Massachusetts is called the “Cradle of Liberty” for its role in bringing about the American Revolution, but it might as well be called the Cradle of Education.
After all, it was the first state in the U.S. to require towns to establish a local school, it is home to the oldest school of any kind still in operation in North America, and it is home to the oldest college (and women’s college) in the country. These historic roots, however, have only aided in bringing excellent online education options as well.
And Massachusetts isn’t resting on its laurels. The neighborhood of Kendall Square outside of Boston has been called “the most innovative square mile on the planet” because of the amount and quality of start-ups that have emerged from the area. So it makes sense that in 2016, Bloomberg ranked Massachusetts as the Most Innovative State in America.
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What kind of College in Massachusetts should you attend?
With 121 institutions of higher education, the Commonwealth (as Massachusetts is often referred to) offers an extremely wide array of choices for your college education. You’ll have to narrow down your options according to certain criteria that you value the most. How much do you want to spend in tuition? What type of program do you want to attend? Another important step in choosing a college is to consider what kind of location you want to be in: urban, suburban, rural.
Hopefully the list below will help you identify some of the key features that accompany each of these schools in Massachusetts. Another direction you can go, especially if you prioritize flexibility in your education, is to check out the Best Online Colleges in Massachusetts.
How much money can you make with a degree from a College in Massachusetts?
Earning a college degree in Massachusetts is one way to guarantee a solid career and a secure income. Overall, the median income in Massachusetts is a solid $15k higher than the national average. But having an advanced degree just solidifies your chance to be in the top earning bracket.
In fact, our friends over at Payscale.com have figured out that the average person with a bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts earns anywhere from $62k to $71k. And folks with a master’s degree make an average annual salary of $81k. Those figures can fluctuate plus or minus a few thousand, but the big takeaway is that you’ll be earning a comfortable living in Massachusetts after you graduate.
What can you do with a degree from a College in Massachusetts?
An advanced degree can unlock doors for you that you didn’t even know were closed. If you already have a sense for what industry or sector you want to go into, then keep right on truckin’! If you’re having trouble deciding on a career, though, let us help you!
The Boston Business Journal recently came out with a list of the top 25 most in-demand jobs in Massachusetts. Let that be your guide! You can breathe easy, then, knowing that your degree will lead you straight into a job when you graduate. Here’s a look at a few of the jobs from the list:
Information Technology Managers
What are the Best Colleges in Massachusetts?
So how do you go about picking which college to go to? Well, Massachusetts is unique in that 80 percent of its population lives within the Greater Boston area, which means that many of its colleges are located there as well. There’s a reason Boston is called “America’s College Town.”
Then, take a look at our ranking of the Best Colleges in Massachusetts. We’ve put together this ranking to help you decide which colleges match your interests, as well as what you and your family can afford. Each school’s score comes from a consideration of academic quality, based on a variety of statistics including test scores, diversity, and percent of tenured faculty, as well as a consideration of return on investment. Return on investment is essentially a measure of net cost versus how much money you can expect to make early on in your career. Happy searching!
Harvard University is a private, Ivy League research university that was established in 1636, making it the oldest university on this list. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is best known for its system of 79 libraries and for producing eight U.S. presidents, including President Barack Obama. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This is a university that is recognized for its selectivity and for its academic record. It has been nationally and internationally recognized with distinction as one of the best universities in the world by Forbes, the Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. Harvard confers 36 undergraduate degrees, 134 graduate degrees, and 32 professional degrees. Some of the top programs are:
Bachelor of Science in EconomicsBachelor of Arts in HistoryBachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government
The university offers over 200 student organizations, clubs, groups, and intramural sports teams for all students. It has several traditions as well, including the Harvard-Yale Regatta, music festivals, and end-of-term celebrations. While this is a demanding school, campus life is more relaxed, allowing students to unwind after a long day studying.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known as MIT to students, is one of the leading institutions in the country. This is a private, land-grant research university that is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is known for adopting a European polytechnic university teaching model, offering many course online for free, and for its dedication to teaching STEM subjects. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
MIT has the distinction of being one of the largest producers of STEM professionals in the country. This school requires all undergraduate students to undergo the same Core Curriculum, known as the General Institute Requirements, which encompasses maths and sciences for all majors. The university collectively confers 175 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, all which focus on STEM fields of study. Some of the top degree programs include:
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceMaster of Business AdministrationJoint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering (MIT-WHOI Program)
MIT recognizes over 500 student organizations. The institute also provides a ration station, a newspaper, weekly film screenings, and an annual entrepreneurship competition. Student also have the opportunity to take the Independent Activities Period, which is a four-week long optional term that gives students access to different lectures, courses, demonstrations and experiences that they may not find anywhere else.
Amherst College is a private, liberal arts institution that is located in the heart of Amherst, Massachusetts. It is an exclusively undergraduate college that enrolls less than 1,800 students per year. This school holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This university is a member of the Five College Consortium, allowing students to take courses at other member institutions for a flat fee. Students also benefit from an open curriculum, where there are no set sequential formats for degrees and students can pick and choose whatever courses they feel will fulfill the requirements for their degree. Here are some of the top programs:
Bachelor of Science in Computer ScienceBachelor of Arts in EconomicsBachelor of Science in Neuroscience
Student life at Amherst is nothing short of surprising at times; students have more than 140 student groups they can join, including a medieval sword-fighting club, and more.The school is also noted for community service and volunteer services provided by students. Each year, the campus reports more than 5,000 hours of community service and continues to uphold the idea that all students should give back to the city of Amherst and the nation.
Williams College is a private liberal arts institution that is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It has been nationally ranked in the top three best liberal arts college or university rankings by Forbes and the U.S. News and World Report. This college is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This school offers 26 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can also elect to concentrate their studies in an additional 12 academic areas that are not offered as majors but can complement a degree. Online offerings are also available. The top three programs at Williams include:
Bachelor of Science in Computer ScienceBachelor of Science in PsychologyMaster of Art in the History of Art
Williams is home to more than 45 student clubs and organizations, but where the school thrives is its student-run media: the Williams Record newspaper and the schools radio station, 91.9 WCFM. Students also take part in traditions, such as an eight-hour, all-night trivia contest that is conducted at the end of every academic term, right after finals. This allows students to come together and blow off steam after finishing their studies before the break; it also has given rise to new traditions, enabling students to become a part of Williams history.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is a public, land-grant, institution that is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is the flagship university of the University of Massachusetts systems. With a student body of more than 29,000 students, UMass Amherst is the largest public institution in the New England region. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This university offers more than 200 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. These programs are divided into nine schools and colleges, most of which delve into doctoral and student-assisted research. UMass Amherst is a member of the Five College Consortium. Youll find that the top programs include:
Bachelor of Science in Civil EngineeringMaster of Business AdministrationDoctor of Philosophy in Education
The UMass Amherst campus is known as having a bustling art and entertainment venue; here, students can enjoy festivals, art gallery showings, and even live musicals and plays. There are also over 200 registered student organizations at the school, with the most popular having roots in protest and activism, something which the school is well known for. Also available for students is a student organization, political groups, and volunteer opportunities.
Tufts University is a private, non-profit research university that was founded in 1852, making it one of the oldest universities in the state. It has the distinction of being one of the best schools in Massachusetts for students interested in public service and international relations. It is located in Medford, Massachusetts and holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school confers over 80 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels across two undergraduate schools and eight graduate colleges. Students can also get professional-level degrees from the law school and the medical school. Online courses and degrees are also available. Three of the most popular programs include:
Bachelor of Science in Civil EngineeringMaster of Public AdministrationDoctor of Medicine
Tufts has a long and storied history when it comes to student activism; it was a center for Civil Rights activism in the late 1960s and continues that tradition today. Students organize and protest on a multitude of issues, including politics, climate change, and humanitarian issues. This is carried over into the student-run media, and therefore Tufts is a great university for any student who wants to become an agent of change.
Boston College is a private, non-profit, Jesuit Catholic research institution that is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. It is affiliated with the Jesuit Order of the Roman Catholic Church and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This school has an undergraduate program that is currently ranked in the top 50 national universities by U.S. News and World Report. It delivers more than 150 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate across nine schools and colleges; these include the Boston College Law School and the Carroll School of Management. Top programs within these academic schools include:
Bachelor of Science in NursingMaster of Business AdministrationJuris Doctor
Student media is a hallmark of campus life at Boston College. It has six newspapers, three broadcasting stations, three journals, an undergraduate literary magazine, and a yearbook. Students are welcome to participate in any of these media publications; college credit may be received for exemplary work, depending on the students program of study.
Wellesley College is a private, womens liberal arts college that is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It is a member of the original Seven Sisters Colleges that was a consortium of all womens institutions. It is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This university has been ranked in the top five for best liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review, both for its academic offerings and for its world-class faculty. This school currently hosts over 50 degree programs at all levels of education, including dual degree programs with Harvard, MIT, and Babson College. Some of the top degree programs include:
Bachelor of Science in NursingBachelor of Arts in Education, Early Childhood EducationMaster of Science in Civil Engineering, Dual Degree with Olin School of Engineering
Nearly all Wellesley students live on campus, which offers the school the chance to provide a welcoming and inviting atmosphere to the entire student bodies. There is even an optional French-language home that provides students with the chance to practice the language. Wellesley also has over 180 student organizations; however, Greek life is not represented on campus.
Northeastern University is one of the best schools in Massachusetts for students interested in partaking in research. This is a private research university that is located in Boston, Massachusetts, with an R1 institution distinction by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This university offers a combined total of over 190 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Certifications, study abroad opportunities, and student research can also be found at this school. This university puts a strong emphasis on experiential learning experiences, encouraging students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems. The top three programs are:
Bachelor of Science in Business AdministrationBachelor of Science in NursingDoctor of Pharmacy
Northeastern has an astounding list of student organizations, clubs, intramural sports teams, fraternities, and sororities available for all students. Many departments have professional association chapters that are represented on campus; however, interest groups and drama clubs are also popular. Students will never have to go far to find something of interest to do on campus.
Boston University is a private, nonsectarian research university that is historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school is located in Boston, Massachusetts and is home to over 33,000 students each year; it is also one of the citys largest employers. This university is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
Boston University confers over 200 degrees at all levels of education across eighteen schools and two colleges on sister campuses in the city. Students can also obtain graduate business, dental, law, and medical degrees here. The school is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education. Three of the top degree programs include:
Bachelor of Arts in Business AdministrationDoctor of MedicineJuris Doctor
The school is known for having a thriving student life, including a strong tradition in student-run media. The school currently lists at least 12 publications, some of them independent endeavors, that can be found online or on campus for free for all students. In fact, many of the schools departments have their own journals and newspapers, allowing for students to get industry-specific news on a weekly basis.
Brandeis University is a private research institution that is non-sectarian in nature yet is supported by a welcoming Jewish community. The school is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Association of American Universities and the Boston Consortium. This university is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This university confers undergraduate degrees in 43 major areas of study and over 25 degrees at the graduate level. Brandeis is also home to the renown Heller School for Social Policy and Management, one of the leading institutions for social work and international development. Additionally, online course and programs are offered for students who study on campus or take courses through the Boston Consortium. Some of the top degree programs are:
Bachelor of Arts in Special EducationMaster of Social WorkMaster of Business Administration
Brandeis is home to over 270 student organizations and half a dozen student-run media publications. Greek life is not sponsored nor recognized by the school; however, a large majority of students still affiliate with certain chapters. Multicultural and activist groups are among the most popular at the university, including political groups that were created by the student government.
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is a public, urban research institution that is a member of the University of Massachusetts System. It is located in Lowell, Massachusetts, and is the second-largest institution in the state. This school holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This university offers just over 200 degree programs at all levels of education. Many of the programs, including criminal justice and STEM sciences, are nationally recognized as one of the best in the country. Students can also elect to take some courses online, with a growing list of online programs available on the schools virtual portal. Youll find top degree programs such as:
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical EngineeringMaster of Business AdministrationDoctor of Education, Educational Leadership and Administration
UMass Lowell currently recognizes more than 200 student-run organizations on its campus. These include WUML, the student-run station, the Off-Broadway Players, the Marching Band, and the Greek Council, which oversees Greek life on campus. In addition, students are treated to free entertainment shows, lecture series, political discussions, and traditions.
Babson College is an interesting addition to this list, as it is the only private business school that has made this ranking. It was established in 1919 in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has a reputation for being the most prestigious college to earn an entrepreneurship degree from in the entire country. It is regionally accredited by the NEASC and holds independent accreditation by AACSB International.
There are over 15 areas of concentration at the undergraduate level; Babson only confers the Bachelor of Science for its students. There are also six graduate programs, most of which come with further concentrations, and all are taught with an entrepreneurial methodology, meaning that students must often find their own answers rather than looking for it in a book. Heres a look at the top three degrees:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with ConcentrationsMaster of Business AdministrationMaster of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership
Babsons students benefit from having over 100 student clubs and organizations available to them at any given time. These groups are as diverse as the student body, ensuring that every student will be able to find at least one group that meets their need. Additionally, Babson encourages students to create their own organization if there is a need that has yet to be filled by an existing organization.
Bentley University is a private institution that was first established as an accounting and finance school in 1917. Now it is a comprehensive university that specializes in business and banking programs. This school is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, and holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school confers over 15 undergraduate degrees, two graduate degrees with 15 areas of concentration, and two doctoral degrees. The majority of these programs focus on accounting, finance, and business; however, it is possible for students to focus on public policy or economics. Online courses are available, but options are limited and no degrees are available through the online portal. The top three most popular degrees are:
Bachelor of Science in Actuarial ScienceMaster of Business AdministrationMaster of Science, Master of Business Administration Dual Degree
Sports are a big part of life at Bentley, allowing students to take friendly competition outside of the classroom and onto the field. Intramural sports programs are very popular, with the majority of students taking part in at least one sport throughout the academic year. Alternatively, students can take up a position at one of the schools student-run media organizations. These include a newspaper, television channel, literary magazine, radio station, and an independent record label.
Framingham State University is a public institution that is located in Framingham Massachusetts. It has been named a Green College by the Princeton Review, an honor given with distinction to just 22 schools in the state. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
The university offers more than 50 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education. These include programs in a variety of fields, including art, finance, food and nutrition, and more. FSU has also offered online courses since 1998, longer than any other school on this list. The three most popular degrees include:
Bachelor of Science in NursingMaster of Business AdministrationMaster of Education, Curriculum and Instruction
This is one of the best universities in Massachusetts for students who are interested in a vibrant campus life. FSU supports more than 60 student clubs and organizations, including student-run media, commuter services, and a full calendar of campus events every academic year. Students can also take part in the Student Involvement and Leadership Development program, an opportunity that was created to give students the chance to prepare to become leaders before moving out into the workforce.
Westfield State University is one of the best universities in Massachusetts for educators. This is a public, comprehensive, four-year institution that is located in Westfield, Massachusetts. This university is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This school offers over 70 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level, and the list is still growing. Westfield is continually adding degrees and improving old programs, ensuring that students are getting the most recent education on the field of study they have chosen to pursue as a career. Students will benefit from small class sizes and a campus that only allows full-time faculty to teach courses. Heres a peek at a few popular programs:
Bachelor of Special EducationMaster of Social WorkMaster of Education
Students can choose from over 75 active student organizations to take part in, including arts and entertainment groups, student government, and student-run media. Honor societies also present on campus and represent most of the programs available at the school. This is a great school for sociable and ambitious students.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a public state university that specializes in providing degrees in maritime-related fields. It was established in 1891 and is the oldest continuously operating maritime academy in the country. This school is located in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, and is regionally accredited by NEASC.
The school confers 7 maritime-related undergraduate degrees and 2 degrees at the graduate level. Students in USCG licensed majors must complete four seagoing experiences, three of which are aboard the USTS Kennedy and one which is aboard a commercial vessel. Additionally, all students will learn valuable leadership skills while part of the Academys Regiment of Cadets, which is very similar to the organization of ROTC, in which students will supervise each other in various duties. The three top degrees are:
Bachelor of Science in Marine EngineeringBachelor of Science in Facilities EngineeringBachelorof Science in Marine Transportation
Campus life at the Academy is regimented and follows a set schedule put into place to teach students how life is like at sea. Physical fitness training and chores are required to be completed by each student, and most activities at the Academy pertain to maritime fields of interest.
Bridgewater State University is a public liberal arts institution that is a member of the University of Massachusetts System. It is located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, with two satellite campuses in the state. The school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This school confers 25 undergraduate degrees and 12 graduate degrees, with the most common program being education. Students will also find various other programs that are independently accredited by national associations, thus adding to the growing academic reputation of this college. Online programs are not yet available at this school but are being planned for the very near future. Youll find a number of strong degree programs, including:
Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with LicensureMaster of Education, Educational Leadership, Special Education AdministratorMaster of Business Administration
Student life at Bridgewater State is vibrant; the school offers over 160 clubs and organizations that students can join, including the Student Government Association. Fraternities and sororities are also represented on state, both from Greek life and honor associations. Additionally, students can join campus media, such as the newspaper and the radio station, both of which are completely student-run and provide excellent opportunities for leadership experience.
Emerson College is a private, comprehensive institution that specializes in communications. This school is located in the Washington Street Theatre District in Boston Massachusetts. It is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
There are only two schools at Emerson: the School of Communications and the School of the Arts. Students can choose from 27 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate degree programs, all of which relates to communications; because of this, it will come as no surprise that Emerson is known as the School of the Oratory. Heres a glance at some of the top degree programs:
Bachelor of Science in Marketing CommunicationMaster of Arts in Publishing and WritingMaster of Arts in Global Marketing Communication and Advertising
Emerson offers a variety of organizations campus, most of which relate to the Arts or are multicultural in nature. These groups are either maintained and run by the student government or specific departments. The school is also home to the EVVY Awards, the schools annual awards show for student achievement within the various disciplines.
Fitchburg State University is a public institution that makes its home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It is a comprehensive university with four campuses across the state that prides itself on academic excellence and an intimate atmosphere. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
Fitchburg State offers over 56 areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels; pre-professional programs are also available, including Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing. In addition, students can also take advantage of evening and online courses, all of which are provided by the school in order to support working students and their educational needs. The most popular degrees here are:
Bachelor of Science in NursingMaster of Business AdministrationMaster of Science in Industrial Technology
There are over 60 recognized student organizations at Fitchburg, including humanitarian groups, political associations, and intramural sports teams. Students can also become a part of the schools student-run media newspaper and radio station staffs.
Worcester State University is one of the best universities in Massachusetts. This is a liberal arts and sciences university that is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester State holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school is nationally ranked as a Best Value university by the Princeton Review owing to the affordability and the exceptional programs provided here. Students can choose from over 60 undergraduate areas of study and 31 graduate programs, all designed specifically to prepare students to become leaders in whatever field they choose. In addition, online education offerings are also becoming available. Heres a look at the most popular degree programs:
Bachelor of Science in PsychologyMaster of Education, Curriculum and InstructionMaster of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator Specialization
Student life at Worcester State is enhanced by the student groups and organizations that are provided for on campus. There are over 30 registered student organizations, leadership programs, and commuter services, all built to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for all students.
Simmons College is a private womens college that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. It provides a womens-only undergraduate education and co-educational graduate studies for students in the state. This school holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
Simmons confers undergraduate degrees in more than 50 areas of study; the school also has over 50 graduate programs available as well. Students at this school often earn dual degrees in their field, either earning them simultaneously or concurrently; the 4 + 1 program is also available here. Here are a handful of the top degree programs:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, AccountingBachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching in Education 4 + 1 ProgramMaster of Science in Education, Professional Licensure
The college knows that students need to feel safe and healthy in order to perform their best at the school; this is why the university offers comprehensive student services, such as counseling and health centers as well as tutoring services, for all students. There are also over 40 student organizations to get involved in and four student-run publications that need student staff members, allowing all students to feel as though they are part of the Simmons family.
Gordon College is a private, non-denominational Christian, liberal arts and sciences institution. It is located in Wenham, Massachusetts, and hosts over 1,700 students annually. This school holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This college offers more than 40 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels; pre-professional programs in select subjects are also available. Of all the programs listed, education is the most popular among students. It is one of the best colleges in Massachusetts for students who are interested in becoming licensed teachers. Heres a glance at the most popular programs here:
Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education, Licensure OptionBachelor of Science in Social WorkMaster of Education, Professional Licensure
The schools student life is governed by the Campus Events Council, which operates most of the student-run organizations on campus. Volunteer and outreach programs are very important at this school, including spring break missionary trips; however, students can also participate in student ministries and intramural sports as well.
Salem State University is a public institution that has been in continuous operation since 1854. It is located in Salem, Massachusetts. This school holds regional accreditation from the NEASC.
Salem State confers more than 40 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This school also support graduate certificates, such as Holocaust Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Online courses are also available, and the school is looking to expand their online portal in the next five years. Take a look at a few of the top programs at Salem State:
Bachelor of Arts in Special EducationMaster of Arts in Teaching, Middle School General ScienceMaster of Business Administration
This school has over 60 student organizations available for students, including academic-affiliated groups, student government associations, and student-run media organizations. Students will be able to find a professional association for nearly every subject offered by the school, most of which are sanctioned by the national organizations they are chartered from.
Springfield College is a private institution that is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is the birthplace of basketball, where it was invented in 1891 by a graduate student by the name of James Naismith. This school serves over 4,000 students annually and is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
The university confers more than 50 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Students can expect small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, and an incredible education by a faculty that has been recognized for academic excellence. It has been ranked as one of the best colleges in Massachusetts by Colleges of Distinction. Among the many programs, here are the most popular:
Bachelor of Science in AccountingMaster of Science in Social Work (Dual Degree with JD)Doctor of Education, Teaching and Administration
Student life at Springfield is affected by the schools Humanics philosophy; the school encourages students to spend their time out of the classroom serving others in volunteer or civic engagement, taking the time to cheer on the home sports teams, or becoming a member of any one of the schools 50 clubs and organizations that are sponsored by the school.
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