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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. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Best Value in Massachusetts Schools ranking - to help you make that 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 analysis found University of Massachusetts Amherst to be the best school for overall value in Massachusetts in this year’s ranking. 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 yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,670. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst is $102,134. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.0%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full University of Massachusetts Amherst Report

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#2

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Out of the 64 schools in Massachusetts that were part of this year’s ranking, Massachusetts Maritime Academy landed the #2 spot on the list. Maritime is a small public school situated in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. It awarded 391 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Maritime, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $24,397. This means that the average student pays around $104,175 to get a bachelor’s degree from Maritime. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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%.

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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. Fitchburg State is located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 815 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Fitchburg State is 4.4 years, and it costs about $21,306 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Fitchburg State is $94,599. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The school came in at #4 in Massachusetts on this year’s best value ranking. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the small public school handed out 341 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design about 4.2 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $24,322. This means that the average student pays around $102,639 to get a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

With a freshman retention rate of 87%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students.

Full Massachusetts College of Art and Design Report

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#5

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Massachusetts - Lowell. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts list. UMass Lowell is a public institution located in Lowell, Massachusetts. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,906 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at UMass Lowell about 4.5 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $26,214. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from UMass Lowell is $117,177. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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

Full University of Massachusetts - Lowell Report

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#6

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams, Massachusetts

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts landed the #6 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. MCLA is a public institution located in North Adams, Massachusetts. The school has a small population, and it awarded 310 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At MCLA, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,817. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from MCLA is $92,068. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#7

Westfield State University

Westfield, Massachusetts

Westfield State University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Westfield, Massachusetts is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,555 students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Westfield about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $23,033. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Westfield is about $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 ranked #8 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Worcester, Massachusetts is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,217 students in 2018-2019.

At Worcester State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and it costs about $22,789 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State is $100,044. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#9

Olin College

Needham, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #9, Olin College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Olin College is located in Needham, Massachusetts and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 78 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at Olin College graduates in less than 4.2 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $40,248. 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 Olin College is $168,639. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

With a freshman retention rate of 99%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Olin College did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #5 on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

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#10

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked #10 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,333 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at MIT is 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $44,027. This means that the average student pays around $180,951 to get a bachelor’s degree from MIT. 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 did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #2 on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

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#11

Clark University

Worcester, Massachusetts

Clark University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #11. Worcester, Massachusetts is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 662 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Clark graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $36,636. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Clark is $149,841. 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 86%.

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#12

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

North Dartmouth, Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts ranking. 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.

The average student at UMass Dartmouth graduates in less than 4.4 years, and it costs about $26,028 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UMass Dartmouth is $115,564. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#13

Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Amherst is located in Amherst, Massachusetts and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 705 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at Amherst graduates in less than 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $46,496. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Amherst is about $190,634. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.4% 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%. Amherst did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #4 on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

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#14

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Massachusetts

Mount Holyoke College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #14. Mt. Holyoke is a small private not-for-profit school situated in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It awarded 683 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Mt. Holyoke graduates in less than 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $43,806. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Mt. Holyoke is $178,290. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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%.

Full Mount Holyoke College Report

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#15

Gordon College

Wenham, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #15, Gordon College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. 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 on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $32,171. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College is $135,118. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.2%, which is quite low when compared to the national default 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.

It takes the average student at Williams about 4.1 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $48,700. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Williams is $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%. In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, Williams is ranked #3 for overall quality in Massachusetts.

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#17

Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Bridgewater State University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts ranking. Bridgewater State is a public institution located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,306 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at Bridgewater State to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $24,441. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State is $109,496. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#18

Stonehill College

Easton, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #18, Stonehill College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Easton, Massachusetts is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 719 students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Stonehill is 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $39,934. 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 Stonehill is $162,132. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The low student loan default rate of 1.7% 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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#19

Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts

Smith College landed the #19 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking. Smith is a private not-for-profit institution located in Northampton, Massachusetts. The school has a small population, and it awarded 798 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Smith, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $45,232. This means that the average student pays around $184,547 to get a bachelor’s degree from Smith. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students.

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#19

Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #19, Simmons University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Boston, Massachusetts is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 543 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at Simmons to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $37,065. 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 Simmons is $150,113. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#21

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, Massachusetts

With a ranking of #21, College of the Holy Cross did quite well on the 2021 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.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at Holy Cross to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $50,566. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross is about $204,792. 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 95%. In addition to its great value ranking, Holy Cross is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list.

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#22

Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #22. Wellesley is a private not-for-profit institution located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The school has a small population, and it awarded 754 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Wellesley, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 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.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Wellesley also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges in Massachusetts ranking.

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#23

Framingham State University

Framingham, Massachusetts

Framingham State University ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. This medium-sized public school is located in Framingham, Massachusetts, and it awarded 862 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Framingham State about 4.3 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $23,954. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Framingham State be around $103,481. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#24

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Massachusetts list. Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,902 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Harvard to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $53,528. This means that the average student pays around $221,071 to get a bachelor’s degree from Harvard. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Harvard also made our Best Colleges in Massachusetts list, coming in at #1.

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#25

Salem State University

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Massachusetts ranking, coming in at #25. Salem, Massachusetts is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,672 students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Salem State graduates in less than 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $24,855. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Salem State is about $109,859. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

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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