From religious studies to political science, the city of Boston is widely regarded as one of the best cities for higher education in the US. The city has such a high education standard that the best community colleges in Boston can easily compete with four-year universities within and beyond Massachusetts.
Many of the best national schools are near Boston, such as Quincy College and Harvard University. The city’s community colleges have developed partnerships and transfer agreements with these universities to provide top-notch education to students. Continue reading for an overview of the wide variety of the best Boston community college programs available.
How Many Community Colleges Are in Boston?
There are 15 community colleges in and around the Boston area. Five community colleges are within the city limits, while 13 others are within a 50-mile radius of the city.
What Is the Biggest Community College in Boston?
The biggest community college in Boston is Bunker Hill Community College. Bunker Hill enrolls more than 19,000 students annually and has a 19:1 student-faculty ratio. The college offers over 100 programs through different learning formats.
What Are the Best Community Colleges in Boston?
|Ranking||Community College||Graduation Rate||Student-to-Faculty Ratio|
|1||Urban College of Boston||30%||10:1|
|2||Roxbury Community College||28%||15:1|
|3||North Shore Community College||22%||12:1|
|4||Quinsigamond Community College||20%||15:1|
|5||Bunker Hill Community College||15%||19:1|
The Best Community Colleges in Boston: Explained
The best community colleges in Boston offer some of the most popular associate degree programs of study in the city. They are notable for their transfer degree programs, which allow students to easily continue their education at a four-year university. This section covers details about each college to help aid you in your school search.
Best Online Community Colleges in Boston
- Fisher College. Fisher College offers several fully-online certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and graduate programs. These academic programs are affordable, flexible, and convenient for online students.
- Middlesex Community College. Middlesex Community College is an award winner in online learning. It provides various forms of online learning, including asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid online programs. Middlesex offers hundreds of online associate degrees, certificates, and individual courses.
- Bristol Community College. Bristol Community College has one of the largest online and digital learning facilities in the Greater Boston area. It offers 10 online associate degrees, four online certificate programs, and more than 30 hybrid programs.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Other Boston Community College Rankings
Each of the best community colleges in Boston has a unique advantage over other options. Some community colleges are better than others regarding transfer prospects or program offerings. Additionally, certain community colleges offer more advanced certificates and degrees, which are uncommon for many colleges.
Best Community Colleges in Boston for Transfer
- Bunker Hill Community College. Bunker Hill offers transfer options for nearly all of its academic programs. The school also has the added benefit of affiliated scholarships with several top four-year universities in Boston. Schools like Boston University and University of Massachusetts award scholarships to eligible Bunker Hill transfer students.
- Roxbury Community College. This institution has seven general transfer agreements with four-year universities, including Lesley University and Northeastern University. In addition, RCC has more than 20 program-specific transfer agreements with several other universities.
- Mount Wachusett Community College. Mount Wachusett Community College offers in-person and online postgraduate courses for associate degree holders. These courses prepare students for a bachelor’s degree at any of the 25 universities that have a transfer agreement with the college.
Best Community Colleges for Business Administration in Boston
- Quinsigamond Community College. QCC has several business-related programs, including an Associate Degree in Business Administration program. These programs provide both transfer and entry-level career options and may be pursued online.
- Bay State College. Students favor the business administration program at Bay State College because of the abundant employment opportunities available after graduation. Companies such as the Bank of America, Raytheon Technologies, and Brooks Brothers employ Bay State business administration graduates.
- Greenfield Community College. Greenfield Community College offers its business administration transfer associate degree in small class sizes. While attending Greenfield Community College’s rigorous program, students can also earn the Management Certificate, which improves their career prospects.
Best Boston Community Colleges That Offer Bachelor’s Degrees
- Bay State College. Bay State College offers six bachelor’s programs in addition to its associate and certificate programs. Students can major in management, information technology, nursing, fashion, and criminal justice. Bay State offers very affordable bachelor’s degrees compared to conventional universities.
- Fisher College. Fisher College is a well-rounded community college that offers associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. There are more than 20 bachelor’s programs to choose from in various subjects including, sports management, digital marketing, journalism, and psychology.
Best Associate Degrees
Best Community College Programs in Boston
Boston’s best community college programs are also the most popular, and for good reason. These programs are nearly ubiquitous in all community colleges in the district. They are also some of the best transfer programs in high-demand fields.
Nearly all community colleges in Boston offer an academic nursing program. You can obtain a certificate, Associate of Arts, or Associate of Science in Nursing. Nursing is an important aspect of healthcare. As such, all nursing programs feature a stringent final evaluation and comprehensive review of studies.
Massachusetts is home to the famed Harvard Business School and the MIT Sloan School of Business. Boston’s community colleges are not behind in this regard, as they offer various forms of business programs. Many are partner programs that allow students to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration while continuing studies in the community college.
Early Childhood Education
According to US News & World Report, Massachusetts is the second-best state for early childhood education. Boston aims to improve this standard through the numerous early childhood education programs offered in its community colleges. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care approves all degrees and certificates obtained from this type of program.
The cyber security programs offered in Boston community colleges train students to become computer and network security professionals. This program is a popular choice for undergraduates in Boston community colleges. Moreover, these schools also partner with some of the best cyber security bootcamps to provide intensive, hands-on, online courses to students.
There are nearly 20 universities in Massachusetts that offer engineering degrees, chief among them being Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Therefore, it is unsurprising that most Boston community colleges offer various engineering programs. These programs teach the fundamentals of engineering in preparation for a four-year engineering program.
Boston Community College Admission Requirements
The admission requirements to attend a community college in Boston are not as demanding as those for four-year universities. However, Boston has an educational standard to uphold, so you must be academically sound to enroll in a community college program. This section explains some of the admission requirements you must satisfy to attend a Boston community college.
Boston Community College GPA Requirements
Most community colleges in Boston require a minimum high school GPA between 2.0 and 2.7. This value is below the national average of 3.0. Furthermore, many colleges have an open admissions policy, wherein anyone can apply, no matter their previous GPA or coursework.
Residency Requirements for Community Colleges in Boston
Your Massachusetts residency status plays an important role in your community college education. The most important restriction is tuition and fees. Nearly all community colleges in Boston stipulate higher fees for out-of-district and out-of-state students. This disparity is because the families of in-state students pay taxes to the state, and therefore they have subsidized tuition.
Boston colleges consider you a resident if you are a US citizen, and you or your sponsor have lived in Massachusetts for at least six months In addition, you must show proof of your intention to be a permanent Massachusetts resident. However, you can get a time waiver if you are an Armed Forces member stationed in Massachusetts.
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Boston Community College Age Requirements
The minimum age for enrolling in a Boston community college is 18 years. The school assumes that the applicant has obtained a high school diploma at this age. However, you can request an age waiver if you are younger than 18 and have your diploma. Some community colleges allow high school students younger than 18 to attend classes in concurrent enrollment programs.
Boston Community College Admission Requirements: A Summary
- Massachusetts residency
- Minimum high school GPA
- At least 18 years of age at the time of admission
- High school diploma or equivalent
Why Study in Boston?
Boston is one of the best cities for a college education in the US. With more than 50 colleges in the Boston area, it’s no wonder there are many college-age residents and a lively social scene in the city. Boston has a rich arts and culture atmosphere and is at the center of many notable events in US history.
Two of the best universities in the country, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are just across the river in Cambridge. Many community colleges in Boston offer transfer programs to these schools and other top colleges. These programs provide an easy pathway to obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university.
Boston’s small size and public transportation infrastructure make it a conducive learning environment. Most colleges are within walking distance from residential areas, and the superb subway system aids in commuting to farther schools. Boston also boasts an extensive network of trains, trams, and buses that nearly eliminate the need for a car.
Arts and Culture
Boston is a leading cultural center in the US and features several music and theater events. These cultural events have subsidized attendance costs for any college student possessing a valid student identification card. You can also obtain the college card for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at an affordable upfront cost, which enables you to attend BSO performances at no further charge.
Boston Employment Outlook for Community College Students
Boston boasts exceptional statistics in terms of graduate employment. Many companies, such as Boston Dynamics and Fidelity investments, are headquartered in Boston. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boston has witnessed a five percent employment rate increase over the last year. This increase is more than the national average of nearly five percent.
Most Boston colleges offer two forms of academic programs, which include transfer degrees and career degrees. The career degree option features a rigorous program that prepares students to join the job market upon graduation. Boston is an ideal environment for these kinds of programs because of numerous internship opportunities from resident companies.
5 In-Demand Boston Jobs
As an educational city, Boston offers jobs that reflect the most popular academic programs in its colleges and universities. These jobs have lucrative salaries that are much higher than the national average and offer fantastic work benefits. Some of the most in-demand jobs in Boston include nursing, kindergarten teaching, information security analysts, and management.
What Community Colleges in Boston Have Dorms?
Unfortunately, no community college in Boston has a dormitory. However, this is not unique to Boston, as most community colleges in the US do not offer on-campus housing. Community colleges are established within neighborhoods to provide affordable and convenient education to students who commute from their homes. Campus housing would very likely increase the cost of education.
However, more community colleges are expanding their scope by admitting out-of-state and international students. Accordingly, they are making provisions for on-campus housing and affordable apartments within walking distance of the school grounds.
What Community Colleges Offer Winter Intersession in Boston?
A winter intersession is an academic session between the fall and spring semesters. It generally lasts for two to three weeks and allows students to complete a full course. The list below contains some of the community colleges in Boston that offer a winter intersession.
Boston Community Colleges With Winter Intersession
- Bunker Hill Community College
- Holyoke Community college
- Massachusetts Bay Community College
- Massasoit Community College
- Middlesex Community College
What Community Colleges in Boston Have Summer Classes?
Most community colleges in Boston have summer classes. Summer classes enable you to complete courses and obtain a certificate within the summer months of June to August. They can also help you obtain a regular two-year degree faster as you can complete your required credits during that period.
Boston Community Colleges With Summer Classes
- Bunker Hill Community College
- Holyoke Community College
- Massachusetts Bay Community College
- Massasoit Community College
- Northern Essex Community College
How to Apply to Community College in Boston
You can apply to a community college in Boston by following the guidelines listed on the application portal for your chosen school. Many community colleges in Boston belong to the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, which means that they share a similar application process. The list below outlines the steps to follow when applying to these colleges.
Boston Community College Application Steps
- Create an account on the online application portal.
- Fill out your application and submit all the required documents.
- Apply for financial aid through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Register for your classes.
- Attend the orientation for new students.
Cost of Community Colleges in Boston
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of community college in Boston costs $5,336. The exact amount you’ll pay for tuition depends on the number of credits you take and your residency status. Many community college programs do not last up to a year, so some schools list their tuition on a per-credit basis, ranging anywhere from $200 to $300 per credit.
Are Community Colleges Ever Free in Boston?
Yes, community colleges can be free in Boston. The city recognizes the importance of a college education and offers to pay for up to three years of tuition for low-income students. The city aids eligible students through the Tuition-Free Community College Plan.
Which Community Colleges Are Free in Boston?
There are five community colleges in Boston that are partnered with the Tuition-Free Community College Plan. These colleges include Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Urban College of Boston, and Massasoit Community College.
Who Qualifies for Free Community College in Boston?
Low-income students who satisfy the Tuition-Free Community College Plan requirements qualify for free college in Boston. Some of these requirements include graduating from a Boston high school, having a minimum GPA of 2.0, enrolling in a three-year community college program, and being a Boston resident.
How to Apply for Free Community College in Boston
- Apply to one of the schools under the Tuition-Free Community College Plan.
- Promptly register for classes.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- Fill out the online application for the Tuition-Free Community College Plan.
Scholarships for Community Colleges in Boston
There are numerous scholarships for community colleges in Boston. This reflects the value Boston places on free and accessible education. Consequently, various state and independent organizations partner with the city to financially aid deserving students. The following sections outline the scholarship options available to you and with details for applying.
How to Get a Scholarship for Community Colleges in Boston
- Research the scholarships available to students at your community college.
- Ensure you satisfy the eligibility criteria.
- Fill out the scholarship application form.
- Submit an application essay, if required.
- Maintain a good academic standing for the duration of your scholarship.
Boston Community College Scholarships List
- BHCC Academic Excellence Award for Continuing Students | Amount: $5,280. This scholarship is only available to Bunker Hill Community College students with a GPA of 3.75 or higher. It covers only one semester, and awardees must renew it periodically. Students can apply by submitting a 500-word essay.
- The City of Boston Scholarship Fund | Amount: $5,000-$10,000. Every year, the city of Boston awards this scholarship to ten students attending any higher learning institution within the city. This fund covers a four-year duration for new students and a two-year duration for continuing students.
- Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Program | Amount: N/A. This scholarship is available to any public college or university student in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that comes from a rural community. The award is based on merit and financial need, and the overall amount varies based on income levels.
Other Boston Community College Financial Aid Options
Aside from merit-based aid, other Boston community college financial aid options include federal and state grants, student loans, and work-study programs. The following list explains each of the financial aid programs available to you as a community college student.
Federal grants are similar to student loans, but they usually do not have to be repaid. They are only given to students who demonstrate financial need and satisfy eligibility requirements. You can apply for a federal grant through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.
The state of Massachusetts provides the MASSGrant and MASSGrant Plus financial aid to undergraduate students. The amount these grants award depends on the student’s estimated family contribution (EFC). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also provides the Cash Access Grant to resident undergraduates with no prior bachelor’s degree or professional education.
A student loan is a popular method for financing college in the US. Student loans are available to most college students regardless of financial background or social status. The federal government provides subsidized student loans wherein interest does not accrue. However, private institutions accumulate interest over the debt period.
Work-study programs provide part-time employment to low-income college students to help them pay for their studies. As an undergraduate in a Boston community college, the work-study program pays you by the hour. You can either apply for the federal work-study program or a local school work-study program.
The Best Financial Aid for Your Situation
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What Are the Financial Aid Requirements for Community Colleges in Boston?
The financial aid requirements for community colleges in Boston are similar to the requirements stipulated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In fact, most community colleges in the city require you to be eligible for federal aid before applying for any school aid. Other financial aid requirements common to Boston community colleges are outlined below.
Boston Financial Aid Requirements: Overview
- Must be a Massachusetts resident
- Maintain a stipulated GPA or above throughout your program
- Have a low to moderate family income
- Must be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant
Should You Attend Community College in Boston?
Yes, you should attend community college in Boston. Aside from being one of the best cities for education, Boston is also an industrial city and pioneers several business and technological advancements. This means that there are lucrative job opportunities for community college graduates. Further, many Massachusetts state universities provide exclusive scholarships to graduates from Boston community colleges.
Boston Community College Rankings: Methodology
Our ranking of Boston community colleges is mainly based on graduation rates. If graduation rate statistics were not available, we used data on student-to-faculty ratios to rank the remaining schools. These figures, sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), best reflect a student’s chances of getting the education and help they need to succeed.
Best Accelerated Degrees
Best Boston Community Colleges FAQ
Boston community colleges are funded through subsidies from the state of Massachusetts, student tuition, and other internally generated revenue. State funding constitutes the largest source, followed by student tuition. Internal revenue comes from local property tax, student debt repayment, grants, and endowments from public and private organizations.
Yes, you can attend a Boston community college as a part-time student. The academic programs offered by these colleges are flexible enough to allow you to work part-time.
The best financial aid option for a Boston community college is a federal grant. This grant is available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Unlike other financial aid options like scholarships, this option does not require you to be a Boston resident or even a US citizen. Moreover, the federal government does not require you to repay the grant provided to you.
You should further your education after completing a community college program. A bachelor’s degree offers better job opportunities than an associate degree or a certificate. Fortunately, most associate degree programs in Boston have transfer options that allow you to obtain a bachelor’s degree from some of the best universities in Massachusetts.
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