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Worcester, Massachusetts (MA) Colleges and Universities

There are roughly 11 schools within Worcester. Read about the schools with the most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

Worcester is home to a variety of schools, including a number of private, not-for-profit four-year institutions. There is also a public four-year institution in the area, as well as a two-year college where students can pursue a certificate or associate's degree. The information in this article draws on several sources to help students find the right college or university to meet their needs. Read about how these schools compare with one another based on the following:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Students who want flexibility in choosing a degree path may look for a school with a high number of academic offerings. These three schools have the most program variety in the Worcester area.

1 - Assumption College

Assumption College, a private four-year school in Worcester, MA, was ranked #38 among regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. Students can choose from more than 70 degree and certificate programs. According to 2011-2012 figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the most popular programs were psychology for bachelor's degrees, counseling psychology for master's degrees and special education and teaching for certificates. That year, the college awarded four associate, 485 bachelor's and 171 master's degrees along with 34 undergraduate and post-graduate certificates.

2 - Clark University

Clark University is a private four-year school in Worcester that offers roughly 32 undergraduate majors, 23 graduate programs and 14 combined degree programs. NCES figures show that the most popular programs in 2011-2012 were psychology for undergraduates, business administration and management for master's students and geography for doctoral candidates. Students graduating that year earned 539 bachelor's, 520 master's and 26 doctoral degrees. Additionally, attendees can pursue post-master's certificates. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the college #28 among best value schools and #83 among national universities.

3 - Worcester State University

Worcester State University, a public four-year institution in Worcester, offers approximately 25 undergraduate majors and 25 graduate programs. The university, which hosted 6,204 students in 2011, was ranked #45 among top public schools in the North by U.S. News & World Report. The NCES reported that in 2011-2012, 861 bachelor's degrees, 195 master's degrees and 177 post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates were awarded. In the same academic year, the school's most popular programs were business administration and management for bachelor's degrees, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy for master's degrees and education for certificates.

Lowest Net Price

The NCES determines the average net cost for colleges and universities by subtracting the amount of financial aid students typically receive from the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and miscellaneous expenses. The net price for most Worcester schools falls between $20,000 and $30,000, but cheaper and more expensive options are available. The following three schools have the lowest reported net prices for 2011-2012.

1 - Quinsigamond Community College

Quinsigamond Community College is a public two-year Worcester school with a net price of $6,095. Tuition and fees for 2012-2013 totaled $5,094 for in-state and $10,038 for out-of-state students. Since the college does not offer housing, the NCES estimated off-campus room and board costs at $8,266 that year. According to 2011-2012 NCES figures, 65% of first-year undergraduates received grant and/or scholarship aid, with an average award of $4,613, while 34% obtained student loans in the average amount of $4,007. The school served 9,130 undergraduates in 2011.

2 - Worcester State University

Worcester State University's net price of $13,099 makes it the area's second most affordable option. In 2012-2013, tuition and fees were $8,157 for in-state and $14,237 for out-of-state students, while on-campus room and board costs were about $10,500. The NCES reported that 70% of incoming freshmen had grant and/or scholarship aid in the average amount of $4,779, while 71% received an average of $6,912 in student loans in 2011-2012. According to the College Board, 41% of undergraduates had their full financial need met, and students graduated with an average of $20,449 in debt.

3 - College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross, a private four-year institution in Worcester, has a $23,324 net price. In 2012-2013, attendees paid $43,000 in tuition and fees, along with an average of $11,730 for on-campus room and board. The College Board reported that 94% of undergraduates had their full financial need met, and students' average debt at graduation was $26,567. Additionally, figures from the NCES show that 55% of first-year students had an average grant and/or scholarship award of $31,034, and 56% obtained student loans in the average amount of $8,347.

Highest Graduation Rates

Schools in the Worcester area report relatively high graduation rates. The overall graduation rates reported by the NCES represent full-time students who began their studies in 2005 and graduated in 150% of the 'normal time' it takes to complete their degree program (e.g. six years for a bachelor's degree). The three schools listed below have the highest graduation rates in the Worcester area - all above 80%.

1 - College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross has an overall graduation rate of 91%, with an only slightly lower four-year graduation rate of 89%. Roughly 5% of students who started at the same time transferred to other institutions, according to the NCES. Additionally, 95% of full-time freshmen returned to the university between 2010 and 2011.

2 - Clark University

Clark University has an 80% overall graduation rate, with 76% of undergraduates completing their degree programs in four years. The school reported similar overall graduation rates for Black/African-American (89%), Hispanic/Latino (82%), Asian (81%) and White (80%) attendees. According to 2010-2011 NCES statistics, 87% of full-time and 100% of part-time students returned to the university for their second year.

3 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a private four-year school in Worcester, has an overall graduation rate of 76%. The university had comparable rates for White (77%), Asian (76%), Black/African-American (67%) and Hispanic/Latino (65%) students. The NCES reported that 65% of bachelor's degree candidates graduated in four years. In 2010-2011, the school had a first-year retention rate of 95% for full-time students, according to the NCES. Roughly 5,778 students were enrolled in 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Because schools in Worcester are relatively small (no school has more than 10,000 students), the student-faculty ratios for schools in the area start at 10:1. These three schools enroll the fewest students for each instructor.

1 - Clark University

Clark University has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. In 2012, the school employed 207 full-time and 94 part-time instructional faculty members along with 91 teaching assistants, the NCES reported. According to U.S. News & World Report, nearly 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students. The university hosted 3,462 students in 2011.

1 - College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross also has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. Figures from the NCES show that 254 full-time and 58 part-time instructors worked at the school with 15 teaching assistants in 2012. U.S. News & World Report stated that 52.5% of classes have 19 or fewer students. Roughly 2,900 undergraduates attended the college in 2011.

3 - Assumption College

Assumption College, which has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, employed 150 full-time and 137 part-time teachers in 2012, NCES statistics showed. Approximately 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students, according to U.S. News & World Report. The college enrolled 2,795 students in 2011.

Worcester Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Assumption College Worcester, MA Four-year, private, not-for-profit Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees; less than one year and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Clark University Worcester, MA Four-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied),
2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA Four-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio (tied),
3rd Lowest Net Price
Quinsigamond Community College Worcester, MA Two-year, public Associate degrees; less than one year and one- to two-year certificates Lowest Net Price
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA Four-year, private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees 3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Worcester State University Worcester, MA Four-year, public Bachelor's and master's degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Second Lowest Net Price,
3rd Most Program Variety
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