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2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts

64 Colleges
$34,221 Avg Cost*
4.2 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

It's not easy to decide which college to attend when you have so many options available. College Factual has developed its Best Value Massachusetts Schools ranking as one tool you can use to help make this decision.

After analyzing 64 schools, we came up with our list of those that were the best for overall value in Massachusetts. Quality is an important component in this ranking, so it is not just naming the schools with the cheapest price tag. Instead, it is identifying those institutions that offer the most value when taking their educational quality into consideration. Because of this, it is possible for one college to rank better than another, even if the latter college has a lower average cost.

Find out more about our ranking methodology.

When determining average cost, we look at total expenses, such as tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses, and then deduct the average amount of financial aid awarded to a student. This estimate is meant to give you a better picture of how much money you'll have to pay each year, either through self-pay, loans, or external scholarships.

One Size Does Not Fit All

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors, such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those seeking diversity and overall quality.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. If you're torn between two schools, you can use it to help you see how they stack up against one another!

Top Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

Our 2021 rankings named University of Massachusetts Amherst the best school for overall value in Massachusetts for students working on their bachelor’s degree. UMass Amherst is located in Amherst, Massachusetts and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 6,878 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at UMass Amherst to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $24,670. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst is about $102,134. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students.

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#2

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

A rank of #2 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list means Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Maritime is located in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 391 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Maritime to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,397. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Maritime is $104,175. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full Massachusetts Maritime Academy Report

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#3

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Fitchburg State University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Massachusetts. Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the medium-sized public school awarded 815 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Fitchburg State to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,306. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Fitchburg State is about $94,599. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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A rank of #4 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list means Massachusetts College of Art and Design is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Boston, Massachusetts is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 341 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,322. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design be around $102,639. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed.

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#5

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend University of Massachusetts - Lowell. The school came in at #5 in Massachusetts on this year’s best value ranking. University of Massachusetts - Lowell is a fairly large public school located in Lowell, Massachusetts that handed out 2,906 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At UMass Lowell, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.5 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $26,214. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UMass Lowell be around $117,177. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%.

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#6

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #6, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. MCLA is located in North Adams, Massachusetts and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 310 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at MCLA graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,817. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from MCLA be around $92,068. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#7

Westfield State University

Westfield, Massachusetts

Westfield State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #7. Westfield is a medium-sized public school situated in Westfield, Massachusetts. It awarded 1,555 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Westfield graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $23,033. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Westfield is $96,508. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#8

Worcester State University

Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester State University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts ranking. Worcester State is a medium-sized public school situated in Worcester, Massachusetts. It awarded 1,217 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Worcester State about 4.4 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $22,789. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Worcester State is $100,044. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#9

Olin College

Needham, Massachusetts

Olin College landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Olin College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Needham, Massachusetts. It awarded 78 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Olin College about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $40,248. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Olin College is $168,639. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 99%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Olin College also made our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list, coming in at #5.

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#10

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #10. Cambridge, Massachusetts is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,333 students in 2018-2019.

At MIT, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $44,027. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from MIT is $180,951. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The low student loan default rate of 0.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. MIT also made our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list, coming in at #2.

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#11

Clark University

Worcester, Massachusetts

Clark University landed the #11 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Clark is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Worcester, Massachusetts. It awarded 662 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Clark to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $36,636. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Clark be around $149,841. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 86%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students.

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#12

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

North Dartmouth, Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth is a medium-sized public school located in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts that handed out 1,469 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at UMass Dartmouth to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $26,028. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from UMass Dartmouth is about $115,564. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

Full University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth Report

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#13

Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts ranking. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 705 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Amherst to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $46,496. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Amherst is $190,634. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. Amherst not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #4 on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

Full Amherst College Report

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#14

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #14, Mount Holyoke College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Located in South Hadley, Massachusetts, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 683 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Mt. Holyoke is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $43,806. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Mt. Holyoke is $178,290. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The low student loan default rate of 1.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#15

Gordon College

Wenham, Massachusetts

Gordon College landed the #15 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Gordon College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Wenham, Massachusetts. It awarded 497 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Gordon College to complete their degree, and it costs about $32,171 per year to attend the school. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College is $135,118. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#16

Williams College

Williamstown, Massachusetts

Williams College landed the #16 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and it awarded 718 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Williams graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $48,700. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Williams is about $198,696. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 98%. Williams also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges in Massachusetts rankings.

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#17

Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Bridgewater State University ranked #17 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Bridgewater State is located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,306 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

At Bridgewater State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.5 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,441. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State is about $109,496. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#18

Stonehill College

Easton, Massachusetts

Stonehill College came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts ranking. Stonehill College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Easton, Massachusetts that handed out 719 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Stonehill graduates in less than 4.1 years, and it costs about $39,934 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Stonehill is about $162,132. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#19

Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #19, Smith College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Smith is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Northampton, Massachusetts. It awarded 798 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Smith to complete their degree, and it costs about $45,232 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Smith is $184,547. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed.

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#19

Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Simmons University ranked #19 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Simmons University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Boston, Massachusetts that handed out 543 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Simmons is 4.0 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $37,065. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Simmons is about $150,113. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The low student loan default rate of 2.1% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#21

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, Massachusetts

College of the Holy Cross ranked #21 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Holy Cross is located in Worcester, Massachusetts and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 848 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Holy Cross is 4.0 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $50,566. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross be around $204,792. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Holy Cross also did well on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#22

Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley College ranked #22 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Wellesley College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Wellesley, Massachusetts that handed out 754 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Wellesley graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $49,290. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley be around $202,582. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Wellesley also did well on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

Full Wellesley College Report

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#23

Framingham State University

Framingham, Massachusetts

Framingham State University landed the #23 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Framingham State is located in Framingham, Massachusetts and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 862 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at Framingham State graduates in less than 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $23,954. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Framingham State is about $103,481. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#24

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 2,902 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Harvard, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $53,528. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Harvard is $221,071. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 98%. Harvard did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #1 on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

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#25

Salem State University

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem State University landed the #25 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. This medium-sized public school is located in Salem, Massachusetts, and it awarded 1,672 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Salem State about 4.4 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,855. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Salem State is $109,859. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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