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Online Degrees in Massachusetts (MA)


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Methodology

To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:

  1. Be an accredited U.S. institution
  2. Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
  3. Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
  4. Be active in the 2015-16 school year
  5. Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology

We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Offers credit for military training

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts is in the unique position of having one foot in our nation's past and another in its future. As home to many of our nation's most important historical events and attractions, it is also leading the United States into the future in industries such as renewable energy, defense technology, digital health, information technology and more. And it benefits from having the most highly educated population in the country.

But these facts don't tell the complete story. The Bay State faces challenges including an aging population and a skills gap that is still not being addressed by the current rates of college attainment.

Online degree programs in Massachusetts may be an important part of the solution. These programs can provide affordability, flexibility and convenience, which is ideal for older, returning adults or those who face challenges with scheduling for, or proximity to, their desired programs. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of online degrees in Massachusetts.

Despite its small size, the state is home to 177 postsecondary institutions, which may help to explain its high rate of college attainment. Still, this rate has leveled off in recent years as the population has aged and slowly begun dropping out of the workforce. The state's continued economic growth deeply relies on a pipeline of educated workers. By 2020, 72 percent of jobs in Massachusetts may require postsecondary credentials. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE) expects that by 2025, the state's public colleges and universities may fall short of producing their share of new college degrees by up to 65,000.

Simply put, if the state cannot produce enough skilled labor, employers in its fastest-growing industries may go elsewhere and the economy may suffer.

Earning an online degree in Massachusetts also benefits graduates financially. The MDHE finds a strong correlation between higher levels of education and higher incomes, and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows faster wage growth among college-educated residents. Workers with no education beyond high school are also disproportionately unemployed.

Online degree programs in Massachusetts enable students to earn these necessary credentials, often at a faster pace than traditional on-ground programs, preparing students to fill these in-demand positions more quickly, perhaps even more affordably. Plus, these programs' flexibility means that studies can be fit into any personal or work schedule.

Depending on your circumstances in life, you'll need to consider certain criteria in your online degree search. To help you, we've put together this list of the top 10 Massachusetts colleges that offer online degree programs, focusing on a range of criteria including tuition, number of online degree programs, student support resources and more.

1
Simmons College
Boston, MA
Average in-state tuition
$38,500
No. of online programs
7
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$24,061
Admissions Rate
60%
Graduation Rate
73%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Bay Path University
Longmeadow, MA
Average in-state tuition
$33,557
No. of online programs
28
% of students in distance education
56%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,931
Admissions Rate
63%
Graduation Rate
57%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Lowell, MA
Average in-state tuition
$14,350
No. of online programs
48
% of students in distance education
32%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,304
Admissions Rate
69%
Graduation Rate
60%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Endicott College
Beverly, MA
Average in-state tuition
$31,454
No. of online programs
22
% of students in distance education
37%
Avg. amount of Aid
$13,219
Admissions Rate
81%
Graduation Rate
75%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst, MA
Average in-state tuition
$15,030
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
22%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,159
Admissions Rate
58%
Graduation Rate
77%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Salem State University
Salem, MA
Average in-state tuition
$910
No. of online programs
2
% of students in distance education
29%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,781
Admissions Rate
82%
Graduation Rate
52%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Westfield State University
Westfield, MA
Average in-state tuition
$970
No. of online programs
7
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,093
Admissions Rate
85%
Graduation Rate
65%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA
Average in-state tuition
$47,988
No. of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
15%
Avg. amount of Aid
$20,077
Admissions Rate
48%
Graduation Rate
89%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA
Average in-state tuition
$910
No. of online programs
1
% of students in distance education
27%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,095
Admissions Rate
80%
Graduation Rate
59%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
University of Massachusetts-Boston
Boston, MA
Average in-state tuition
$13,503
No. of online programs
8
% of students in distance education
21%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,848
Admissions Rate
75%
Graduation Rate
48%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we've created this list of the top online degree programs in Maine, which may help to indicate fast-growing or in-demand occupations.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management, General
37
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
17
Business/Commerce, General
11
Psychology, General
10
Accounting
9
General Studies
8
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other
7
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
6
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
6
History, General
5

Home to schools such as Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts is a state renowned for its educational quality. Aspiring online learners may appreciate knowing that high quality extends to many of the online degree programs in Massachusetts as well.

The state is part of the New England Board of Higher Education compact and a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). What does this mean to students? SARA members agree to follow processes to ensure consistent quality in their distance education offerings across state lines, while giving students access to a greater number of offerings and keeping their tuition costs down.

Individual colleges are taking steps to maintain high quality online degree programs, too. For example, Boston University has won numerous awards for its distance-education quality, including an Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education award from the Online Learning Consortium. And many schools in Massachusetts voluntarily partake in quality assurance programs. Framingham State University and Quincy College follow standards for Quality Matters to promote student engagement and continuous quality improvement among distance education courses, and the University of Massachusetts Boston has adopted the Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Rubric and Process to support continuous quality improvement as well.

NC-SARA along with the Online Learning Consortium, Quality Matters and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies suggest that students ask the following questions in order to make an educated decision about which online degree program to enroll in.

What do you expect of the program? What are your academic and professional needs as a student? What does the program expect of you in terms of time to completion and face-to-face activities?

What learning experiences are used? What is the typical class size? Is the learning self-paced or on a deadline schedule? What is it like being a student here?

What student support services are offered? Would you have the support you need from faculty and staff? Consider issues such as academic advisement, tutoring, counseling, orientations, tutorials and other factors, and whether these are sufficient for your needs.

What are the costs, and can you afford them? Be sure that you understand costs associated with the program and what financial aid options are available to you.

What are the technology requirements? Also, how much technical support and equipment are available, and is that sufficient?

How does the school support positive outcomes? Consider things such as career services offerings, its alumni networks, partnerships with area employers and ability to obtain licensing upon completion.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the following occupations are seeing the greatest job growth in the state.

Occupation
Number of Workers
(2018)
Average Salary
(2018)
Office and Administrative Support Occupations496,690$45,040
Sales and Related Occupations317,270$48,930
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations307,710$30,960
Management Occupations294,490$133,910
Education, Training, and Library Occupations244,590$69,360
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations242,690$97,600
Business and Financial Operations Occupations205,570$85,980
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations190,150$40,510
Personal Care and Service Occupations161,500$33,950
Production Occupations152,320$42,790
Computer and Mathematical Occupations141,450$98,630
Construction and Extraction Occupations128,570$63,700
Healthcare Support Occupations106,220$37,070
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations105,470$36,900
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations103,230$55,880
Source: 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Though Massachusetts boasts many highly respected colleges and universities and a large number of college-educated residents, it unfortunately ranks near the bottom of college affordability rankings, according to the Institute for Research on Higher Education. In order to fill its education gap, the state is taking big steps to assist students in affording college.

Among these, there is the MassTransfer A2B + Commonwealth Commitment. In this program, students planning to start their educations at community colleges in Massachusetts and transfer to four-year public institutions may receive guaranteed admission upon completing their associate degrees, along with a freeze on tuition and fees and a 10 percent rebate off those tuition and fee payments at the end of each semester.

The MDHE also offers a number of grants and scholarships. The following is a small sampling:

MASSGrant & MASSGrant Plus: These grants offer need-based funding to undergraduate students who reside in Massachusetts. The two programs differ in terms of type of school and whether students are enrolled full or part time.

Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program: This grant can provide funds for students who participate in Massachusetts colleges and universities and schools of nursing.

Part-Time Grant Program: This program is designed to address the growing number of students attending part-time college by providing tuition assistance to encourage more state residents to complete their educations.

Scholarship Listing

TSF of Wakefield Scholarship
No. of Awards
332
Deadline
March 31
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a resident of Wakefield, MA who is a full-time student. Financial need must be demonstrated.
More
Walter S. Barr Scholarship
No. of Awards
25
Deadline
February 1
Max. Award Amount
2,500
Renewable
Yes
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.
More
Diosecan Scholarship
No. of Awards
20
Deadline
Not Available
Max. Award Amount
5,000
Renewable
Yes
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.
More
Cape Cod Alumni Club Scholarship
No. of Awards
10
Deadline
May 1
Max. Award Amount
500
Renewable
N/A
Criteria
Applicant must be graduating from a Cape Code high school with financial need. FAFSA required.
More
Devonia and Henry Thomas, III Scholarship
No. of Awards
4
Deadline
May 1
Max. Award Amount
2,500
Renewable
N/A
Criteria
Applicant must be a freshman or sophomore student from Springfield, MA, who demonstrates financial need. Preference will be given to African American students, two freshman and two sophomore students with a preference for two males and two females. FAFSA required.
More

Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-19 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

Any school in Massachusetts you may consider might have its own testing requirements for prospective students. Some schools, such as UMass Online, Wheaton College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy don't require scores from college entrance exams, while others, such as Brandeis University, require SAT or ACT scores. Check with your desired program to ensure you meet its admission requirements.


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