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Online Colleges in Massachusetts

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. 20 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Boston, International Hotels Group, https://blog.ihg.com/20-fun-facts-didnt-boston
  2. About Springfield, Develop Springfield, https://developspringfield.com/springfield.html
  3. About the UMass System, http://www.massachusetts.edu/about-umass-system/quick-facts
  4. Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Program, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/lindsay.asp
  5. Boston's People and Economy, City of Boston, https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/fy09-volume1-bostons_people_and_economy.pdf
  6. City of Worchester Executive Office of Economic Development, http://www.worcesterma.gov/development
  7. Community Facts, Boston, U.S. Census Bureau, https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  8. Community Facts, Massachusetts, U.S. Census Bureau, https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml\
  9. Community Facts, Worchester, U.S. Census Bureau, https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#
  10. Distance -- Online Learning, Fitchburg State Universty, http://www.fitchburgstate.edu/academics/graduate-online-continuing-education/online-learning/
  11. Distance Education, Bridgewater State University, http://microsites.bridgew.edu/ccs/distance-education
  12. eLearning Programs, Bristol Community College, http://www.bristol.mass.edu/elearning/elearningprograms/
  13. Fast Facts, Massachusetts Community Colleges, http://www.masscc.org/about-mcceo/fast-facts
  14. History and Culture, City of Springfield, https://www.springfield-ma.gov/cos/index.php?id=history
  15. Interesting facts about Massachusetts, http://capuano.house.gov/about/didyouknow.shtml
  16. John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/adams.asp
  17. May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Massachusetts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/OES/current/oes_ma.htm
  18. Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/nointerest.asp
  19. MASSGrant, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/massgrant.asp
  20. MCC Online, Middlesex Community College, https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/Online/degrees.aspx
  21. New England Association of Schools and Colleges, https://www.neasc.org/
  22. Online Degrees, Bunker Hill Community College, http://www.bhcc.mass.edu/onlinedegrees/
  23. Online Degrees, Westfield State University, http://www.westfield.ma.edu/plato/?page_id=17
  24. Online Degrees and Courses, Quinsigamond Community College, http://www.qcc.edu/course-schedule-book/online-courses
  25. Online Offerings, Worchester State University, http://www.worcester.edu/Online-Offerings/
  26. Online Programs, Massasoit Community College, http://www.massasoit.edu/online-learning/online-programs/index
  27. Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/teacherprep.asp
  28. Part-Time Grant Program, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/parttime.asp
  29. Paul Tsongas Scholarship, Accessed December 2016, http://www.mass.edu/osfa/programs/tsongas.asp
  30. QuickFacts, Massachusetts, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/25
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  33. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, https://cihe.neasc.org/
  34. The Institute for College Access and Success, Massachusetts, Accessed December 2016, http://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#overlay=posd/state_data/2015/ma
  35. Welcome to ACCSC, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, http://www.accsc.org/index.aspx
  36. Worchester History, Worchester Historical Museum, http://www.worcesterhistory.org/worcesters-history/
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Massachusetts is one of the original 13 colonies of the United States, well known as the landing place of the Mayflower and its Pilgrims. The state is almost as renowned for being the location of Harvard University, founded in 1636, the first college in the United States. Today's students have many options when it comes to choosing a college in Massachusetts; in addition to housing both grand old universities and newer but still well-respected schools, the state boasts a plethora of innovative online learning opportunities as well.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Massachusetts is home to is home to 15 public, four-year colleges, 17 public two-year schools, 89 private non-profit colleges and universities, and 54 for-profit schools. The University of Massachusetts System oversees five of these colleges, and is considered a leader in online education. UMassOnline, which is the online hub for the University of Massachusetts System, boasts over 140 online program options between its partner schools. Those degrees include:

  • 2 online associate degrees
  • 37 online bachelor's degrees
  • 45 online master's degrees
  • 4 online doctoral degrees
  • 61 online certificates

And, of course, Massachusetts is home to some of the most respected private universities in the country, such as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts, Babson and Brandeis.

Best Online Colleges for Massachusetts

Students considering online degrees shouldn't overlook Massachusetts schools, which is why we've put together this ranking of the best online colleges in Massachusetts. Because there are so many online colleges and schools offering online programming in Massachusetts, we used data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and a custom methodology (details at the bottom of this page) to select the best of the best from this renowned state. If you're in the market for a flexible degree you can complete while taking care of family or career obligations, consider one of the colleges listed here.

1

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,427
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28.71%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50
School Type
4-year

UMass Lowell is a national research university aimed at helping students transition from college into the workforce. Although it's a huge and prestigious school, one you would expect to be expensive, UMass Lowell is consistently praised for a high return-on-investment for its students. Students who choose online learning at this school can benefit from 24/7 technical support, along with academic advisors and program coordinators hired to help students reach their academic goals.

Numerous degree programs are offered either fully or partially-online. UMass Lowell students can earn online associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in topics such as psychology, information technology, and management. This does not mean UMass Lowell has been sitting on its laurels, however: they're constantly innovating and adding new online programs. New programs in the last year include online bachelor's degrees in English, criminal justice, business administration and mathematics, to name a few.

2

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$14,356
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24.11%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24
School Type
4-year

UMass Amherst is another top-notch university that offers high quality online degree programs to students across the country. Known as "the Commonwealth's flagship campus," UMass Amherst prides itself on its high-quality educational offerings, accessibility, and student diversity.

This university offers numerous online degrees through the University of Massachusetts online platform, UMassOnline. Options include online certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees that span a dizzying array of industries and lengths. You can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online at Amherst, but also an associate degree in sustainable food and farming.

Students who choose UMass Amherst can benefit from the flexibility of online learning while pursuing a high-quality degree from a prestigious school. In addition to its impressive selection of online degrees and courses, the school offers academic advising to help students plan futures they can be proud of.

3

Harvard University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$45,278
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
10.39%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
49
School Type
4-year

Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and is frequently considered one of the top universities in the world. The school has produced important research that has impacted lives around the globe, along with 48 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer prize winners.

However, despite its long and classical history, Harvard has remained incredibly flexible and open to changes in technology. This august institute offers a handful of partially-online bachelor's and graduate degree programs that can be completed via hybrid learning, as well as dozens of professional certificate programs that can be completed entirely online, much to the delight of potential students.

Professionals who are already in the workforce could benefit handsomely from a Harvard-earned online professional certificate in a topic such as accounting, software engineering, or data science. While cost and competition for entry can be steep barriers, for many the school's long-standing reputation for quality make it worth the trouble.

4

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,621
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1.08%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
4-year

Massachusetts Maritime Academy offers its students degree programs with a unique focus on maritime industries. Located on Cape Cod, this school is perfectly suited to offer comprehensive academic education to career-oriented students interested in maritime studies.

This maritime academy offers some particularly rare degree programs for its students, including energy systems engineering, maritime engineering, emergency management, and maritime transportation in a partially-online setting. While some courses are offered online, many degrees offered by the school require on-campus or at-sea practical experience.

Students interested in pursuing maritime studies have much to gain from the school's prestigious reputation and its immense focus on the maritime industry. If you love the sea and want to build a career overseeing its many industries, Massachusetts Maritime Academy may offer the flexible learning program you've been looking for.

5

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,475
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8.29%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
4-year

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is a small liberal arts school with an inclusive community and 50 diverse subjects of study. While the school doesn't offer any fully-online degrees, it is possible to complete some courses and classwork in a flexible, web-based setting. Courses at this college are divided into several groups:

  • Test preparation, i.e. "SAT/ACT Prep Series"
  • Professional skills, i.e. "Accounting Fundamentals Series"
  • Personal enrichment, i.e. "Beginning Writer's Workshop"
  • Professional development, i.e. "Medical Terminology"
  • Design & composition, i.e. "Discover Digital Photography"
  • Computer applications, i.e. "Introduction to Microsoft Excel"
  • Writing & publishing, i.e. "Grammar Refresher"
  • Teaching & education, i.e. "Educator's Fundamentals Series"
  • Technology, i.e. "Achieving Top Search Engine Positions"

If the cost of your education is a consideration (a perfectly valid concern,) it's well worth noting that 85 percent of students at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts receive some form of financial assistance.

6

Fitchburg State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,935
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34.68%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
4
School Type
4-year

Fitchburg State University is a comprehensive public school aimed at offering high quality education at an affordable price point. Founded in 1894, the school has more than 30 undergraduate degrees and 22 master's programs, several of which can be completed online. Some of the most interesting options include an online RN-BSN degree, an online MBA program with three different specializations, and an online bachelor's in business administration.

Students who choose Fitchburg can benefit from access to Blackboard, 24/7 technical support, and an online student resource center created to help web-based students succeed. According to the school website, their focus on faculty and mentorships has been key to their success in terms of career placement for students.

7

Westfield State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,815
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30.94%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
4
School Type
4-year

Another school rounding out our list of best online universities in Massachusetts is Westfield State University. Founded in 1839, Westfield has come a long way since its beginnings under its previous name, Normal School at Barre. The school moved to Westfield in 1844, and has since become an educational leader in the area.

Westfield State students can choose from an array of online degree completion programs, including business management, criminal justice, history and psychology. These programs are available to students who have graduated from a Massachusetts community college or completed the Mass transfer compact -- a series of guidelines aimed at transfer students.

Students interested in this school will find a wealth of resources to help them succeed, from a dedicated academic achievement department to academic advising, peer tutoring, and a special disabilities services program. Supplemental Instruction is yet another school-sponsored support program on campus that focuses on peer-led, active learning study groups for students who need help.

8

Bay Path University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$31,785
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.22%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19
School Type
4-year

Since its founding in 1897, Bay Path University has become one of the fastest-growing independent, not-for-profit institutions in the region. While it's a member of the Women's College Coalition, the school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to both women and men.

With a fierce Wildcat as their mascot and "Seize the day" as their motto, you can tell at a glance this school is overflowing with personality. Despite their quick growth, the school is still rather small. It focuses the bulk of its efforts on creating and maintaining high quality degree programs to help its students succeed.

On top of its on-campus programs, Bay Path University offers 20 programs that can be completed entirely online. Options include both associate and bachelor's degrees in topics such as child psychology, criminal justice and health sciences. Online certificate programs are also available in entrepreneurship and food science and safety.

9

Framingham State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,700
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21.79%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
4-year

It's easy to see why Framingham State University made our ranking of best online universities in Massachusetts. The school offers plenty of interesting and high quality degrees that can be completed online, including a bachelor's degree program in liberal studies; a master's degree program in nutrition education with the option of a school nutrition specialization; and several certificates, including mobile applications & web development, Enterprise systems and financial planning.

The school was founded in 1839. Its first class consisted of 25 women, one of whom was Rebecca Pennell Dean, who would go on to become the first female professor in the U.S. Since then, the institute has grown to offer 34 undergraduate and 26 graduate degrees. While it mostly awards bachelor's degrees, the school also has a strong master's presence -- likely due, at least in part, to its online component.

10

Bristol Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,296
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.15%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
9
School Type
2-year

Bristol Community College is a two-year school aimed at helping learners of all ages enter the workforce. They accomplish their goal by offering numerous career-focused degree programs and courses, both at their various campuses and online. This community college engenders an accessible learning environment for online students, supplemented by an eLearning help desk that can take the mystery out of earning an associate degree or certificate via web-based learning.

Fully-online degree programs available at Bristol Community College include communication transfer, general management career and computer information systems. The school's criminal justice program is also available online aside from the capstone course, which can be taken on campus or as a hybrid format. Computer programming and law enforcement certificate programs are also offered at this college.

Affordable Online Colleges in Massachusetts

The lists below highlight some of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Massachusetts.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Alabama

Many colleges and universities in Massachusetts offer a variety of options for distance learners. Students in Massachusetts can also get their educational careers started at two-year or technical schools. The list below highlights five of the most affordable two-year online colleges in Massachusetts, all five of which are members of Massachusetts Colleges Online.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Bunker Hill Community College$3,57618.15%82-year
Roxbury Community College$3,9844.39%N/A2-year
Holyoke Community College$4,16637.87%92-year
Cape Cod Community College$4,21222.53%N/A2-year
Bristol Community College$4,29638.15%92-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Massachusetts

Many students who earn associate degrees go on to complete their requirements for a bachelor's degree. The list below highlights a few of the most affordable four-year online colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Massachusetts Maritime Academy$7,6211.08%N/A4-year
Framingham State University$8,70021.79%N/A4-year
Westfield State University$8,81530.94%44-year
Worcester State University$8,85726.69%N/A4-year
Bridgewater State University$8,90324.54%14-year

College Accreditation in Massachusetts

One of the most important decisions students can make regarding their education is to enroll in a college that's been properly accredited through a nationally recognized accrediting body.

Accreditation means that the school and its education programs have been peer-reviewed and found to conform to pre-determined quality standards, and therefore the degrees students earn from that school are valid because they comply with these standards.

Many online colleges in Massachusetts are accredited through the main regional accrediting body in New England:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

The NEASC has four commissions. The NEASC commission that accredits colleges and universities throughout New England is called:

  • The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)

Certain technical and career schools in Massachusetts are accredited through a different nationally recognized accrediting body:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Students who wish to learn how their prospective college or university is accredited can check on the school's website or through the Department of Education's website.

School Interviews

Lisa Panagopoulos
As technology becomes more affordable and accessible, online instructional resources further develop and the ease and availability of rich media and social media increases, online education will continue to evolve and grow in the coming years.

Lisa Panagopoulos

Assistant Director of Faculty Development for Online Learning

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at the University of Massachusetts Lowell?

UMass Lowell's online program has received multiple international honors for quality, course development and teaching and annually attracts more than 20,000 enrollments in fully online and blended (combining web and classroom instruction) courses, certificate programs and degrees. Our online degrees include bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in a wide range of academic disciplines. Offered through the university's Division of Online and Continuing Education (OCE), the courses use the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). In a typical semester, more than 400 fully online and more than 700 web-enhanced courses are taught by highly skilled faculty members, and all of those courses are ADA and FERPA compliant.

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

Anyone considering an online degree program should not be intimidated. At UMass Lowell, our online degree programs are overseen by the same academic departments as those that are offered on campus. Each of our online courses contains the personality of the instructor as reflected in lecture content and regular interaction with students. UMass Lowell's online students are from all around the country and the world, making for very rich, diverse and highly interactive courses with a significant amount of information-sharing and other interaction that enriches the learning experience. We have structured programs with convenience in mind, especially for working adults with busy schedules and anyone else who would find attending classes in person difficult. UMass Lowell also offers specially designed academic advising, tutoring and other support for our online students. They even have their own honor society. It really is the best of both worlds.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

UMass Lowell was one of the first universities to offer online courses when the program was launched nearly 20 years ago. Over that time, UMass Lowell's online program has continued to be a leader in the field because of its commitment to keeping the program current and we believe that the same approach will be needed in the years to come. That means continuing to ensure that courses and programs keep pace with the needs of students, that instructors are trained and supported in the online environment and that we continue to develop and follow the latest in best practices for online teaching and learning. Although online learning has been available for two decades, it is still in its infancy. As technology becomes more affordable and accessible, online instructional resources further develop and the ease and availability of rich media and social media increases, online education will continue to evolve and grow in the coming years.


[S]tudents need to look for programs structured to provide services that specifically assist online students wishing to begin or return to college or earn a graduate degree.

Karen Rhoda, Ph.D.

Executive Director, University Extension

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth?

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth offers five online undergraduate, three online graduate degrees and seven online certificate programs. Online programs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth are accredited following the same admissions requirements, program objectives, course competencies and student learning outcomes as our on-campus programs. Students enrolled in online programs receive personalized advising in their program and the resources essential to support the success of online learners such as online tutoring, a writing center and dedicated library staff ready to assist with student research needs. Online students also enjoy the advantage of an online orientation, small class sizes, networking with top league faculty who are recognized experts in their field and interacting with fellow students from various regions of the nation and around the world. Online courses are asynchronous meaning that students do not need to log on at the same time allowing for the flexibility and convenience needed by students with real-life responsibilities.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Today's students should look for universities that provide the online program suited to their educational and career goals. Very importantly, students need to look for programs structured to provide services that specifically assist online students wishing to begin or return to college or earn a graduate degree. Savvy prospective online students understand that earning a degree requires a commitment of time and effort, and need to know that an institution's program and support services will ensure the quality of their student experience and provide a degree that is valued in the work arena. Many of today's online students are adult students who seek to earn the degree they've always wanted. They need to know that their counterparts are the fastest growing segment in higher education.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning will utilize more technology over the next several years in order to bring more ways to adapt to students' learning styles to the virtual classroom. More people will be earning the degree they've been wanting by enrolling in online programs. Online degrees will bring the competitive advantage to more citizens needed for today's careers. The leaders in online education will continue to seek more nimble connection to the needs of the 21st century global economy and its work arena.

Financial Aid in Massachusetts

Students who wish to attend college in their home state of Massachusetts are in luck. Not only are some of the world's finest institutions of higher learning located here, but the state's Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) has a variety of merit- and need-based grant, scholarship, no-interest loan and tuition waiver programs that are designed to help students afford college. In many cases, these programs can be applied at public or private Massachusetts colleges and universities.

Although the Institute for College Access and Success reports an average student loan debt of $29,391 in Massachusetts, the numerous state financial aid programs can help students cover their college related expenses.

Take a look at some of the financial aid programs that are helping Massachusetts students secure their bright futures.

Scholarships

Whether students attend state universities, live in rural areas or just have excellent academic standing, there is a scholarship opportunity for you in Massachusetts. Here are a few highlights:

Recipients of the Paul Tsongas Scholarship have their tuition and mandatory fees waived when they attend one of nine Massachusetts state universities.

  • Application deadline: N/A
  • Award amount: Full tuition and fees
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 5 per school, per year
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 3.75 for most scholarships
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status: Student with an SAT score of at least 1200 (or the ACT equivalent)
  • Residency required: Yes
Full-time students residing in rural areas of Massachusetts are eligible to receive financial assistance when they choose to attend any public college or university within the state (except University of Massachusetts at Amherst). Students are nominated by their individual institution on an annual basis.

  • Application deadline:  File FAFSA by August 1st
  • Award amount: Varies
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Up to 5 per school, per year
  • Renewable:  Yes
  • Minimum GPA:  N/A
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Need
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Be enrolled full-time
  • Residency required:  Yes

The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship aims to provide up to eight semesters of tuition to undergraduates attending Massachusetts state colleges and universities. The program hopes to reward student achievement as well as inspire high-performers to attend in-state public institutions.

  • Application deadline:  N/A
  • Award amount:  Full tuition for up to eight semesters
  • Number of scholarships awarded: N/A
  • Renewable:  Yes
  • Minimum GPA:  3.0
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Academic status: Score in the Advanced category on one of three high school state assessment tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics or STE; Score in the Proficient or Advanced category on the remaining two high school state assessment tests; Have a combined MCAS score on these assessments that ranks in the top 25% in their school district.
  • Residency required:  No

For more information on how to research and find scholarships that apply to you, read the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Grants

Those with financial need can get some tuition relief by qualifying for a Massachusetts grant program. This need-based type of assistance is earmarked for students with lower family incomes, and options are available for both full-time and part-time students.

MASSGrant
Funded by the state Legislature, the MASSGrant provides in-state residents with need-based assistance to attend an eligible educational institution for their undergraduate degree. Eligible students must also be enrolled full-time.

  • Application deadline: Must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount: Varies, covering the cost from two to eight semesters
Part-Time Grant Program
The Part-Time Grant Program aims to assist students who are enrolled in at least six (but less than twelve) undergraduate credits per academic term. Eligible students must demonstrate financial need and attend a fully-accredited educational institution.

  • Application deadline: Must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount: Varies; minimum $200
Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program
Currently employed paraprofessionals in the Massachusetts public school system are eligible for this grant that hopes to aid the statewide shortage of teachers. Awards are not based on financial need; however, students must file the FAFSA in order to apply. They must also create a MASSAid Student Portal account, and fill out the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant application in the MASSAid Student Portal system.

  • Application deadline: Must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount: Up to $7,500 per academic year, depending on institution

For additional information on grants, check out the Ultimate Guide to Grants.

Loans

When scholarships and grant money aren't enough, student loans can help bridge the gap toward college affordability. Students are encouraged to apply for federal student loans via the FAFSA, but Massachusetts also offers a state-based program for additional zero interest funding.

Massachusetts No Interest Loan (NIL) Program
The NIL Program aims to assist students by providing a state-funded loan with zero interest. To be eligible, students must have one year of Massachusetts state residency, and must be attending an educational institution full-time. Students who receive this loan have up to 10 years to repay it.

  • Application deadline: Must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount: From $1,000 to $4,000 per academic year

For more information on the student loan process, don't miss the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Massachusetts

Featured Cities in Massachusetts

Data regarding these featured metropolitan areas is sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area

Total Population

4,694,565

Median salary for high school grads

$32,572

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$60,058

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

34.9%

Median rent

$1,236

Fun Facts

Boston is rich in culture and history. People enjoy visiting the Old North Church, Fannueil Hall Market Place, Harvard and Cambridge, and the Paul Revere House. History buffs enjoy the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, which visits 16 historical sites pertaining to the Revolutionary War. The Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston is the deepest tunnel in North America at nearly 90 feet below the surface. Boston is also home to some of the most well-known sports teams in America, including the Boston Red Sox (MLB), Boston Celtics (NBA), Boston Bruins (NHL) and New England Patriots (NFL).

Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area

Total Population

928,405

Median salary for high school grads

$32,978

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$56,116

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

29.7%

Median rent

$925

Fun Facts

Worcester is the busy heart of central Massachusetts and offers big city excitement as well as scenic rural vistas. There are many lakes and reservoirs in the area, many with long Native American names that are difficult to pronounce, and Old Sturbridge Village provides an authentic look at Colonial Massachusetts. The name Worcester means "War-Castle." Worcester was first settled in 1673 and was called Quinsigamond.

Springfield, MA Metro Area

Total Population

628,800

Median salary for high school grads

$31,094

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$48,617

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

39.1%

Median rent

$855

Fun Facts

The Basketball Hall of Fame is housed in Springfield, but that's just one of the many attractions in the area. The Springfield Museums is a complex of five different museums, and includes the famous Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden honoring the birthplace of the beloved children's author. The Springfield Armory was one of the premier manufacturers of firearms in the U.S. for more than a century. It closed in 1968.

 
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