State Schools in Massachusetts with Program Information
There are more than 40 state schools in Massachusetts. Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.
School Ranking Overview
State schools in Massachusetts range from small, technical institutions that offer certificate programs in just a few fields of study, to large, public universities with dozens of program options at multiple degree levels. This article compares the multi-program 2-year and 4-year public colleges and names the top three in each of these four ranking categories:
- Program Variety
- Net Price
- Graduation Rate
- Student-Faculty Ratio
Most Program Variety
Schools with a greater number of program offerings can benefit students who are undecided about a major or who seek to pursue a less common field of study. The following three schools offer the most program variety out of all the state schools in Massachusetts.
1 - Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater offered approximately 133 academic programs to its nearly 11,300 students in 2011-2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The organization reported that, during the same year, the university conferred 1,747 bachelor's degrees, 402 master's degrees and 121 postgraduate certificates. Additionally, the most popular undergraduate major was psychology, while the most commonly awarded master's degree was in special education and teaching.
2 - University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Enrolling more than 28,000 students in 2011, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, administers about 132 academic program options, NCES noted. U.S. News & World Report ranked this flagship campus of the state university system #97 in its 2013 'national universities' category. In 2011-2012, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst issued 61 associate's, 5,203 bachelor's, 1,305 master's and 305 doctoral degrees, along with 206 undergraduate certificates and 72 postgraduate certificates, per NCES. Business administration and management was the most popular major for graduate students in 2011-2012, according to NCES, while undergraduate students favored psychology. The university also allows students to design their own majors.
3 - University of Massachusetts - Boston
The University of Massachusetts - Boston, with about 15,700 students, offers approximately 99 academic programs, according to NCES. In 2011-2012, NCES reported that the university conferred more than 2,100 bachelor's degrees, nearly 1,000 master's degrees and 45 doctoral degrees, as well as 30 undergraduate certificates and 225 postgraduate certificates. The most common undergraduate major that year was in business administration and management, but graduate students preferred teacher education, the NCES noted.
Lowest Net Price
NCES determines a school's net price by deducting the amount of financial aid awarded to the average student from the total cost of attendance, which covers tuition, fees, books, room and board. Of the Massachusetts state schools that reported costs, the average net price in 2010-2011 ranged from approximately $3,800 to nearly $28,000, according to NCES. The three schools with the lowest average net prices, listed below, were all community colleges. All statistical data presented comes from NCES records.
1 - Middlesex Community College
Located in Bedford, Middlesex Community College, with more than 9,800 students, had an average net price of $3,820 in 2010-2011. The following year, 2012-2013, tuition and fees were $4,274 for in-state students and $9,218 for out-of-state students. About 68% of first-time students received financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships and/or student loans in 2010-2011. Approximately 16% of all students took out federal student loans that year, with an average loan amount of $3,333.
2 - Bristol Community College
With 9,000 students, Bristol Community College in Fall River posted an average net price of $4,453. State residents paid $4,178 in tuition and fees in 2012-2013, while out-of-state students paid $9,122. In 2010-2011, 72% of first-time students received some type of financial aid. Additionally, federal student loans averaging $2,905 were issued to 18% of Bristol students that year.
3 - Northern Essex Community College
Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill has about 7,000 students and an average net price of $6,310. In 2012-2013, in-state tuition and fees were $3,768, while tuition and fees for out-of-state students were $9,552. Financial aid in the form of grants, loans and/or scholarships was awarded to 71% of first-time students in 2010-2011. About 28% of all students took out federal student loans averaging $2,860.
Highest Graduation Rate
A school's overall graduation rate is the percentage of undergraduate students who complete a program within 150% of 'normal' time, per NCES. A bachelor's degree, for example, normally requires four years of study, so the overall graduation rate would be the percentage of students who graduate within six years. A few Massachusetts technical and specialty schools have graduation rates that top 90%, but mainstream schools have graduation rates between 9% and 67%. Following are the three traditional Massachusetts state colleges with the highest overall graduation rates. All statistics are based on NCES figures.
1 - University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The overall graduation rate was 67% for students who started at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in fall 2005. Of the students in that cohort who were pursuing bachelor's degrees, 52% graduated within four years, and, of the bachelor's seeking students who started in fall 2003, 68% graduated within eight years.
The transfer-out rate refers to the percentage of students who leave to enroll in another school; the University of Massachusetts - Amherst had a 24% transfer-out rate for students who started in fall 2005. The retention rate, the percentage of students who return to a school after their freshman years, is viewed as a measure of student satisfaction. From fall 2010 to fall 2011, the retention rate at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst was 89% for full-time students and 50% for part-time students.
2 - Westfield State University
Westfield State University, a school of nearly 6,100 students in Westfield, had a 58% overall graduation rate for students who began in fall 2005. About 44% of bachelor's students who enrolled that same year completed their coursework in four years, while 59% of bachelor's students who started in fall 2003 graduated in eight years. Westfield State's retention rate from 2010-2011 was 80% for full-time students and 67% for part-time students.
3 - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
In North Adams, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts posted an overall graduation rate of 53% for students who started in fall 2005. The school, which has nearly 1,900 students, saw a graduation rate of 38% for its bachelor's students who started in fall 2005, while 52% of bachelor's students who enrolled in fall 2003 graduated within eight years. The 2010-2011 retention rate was 72% for full-time students and 50% for part-time students.
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Students who want personal interaction with their instructors may find this perk at schools with low student-faculty ratios. While some of the very small schools in Massachusetts have student-faculty ratios in the single digits, most of the mainstream state colleges have student-faculty ratios between 14:1 and 23:1. Several schools reported student-faculty ratios of 14:1 in 2011-2012, according to NCES; the largest three are profiled below.
1 - University of Massachusetts - Lowell
At the University of Massachusetts - Lowell, the approximately 15,400 students can take advantage of a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. According to U.S. News & World Report, about 57% of all classes have fewer than 20 students. The school employed 473 full-time and 540 part-time instructional faculty members in fall 2011. Additionally, 481 graduate assistants worked as instructors that year.
1 - Roxbury Community College
Located in Roxbury Crossing, Roxbury Community College has about 2,700 students and a student-faculty ratio of 14:1. The school had 49 full-time and 92 part-time faculty members in fall 2011, all employed as instructors. The college's faculty joins with the school's Center for Student Success to ensure that students get the necessary tools for academic achievement, including learning support and career advice.
1 - Greenfield Community College
Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, also with a 14:1 ratio of students to faculty, has slightly more than 2,500 students. There were 62 full-time and 136 part-time faculty members in instructional positions in fall 2011. The college gives students the chance to work with peer tutors and helps them to devise learning strategies that can lead to academic success.
State Schools in Massachusetts at a Glance
|School Name||Location||School Type||Degrees Offered||State Ranking|
|Bridgewater State University||Bridgewater, MA||Four-year, public||Bachelor's and master's degrees; less-than-one-year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates||Most Program Variety|
|Bristol Community College||Fall River, MA||Two-year, public||Less-than-one-year certificates; associate's degrees||2nd Lowest Net Price|
|Greenfield Community College||Greenfield, MA||Two-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one-but-less-than-two-year certificates; associate's degrees||Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied)|
|Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts||North Adams, MA||Four-year, public||Less-than-one-year and post-master's certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees||3rd Highest Graduation Rate|
|Middlesex Community College||Bedford, MA||Four-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one-but-less-than-two-year certificates; associate's degrees||Lowest Net Price|
|Northern Essex Community College||Haverhill, MA||Two-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one-but-less-than-two-year certificates; associate's degrees||3rd Lowest Net Price|
|Roxbury Community College||Roxbury Crossing, MA||Two-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one-but-less-than-two-year certificates; associate's degrees||Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied)|
|University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst, MA||Four-year, public||Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates|| Highest Graduation Rate, |
2nd Most Program Variety
|University of Massachusetts - Boston||Boston, MA||Four-year, public||Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; less-than-one-year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates||3rd Most Program Variety|
|University of Massachusetts - Lowell||Lowell, MA||Four-year, public||Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; less-than-one-year, post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates||Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied)|
|Westfield State University||Westfield, MA||Four-year, public||Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates||2nd Highest Graduation Rate|
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