50-50 Highlights: Colleges in the Boston Area

Boston park and skyline representing colleges in BostonGoing to college in Boston isn’t just for high school valedictorians, those with 10 AP classes on their transcripts, or those with test scores in the 90th percentile or higher. It’s only natural that you would assume so with names like Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Boston College, Wellesley, Northeastern, and Brandies dominating the higher education neighborhood. However, learning really is for everyone and there are 36 colleges in the greater Boston area with 500 or more full-time undergraduates. You do the math. Furthermore, a third of them are 50-50 colleges.

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Colleges in Boston (list below)

By greater Boston area I’m referring to the Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) which actually includes parts of New Hampshire. This is why the University of New Hampshire is included on the list. Now I know some of you are saying “wait a minute, we’re talking about crossing state lines here.”

Yes we are. It’s about 1 1/2 hours from Boston. A bit of a drive, no doubt. But that’s the reality of most metro areas. And I’m willing to bet that UNH’s career center and alumni are plenty well connected to Boston’s Route 128.

The 12 50-50 colleges range from size to just under 600 to over 12,000 full-time undergraduates. All are residential campuses. Three are some form of test optional and one has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

“Bargain” Prices on Boston Area Colleges

The really nice thing is that none of the 50-50 private colleges (7) are over $60,000 a year. (I know, this is what it has come to.) Five are actually under $50,000 a year and two of the public schools have out-of-state tuition under $33,000. At least 4 of these are good candidates for merit aid. Two of the private colleges have an average net price below $30,000 and only two are above $35,000.

Colleges of the Fenway

Four of the 50-50 Colleges are part of Colleges of the Fenway. Students at member colleges can cross-register at other institutions, participate in intramurals, or take part in a common performing arts program. The Colleges of Fenway share a Global Education Opportunities Center and a Center for Sustainability & Environment. There’s more than one way to be an undergraduate in Boston.

The following table list 50-50 Colleges in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton CBSA area. As usual, the 4-year graduation rate is used for private schools and the 5-year rate for public. The DIYCollegeRankings spreadsheet lists this information and much more for all Boston area schools.


50-50 Colleges in Boston


Name Type State City Full-time Under-grads 4/5 yr Grad Rate % Freshman Receiving Pell Grants Avg Net Price After Gift Aid (2016-2017)
Bridgewater State University Public MA Bridgewater 7,838 53 39 $16,667
Emmanuel College Private MA Boston 1,811 60 29 $31,448
Endicott College Private MA Beverly 2,943 76 15 $35,097
Framingham State University Public MA Framingham 3,548 52 40 $19,312
Gordon College Private MA Wenham 1,527 61 22 $30,888
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Public MA Boston 1,662 70 29 $22,043
MCPHS University Private MA Boston 3,610 52 33 $38,708
Merrimack College Private MA North Andover 3,323 68 20 $33,202
Simmons College Private MA Boston 1,548 68 28 $29,690
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Public MA Lowell 10,509 52 26 $18,375
University of New Hampshire Public NH Durham 12,615 76 21 $22,888
Wheelock College Private MA Boston 594 57 45 $28,829
50-50 Highlights: Colleges in the Boston Area

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