible, and some colleges in Massachusetts offer excellent financial aid packages, coupled with lower tuition and discounts, that can help make that a reality. These six schools ranked top in the state for students who incur the lowest amounts of student debt.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

Massachusetts College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
MASSACHUSETTS $24,008 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Massachusetts Cost of Living: College Expenses Beyond Tuition

Massachusetts colleges can offer a quality education, but it comes at a price-and not just for school. In 2015, CNBC named Massachusetts the 8th most expensive state in the nation; the state’s largest city, Boston, posts home prices that are nearly double that of the national median. Here’s a breakdown of the costs of living in Massachusetts’ major metro areas, and how those compare to the state as a whole.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 126% 157% 106% 118% 120% 117% 115%
Boston 146% 195% 106% 154% 110% 131% 132%
Fitchburg-Leominster 112% 110% 96% 116% 148% 113% 107%
Framingham-Natick 138% 193% 112% 106% 110% 124% 122%
Pittsfield-Berkshire County 110% 129% 110% 96% 111% 100% 98%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for Massachusetts Colleges

Though many factors come into play when choosing a college, one of the most important is accreditation. Accreditation is a testament to the quality of a college and its programs. In order to earn accreditation, a college must be thoroughly evaluated by an independent accrediting body and found to meet established standards. Accreditation has other impacts as well. Students who attend unaccredited schools are ineligible for federal financial aid, and may find that their degrees are not recognized by potential employers. Also, most accredited institutions will not accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools.

Massachusetts colleges are accredited by the regional New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition to this institutional accreditation, some individual programs might seek programmatic accreditation. Specialty schools may be accredited by targeted agencies that focus on a particular major or subject. Here are a few examples:

  • Andover Newton Theological School is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting for the Association of Theological Schools.
  • The New England School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association, through a council that is part of its Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Popular College Cities in Massachusetts

Boston

Education has been an underlying priority in Boston since the city's early days. The city was founded in 1630, and the first public elementary school - the Mather School - was established nine years later. Today, the Boston Public Library holds the nation's third-largest collection-more than 14 million volumes-second only to its neighbor Harvard University and the Library of Congress. Beyond education, the city of about 600,000 residents is also a leader in economic sectors such as finance and healthcare.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

BostonBoston University Private not-for-profit $34,603 $60,600
Once affiliated with the United Methodist Church, this private university is more secular today. Two campuses are home to more than 32,500 undergraduate and graduate students who attend 17 different schools and study in some 250 fields. On-campus living is preferred by 75 percent of those students; they can complement their academic studies with participation in 450 active student groups. BU is also a leader in study-abroad programs, sending students to 26 different countries. Of course, the hometown of Boston benefits too, with students clocking over 100,000 community service hours in a given year.
BostonNortheastern University Private not-for-profit $31,503 $60,100
Founded in 1898, Northeastern now offers nine colleges and schools, with several established in cities outside the Boston area, such as Seattle and Toronto. More than 3,000 students opt to participate in study-abroad programs. Statistics from 2015 demonstrate Northeastern's "Excellence by Intention" motto; the university attracts exceptional talent, with 70 percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top 10 percent
BostonBunker Hill Community College Public $7,483 $33,000
Cambridge

The charming city of Cambridge is made up of "squares," or neighborhoods, each with its own eclectic feel. Arguably, the most famous of these is Harvard Square, home to the storied Harvard University. Today the city is home to over 100,000 residents, many of them college students taking advantage of the wide variety of educational options offered by places such as MIT and Radcliffe.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

CambridgeHarvard University Private not-for-profit $14,049 $87,200
Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and one of the preeminent universities in the world. Looking at the numbers, the school has produced 47 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners, and boasts an academic library of more than 20 million volumes-the largest in the world. Today the school enrolls about 21,000 students each year, about two-thirds of whom are in graduate studies, including at the university's famous law school. Although tuition costs are high, more than 65 percent of Harvard students receive scholarships.
CambridgeMassachusetts Institute of Technology Private not-for-profit $21,816 $91,600
Founded in 1861, MIT currently occupies more than 168 acres in Cambridge. Known for providing a top-notch technology education, MIT offers 46 majors to just over 11,000 students, representing an intensively competitive acceptance rate of only 8 percent. Financial aid for enrolled students tends to be generous, with 33 percent of the student population attending tuition-free.
CambridgeLesley University Private not-for-profit $32,534 $36,700
This private institution enrolled abo

Source: College Scorecard

Massachusetts College Resources

To learn more about Massachusetts colleges, the following resources offer information on a variety of issues, from enrollment statistics to financial aid assistance.

Massachusetts Data Center

A service of the state’s Department of Higher Education, the data center offers numbers on enrollment, attainment goals, and more.

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

This is the central location for all things concerning higher education in the state of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority

Students or parents who are interested in college savings plans and other financial incentives can start here.

MassTransfer

This program offers assistance and incentives for transfer students in the state, including tuition discounts for those who make excellent grades during their first two years in community college.

Office of Student Financial Assistance

This division of the Department of Higher Education helps students identify their financial aid issues, and locate resources such as award packages and scholarships.

The Vision Project

The ultimate goal of this long-term, far-reaching project is to promote better educational attainment and economic development in the state. The website provides reports on the state of higher education in Massachusetts.