Here's an overview of online colleges in Massachusetts:
  • Massachusetts is home to 60 institutions that offer distance learning. Twenty of these are public and 40 are private institutions. Of the 38 private nonprofit schools, 10 are faith-based online colleges.
  • The state's one fully online institution, New England College of Business and Finance in Boston, offers online certificate, associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree programs.
  • Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network and University of Massachusetts-Lowell offer the most online degree programs.
  • Massachusetts Colleges Online is a consortium of 15 community colleges and nine state universities that have come together to share online courses and programs in order to make completing an education even easier for state residents.

If you've already completed some college credits and you're ready to restart your degree program at a Massachusetts online college, you may want to explore Mass Transfer Pathways. This program outlines a number of ways students can transfer credits — something that can help to minimize the overall cost of your degree.

Keep reading to learn more about online colleges in Massachusetts, explore rankings to see how they stack up and find tips for getting financial aid.

What Makes a Good Online College in Massachusetts?

At OnlineColleges.com, we've created multiple rankings on the best online schools in Massachusetts. We used carefully selected criteria to select the schools in our rankings and ensured that each school included is accredited by a body such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC). Our "What is College Accreditation?" page goes into detail on why choosing accredited schools is so important, and the Massachusetts Department of Education can be used to learn specifics about accreditation in the Bay State.

Our rankings can help students to determine which Massachusetts online school is right for their particular situation. We display important details about each school, such as number of online programs offered, ratio of students participating in distance education and graduation rate. The "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page explains why we believe these factors are relevant to students who are looking for an online degree program in Massachusetts.

Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts for 2019-20

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 and a custom methodology (details at the bottom of this page) to select the best of the best from this renowned state.

1

Bay Path University

Tuition & Fees
$33,557
Distance Education Participation
56%
Number of Programs Offered
28
School Type
4-year

What is Bay Path University like?

The focus at Bay Path University is on providing its students with a career- and leadership-centered curriculum. The university's undergraduate programs are offered only to women, while its graduate programs are for both men and women.

What online programs are offered at Bay Path University?

Undergraduate online degree programs are offered through the American Women's College, primarily in the subjects of business, healthcare and education. Graduate programs at Bay Path include both online master's programs as well as graduate certificate programs.

Bay Path University is featured prominently on our recent rankings:

What online resources does Bay Path University offer?

  • Online courses at Bay Path are taught using the Canvas learning management system.
  • Bay Path's Center for Online Digital Learning maintains technical support and online learning tools for all students.
  • Open Education Resources (OER), which distribute educational materials at significantly reduced costs.
2

Simmons University

Tuition & Fees
$39,600
Distance Education Participation
55%
Number of Programs Offered
7
School Type
4-year

What is Simmons University like?

Simmons University is a private school in Boston, established in 1899. The university emphasizes career-centered education and opportunities for hands-on experience in a student's field of study.

What online programs are offered at Simmons University?

Simmons University places an emphasis on community engaged learning, requiring immersion or mentoring elements in its online master's programs. Classes combine a weekly live online component, self-paced online learning and immersions, one of which needs to be attended at the university's Boston campus. Programs are also designed to be part-time, which makes it easier for students to continue to work while enrolled.

Simmons University offers online master's degree programs in:

  • Behavior analysis
  • Public health
  • Business administration
  • Healthcare business administration

What online resources does Simmons University offer?

  • Simmons University employs 2U software to deliver its online education.
  • Online students are offered an orientation program for the 2U software to help them make good use of the software.
  • Online careers services are available.
3

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Tuition & Fees
$15,411
Distance Education Participation
22%
Number of Programs Offered
24
School Type
4-year

What is the University of Massachusetts-Amherst like?

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts. The university started the UMassOnline system for serving the online learning educational needs of the commonwealth in 2001.

What online programs are offered at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst?

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst offers online associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in addition to professional development and continuing education courses. The majority of the university's online programs are in business management, health sciences, education and technology.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst ranked No.9 on our ranking of the best online colleges for hospitality management in 2018-1019.

What online resources does the University of Massachusetts-Amherst offer?

Courses are taught using the Moodle learning management system and online tech support is available 24/7. In addition, library services are offered online.

4

Endicott College

Tuition & Fees
$32,154
Distance Education Participation
37%
Number of Programs Offered
22
School Type
4-year

What is Endicott College like?

Endicott College is a private college in Beverly, Massachusetts that was established in 1939, initially as a women's college. The college's first coeducational class entered in the fall of 1994.

What online programs are offered by Endicott College?

Endicott offers online associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs through the Canvas learning management system. Education, healthcare and business are the main areas of study offered online. In fact, several programs at Endicott -- such as the M.Ed. in higher education leadership and the MBA -- are only offered online.

The college's M.Ed. in international education is taught in conjunction with schools in the Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

What online resources does Endicott College offer?

Academic support centers that are available online at Endicott include:

  • Center for accessibility studies
  • Advising services
  • Student success and retention
  • Student support center
  • Tutoring center
  • Writing center
5

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Tuition & Fees
$14,800
Distance Education Participation
32%
Number of Programs Offered
48
School Type
4-year

What is the University of Massachusetts-Lowell like?

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is a public university whose main focus is educating students for their future careers. The institution collaborates with local businesses, looking to tailor their courses specifically to the business, engineering and manufacturing needs of individual companies and their workforce.

What online programs are offered at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell?

The university offers online associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs as well as several certificate programs. Primary areas of online study are business, criminal justice, education, healthcare and information technology.

The university was ranked in the top ten on several of our rankings:

What online resources does the University of Massachusetts-Lowell offer?

Courses are taught using Microsoft Office, Real Player and other similar software. If students need help, live chat support is available 24/7.

6

Fitchburg State University

Tuition & Fees
$10,155
Distance Education Participation
39%
Number of Programs Offered
13
School Type
4-year

What is Fitchburg State University like?

Fitchburg State was established as a normal school in 1894 to train teachers. While the scope of university's majors and programs has broadened since then, the goal remains the same: to educate students for the workplace.

What online programs are offered at Fitchburg State University?

Fitchburg State offers 100 percent online certificate programs, bachelor's programs and master's programs. Certificate programs are offered in business and web development; bachelor's programs are available in business, healthcare and interdisciplinary studies. The graduate programs are primarily in business and healthcare, with a couple of non-licensure M.Ed. options as well.

The university also offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in hybrid formats.

What online resources does Fitchburg State University offer?

  • A demo version of an online class is available to offer potential students a feel for what online courses are like.
  • Online courses are offered asynchronously to fit working students' schedules.
  • Coursework is done using the Blackboard online learning system.
7

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Tuition & Fees
$48,628
Distance Education Participation
15%
Number of Programs Offered
20
School Type
4-year

What is Worcester Polytechnic Institute like?

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private university founded in 1865 that focuses on project-based learning. The emphasis in the Worcester Poly curriculum is on balancing theory with practice.

What online programs are offered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute?

Worcester Poly offers online master's degree and certificate programs in a number of technology-related fields, with an emphasis on engineering and biotechnology. These are designed to be part-time programs and are taught asynchronously, although some real-time chats may be required.

Admission to these programs requires an equivalent bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students may enroll in up to two courses before being officially admitted to the university. A GRE score is also required for most courses of study.

What online resources does Worcester Polytechnic Institute offer?

  • Prep courses are available to refresh certain skills before admittance to the graduate degree programs.
  • Online courses are taught largely using Microsoft Office software.
  • Students are assigned a support team member.
  • The career development center helps students with career planning, either through Handshake or in person.
8

Westfield State University

Tuition & Fees
$9,715
Distance Education Participation
36%
Number of Programs Offered
7
School Type
4-year

What is Westfield State University like?

Westfield State University was founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, a famous American educational reformer who promoted the value of public education.

What online programs are offered at Westfield State University?

Students who have completed the Massachusetts transfer compact after graduating from a community college in the state should be eligible to enter one of Westfield State's online degree completion programs:

A number of minors and hybrid programs are also available through this institution. Courses are taught using the Blackboard learning management system.

What online resources does Westfield State University offer?

  • An online library and tutoring are available.
  • Online technical support is available 24/7.
9

Fisher College

Tuition & Fees
$30,499
Distance Education Participation
44%
Number of Programs Offered
27
School Type
4-year

What is Fisher College like?

Fisher College is a four-year nonprofit college founded in 1903. The college's curriculum focuses on practical education that can help students to achieve their career goals. The school also emphasizes educating members for our armed forces.

Courses are taught in six eight-week terms throughout the year to accommodate the schedule of many of the college's students.

What online programs are offered at Fisher College?

Associate degree programs at Fisher can be taken online, and most of the school's bachelor's programs have an online option as well. Among graduate programs:

  • The M.A. in psychology is available fully online
  • The MBA is available part-time online
  • The M.A. in counseling psychology is planned to be available as a hybrid program starting in the fall of 2019

What online resources does Fisher College offer?

  • Courses are held through the Blackboard online learning management system.
  • Academic support services are available online.
  • Online library materials are available through the Boston Public Library.
10

Nichols College

Tuition & Fees
$34,000
Distance Education Participation
25%
Number of Programs Offered
9
School Type
4-year

What is Nichols College like?

Nichols College is a private college founded in 1815 that specializes in business and leadership education. The school is a career-focused institution, with a strong emphasis on creating partnerships with the local business community.

What online programs are offered at Nichols College?

  • Nichols College offers an online B.A. in business administration with concentrations in accounting, general business or human resource management. In addition, management and criminal justice management concentrations are available as hybrid courses, combining online course work with some evening or day on-campus coursework.
  • Courses are seven weeks long, with seven sessions per year.
  • Degree completion plans can be tailored to individual student's needs.
  • Nichols offers a 4+1 MBA program and a 4+1/3+1 M.S. in accounting, which can be completed by simply adding one more year to a student's undergraduate studies.

What online resources does Nichols College offer?

  • Online courses are taught asynchronously.
  • Nichols College's career and professional development centers offers lifetime assistance with career planning.

Affordable Online Colleges in Massachusetts for 2019-20

Many colleges and universities in Massachusetts offer a variety of options for distance learners. The lists below highlight some of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Massachusetts, using each school's in-state tuition cost as reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Financial Aid Resources in Massachusetts

Students who wish to attend college in Massachusetts are in luck. 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, helping 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.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Massachusetts? 

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

1

TSF of Wakefield Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
March 31
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be a resident of Wakefield, MA who is a full-time student. Financial need must be demonstrated.

2

Walter S. Barr Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$2,500
Application Deadline
February 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be a graduate of a Hampden County, MA, private or public high school. Selection is based upon academic ability, standardized test scores, and financial need.

3

Diosecan Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$5,000
Application Deadline
None
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be a graduate of a Springfield, Mass., diocesan high school, be accepted as a full-time first-time student, and have completed the financial aid process.

4

Cape Cod Alumni Club Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$500
Application Deadline
May 1
Application Deadline
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be graduating from a Cape Code high school with financial need. FAFSA required.

For additional information, check out OnlineCollege.com's Ultimate Guide to Grants or Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Student Loans in Massachusetts

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

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Massachusetts

New England is a breathtaking place to attend college, and if you are from this part of the country, you have the option to go to college in states other than your home state and still pay in-state tuition.

It's possible through Tuition Break by the New England Regional Student Program (RSP), which allows New England students to enroll in universities in the region at a discount, including public universities and colleges in Massachusetts. You simply have to enroll in a major that is not offered in your home state.

Students have access to some 800 graduate and undergraduate programs through the Tuition Break program at 82 public colleges and universities. If you are from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont, be sure to have a look at this program. If you are from another state, there are still options to mitigate the rather significant cost of out-of-state tuition.

For instance, the University of Massachusetts Boston offers in-state tuition to students with refugee/asylum status, members of the military and their dependents, and students who have relocated to the state for employment (one-year residency requirement applies). For additional insight into this program or programs like it, be sure to talk with an admissions counselor or registrar.

 

Best Careers In Massachusetts

The job market in Massachusetts is ahead of national averages, making the state a good place for workers to search for new opportunities. With the highest rate of college graduates nationally in its workforce, Massachusetts is an attractive state for employers, particularly in technology and healthcare industries.

However, with over half the workforce holding a four-year college degree, earning a college education is becoming a vital part of competing in this well-educated job market. Because earning a degree is such an investment, it's helpful to plan out what career path you might want to follow before you start school. We have created a list of the best jobs in Massachusetts to help students make this decision, complete with government data on average salaries, employment numbers and more.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary
3,715,6107.4%$34,296$60,715
Employment in Massachusetts3,715,610
Employment Growth in Massachusetts7.4%
Median High School Salary in Massachusetts$34,296
Median Bachelor's Salary in Massachusetts$60,715

Top Massachusetts Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data is sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Ambulatory healthcare services2,716,0408%$72,917
Hospitals; state, local, and private2,940,7007%$71,295
Educational services; state, local, and private3,230,3907%$68,935
Utilities1,862,9006%$72,647
Nursing and residential care facilities2,512,5408%$63,664
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations2,861,9407%$64,433
Insurance carriers and related activities2,142,2805%$71,930
Social assistance2,770,3807%$63,142
Waste management and remediation services1,522,7906%$68,953
Telecommunications1,599,1305%$76,204

Massachusetts puts a lot of effort into maintaining and improving the quality of its communities. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) hosts all kinds of initiatives, grants and development programs to strengthen key industries in the state, such as the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program, the Community Compact Program and the Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative. These initiatives not only inject new life into Massachusetts businesses but also create employment opportunities for civic, grantmaking and social assistance positions, making them win-win investments for the state.

On that subject, there is a specific initiative called the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP), which supports job creation by investing grants into growing industries in Massachusetts. In 2019, the EDIP invested in companies such as Syneron Candela, Lykan Bioscience and Olympus Corporation of the Americas, demonstrating a commitment to healthcare and medical technology. Investment in companies such as Prodrive Technologies and the Vicor Corporation is also creating opportunities in technology and telecommunications.

These may be some of the most in demand jobs in Massachusetts as a whole, but what's going on in your city in particular? Below, we'll go into more detail and highlight high demand jobs in Massachusetts' three most prominent metro areas.

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area

Total Population
4,771,936
Median salary for high school grads
$34,768
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$62,232
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
34.6%
Median rent
$1,335

According to a recent report by WalletHub, Boston is the second-best metro area for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs, including statisticians and natural science managers. The Boston Private Industry Council supports STEM job creation and education with programs such as the Boston STEM Network. Furthermore, in an effort to further STEM jobs in the area, the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges has linked 15 community college campuses with the STEM Starter Academy.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Statisticiansmaster's degree$111,9502,700
Financial ManagersBachelor's degree$153,48029,480
Business Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$132,6303,330
Natural Sciences ManagersBachelor's degree$188,3503,830
Marketing ManagersBachelor's degree$145,92013,010

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area

Total Population
934,923
Median salary for high school grads
$35,457
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$58,575
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
30.4%
Median rent
$973

Higher education employment is a natural fit for Worcester, a city with nine local colleges and universities. The University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences are located here, creating a high demand for postsecondary health specialties and biological science teachers, as well as other teaching professionals.

On another note, Worcester is classified as an "underserved community" by the National Credit Union Association, which has led to large gaps in financial knowledge among the general population. Financial managers who can help residents with financial literacy and credit advice are therefore in demand jobs in Worcester.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Health Specialties Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$133,170650
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$120,850510
Biological Science Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$115,350330
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$118,6805,500
Financial ManagersBachelor's degree$117,9301,550

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Springfield, MA Metro Area

Total Population
630,385
Median salary for high school grads
$32,715
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$51,071
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
39.9%
Median rent
$903

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield employs about 1/16 of the city's population, making the city a hot spot for healthcare positions such as nurse practitioners, internists and medical and health services managers. MassMutual insurance company, headquartered in Springfield, is the city's second largest employer, offering plenty of opportunities for financial managers. Finally, Western New England University has a substantial engineering department, which has created a surprising demand for postsecondary engineering teachers.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Financial ManagersBachelor's degree$119,3701,850
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$107,740630
Engineering Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$120,020270
Internists, GeneralDoctoral or professional degree$230,270270
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$102,4301,210

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2017-18 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2017-18 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2017-18, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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