Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill that allows the state’s nine public colleges to be called universities.
Patrick gave his approval Wednesday to the law, which will result in six state colleges changing their names.
Supporters of the bill say colleges in other states that have made the name switch have raised their academic profiles and improved their fundraising efforts.
They also say that the university name will help students in the job market.
Opponents say the measure will have no educational benefits for students and could lead to higher tuition if professors at the colleges demand university-level pay.
Public higher education spending has been cut by the state during the economic downturn.