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College Admissions: 3 NE Colleges Where You Can Save $60K or Get Free Master’s Degree

Monday, July 24, 2017


Wheaton College

Too many students and families today are struggling to afford college and graduate school, drowning in a sea of loans. The sad thing is that it just isn’t necessary. Here in New England, Clark University, Wheaton College and Wesleyan University are leading the way in offering accelerated degrees while minimizing costs for students. It’s not rocket science; all it takes is thinking outside the box and challenging your traditional thoughts on the timeline for higher education.


First, get out of the mindset that college needs to take 4 years. In England, university is 3 years—period! There is no 4th year, and still Oxford and Cambridge rank among the world’s best universities. So clearly a solid undergraduate education can be accomplished in 3 years. When creating your college list, select schools where you can graduate in 3 years instead of 4. Both Wheaton College in Massachusetts and Wesleyan University in Connecticut have embraced this idea and offer students a simple path to obtain their degree in just 3 years. Although these schools provide a supportive environment for early graduation, some private and most public universities will also allow you to do the same thing; they just don’t advertise it. Maximizing your AP credits upon matriculation and testing out of introductory courses via the College Level Examination Program can help.  Then, understand the core requirements for graduation and plan when you will take the courses necessary to complete your major. Finally, you may need to squeeze a couple of courses in over the summers after freshman and sophomore years. Is it worth it? At many private universities, costs now exceed $60,000 per year, and for in-state students at primary campuses of state universities, costs can top $25,000. 

Clark University

Second, plan to consolidate your Bachelors and Master’s Degrees. If you know you want to get an MBA or Master’s, plan ahead. There are hundreds of accelerated Master’s Degree programs that allow students to graduate with a B.A. or B.S. and Master’s Degree in 5 years. BC, BU, Northeastern, Brown, Brandeis and many other New England universities offer paths for high achieving students to begin Master’s level work in their 4th year of college and graduate with an advanced degree in 5 years. However, only two universities in New England take it one step farther. Clark University in Worcester shattered traditional thinking when they began offering their 5th year FREE. Well, almost; there is no tuition for the 5th year Master’s programs at Clark. Enterprising students can choose from 14 advanced degrees, ranging from an MBA to a Master’s in Teaching or a Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Given that many Master’s programs last 2 years and tuition alone can exceed $80,000, this is an incredible value. Dovetailing on its’ commitment to flexible degree offerings, Wesleyan University also offers students the ability to graduate in 5 years with a Master’s Degree in Psychology, Natural Sciences or Mathematics, and like Clark, the 5th year is tuition FREE.

We spend a lot of time lamenting about higher education costs in the U.S. It’s time to stop whining and start voting with your actions and checkbook. Select colleges and universities that allow you flexibility in graduation requirements and options for advanced accelerated degrees

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic college counseling, SAT prep and athletic recruiting services www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.


Related Slideshow: New England Colleges With the Best Undergraduate Teaching

U.S. News & World Report released a survey conducted in 2013 of college administrators on the best schools for undergraduate teaching. Several New England made their lists for best National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Regional Universities. See which schools made the lists in the slides below: 

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National Universities

9. Brown University

Providence, RI 
Students: 6,435
2013-14 Tuition: $45,612
Admissions: 9.6% Acceptance Rate
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National Universities

5. Yale University 

New Haven, CT
Students: 5,405
2013-14 Tuition: $44,000
Admissions: 7.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Universities

1. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Students: 4,193
2013-14 Tuition: $46,752
Admissions: 9.8% Acceptance Rate
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National Liberal Arts Col

18. Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA 
Students: 2,322
2013-14 Tuition: $41,456
Admissions: 42.1% Acceptance Rate
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Liberal Arts Colleges

9. Amherst College

Amherst, MA
Students: 1,817 
2013-14 Tuition: $46,574
Admissions: 13.0% Acceptance Rate
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Liberal Arts Colleges

5. Williams College

Williamstown, MA
Students: 2,052
2013-14 Tuition: $46,600
Admissions: 17.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

4. Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
Students: 3,879
2013-14 Tuition: $42,920
Admissions: 71.2% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

2. Providence College

Providence, RI
Students: 3,810
2013-14 Tuition: $42,206
Admissions: 61.0%

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