Maine Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2016-2017

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A Guide to Maine Colleges Online

In 2013, 10 four-year colleges in Maine offered online programs, with everything from the occasional class to full-length programs that culminate in a degree or professional certificate. The physical size of the state, and its location in one corner of the country, encourage distance education in Maine. With a relatively small population, Maine is home to both surprisingly sizable towns and tiny hamlets located far from the nearest university.

For online students, Maine features a variety of options, including public and private four-year universities, community and junior colleges, religious institutions and wholly online colleges. Online students still benefit from exceptional professors and tuition assistance, and can even earn identical degrees as those granted on-campus. But, with online programs in Maine, students have the convenience that comes with distance learning as well as a choice of self-paced and accelerated degree programs.

To understand the evolving educational landscape in Maine, take a look at its largest city, Portland. Its traditional campus-based institutions are complemented by a growing number of online colleges offering distance learning options to students both in and outside the city.

City in Focus: Portland’s Higher Education Scene

Portland is a coastal city in southeastern Maine, with a population approaching 70,000. It has won a host of awards for its seafood, outdoor activities and family-friendly atmosphere. The city was also named one of the Top 20 Best Small Cities for College Students by the American Institute for Economic Research.

Because of its size, Portland is home to just four colleges and universities. However, from arts to law school to liberal studies, there’s no shortage of educational opportunities in this small metropolitan area. University of Maine, which has a law school in Portland, was ranked among the top universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It is the state’s only law school and has an enrollment of less than 300, with student access to limited class sizes and individualized attention.

Students at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland see similar benefits. Listed in 2012 as one of the Best in the Northeast by The Princeton Review, the college counts nearly half of its classes as accommodating less than 20 students. USM offers more than 115 areas of study and 100 student organizations. Opportunities for continuing professional education and lifelong learning and enrichment are also available.

Online Education Opportunities in Portland

Busy professionals and those living on the outskirts of town benefit from distance learning opportunities. USM provides online degrees and certificate programs year-round. Applied technical leadership and organizational studies, communication and business administration are just a few of the fully online bachelor’s degree programs. The University of New England, recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Top Colleges in 2013, offers eight graduate certificates, nine master’s degrees and a doctorate that can be completed entirely online.

Budgeting for College Expenses in Maine

No matter what the state, college costs can be substantial. In-state residents who chose to attend college in Maine in 2012 paid an average of $13,335 per year in tuition, making Maine 35th in the nation for the cost of college tuition. Keep in mind that the tuition can vary greatly depending upon the location, school, program and student residency – those who reside outside the state are likely to pay more in tuition than in-state students do.

In addition to tuition, fees also come into play when planning finances for a college education. Fees might include everything from use of recreational facilities to parking, depending upon the school. Maine students paid an average of $14,700 per student per year in fees in 2012. When added to the average tuition, the typical student paid $15,140 per school year to attend college in the state.

Finally, there is room and board to consider, as well as other living expenses. These costs can add up quickly, so it pays to know what the cost of living is like in a particular state. Maine has a cost of living (COL) approximately 16 percent higher than the rest of the nation. The chart below lists what students can expect for the COL in various areas of the state, with the national average shown as 100 percent.

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Portland 16.5% 43.0% 1.8% 2.9% 11.8% 9.7% 5.5%

Accreditation Standards in Maine

In order to receive financial funds from the federal government, students must attend a college that has been accredited. Those who intend to transfer credits might find that only courses from accredited schools are accepted. Students might also need a degree from an accredited college in order to be taken seriously in their future profession.

Accreditation means that the college or university has met the basic standards of education set forth by the accrediting body, proving that the education is on a par with other schools in the state, region and nation. Students curious about regional accreditation in Maine should check out the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Best Online Colleges In Maine For 2016-2017

Distance learning was once an alternative to campus-based education in the form of correspondence schools, but today online education has been embraced by traditional brick-and-mortar universities and colleges. Maine’s private and public online schools offer diverse undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs, as well as continuing education courses. Some institutions stand above the others based on sustained academic excellence and a support network providing student services for distance learners. The following innovators made the list of the Best Online Colleges in Maine for 2016.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
York County Community College
94.02 35% 9 14:1 17%

York County Community College's history dates back more than 20 years to 1994. Adults are not limited to the classroom while receiving training at the college. If adults are juggling demands like work or family, they can enroll in fully online or hybrid degree and certificate classes at York. Degree programs to choose from cover 27 specialties, including career studies, education, architecture, veterinary technology and information technology. Certificates are in the culinary arts, technology and architecture. More than 1,700 adults are enrolled in a degree, certificate or professional program at York.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Kennebec Valley Community College
93.93 38% 12 18:1 42%

Credits from Kennebec Valley Community College's more than 30 two-year degrees are transferrable to accredited four-year schools. Path to a classroom or online degree at Kennebec Valley starts with submitting an online application, meeting admissions requirements and finishing prerequisites. To create an academic plan that best supports their personal and professional goals, adults can use the school's advising guides. They can also meet with a guidance counselor. Trades, technology, arts, healthcare, business and sustainable agriculture are fields that degrees can be earned in. Instructors also teach non-degree professional development classes.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Central Maine Community College
90.47 22% 3 17:1 24%

Practical, technical, arts and career academic programs are taught at Central Maine Community College. Learning is structured at the individual and team level. Technology built into classrooms encourages team building, especially when completing broad projects. More than 40 certificates and degrees are awarded at the college. During open houses, current and prospective students can learn about majors directly from industry leaders. Classes are taught during the day, evening, online and on weekends. Academic programs at Central Maine are supplemented with athletics and student clubs and organizations. To schedule a campus tour, students should contact the admissions office.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 University of Maine at Augusta
99.50 26% 31 17:1 11%

The Bachelor of Architecture is a program that distinguishes the University of Maine at Augusta from other public, four-year degree granting schools. No other school in Maine currently has an architecture program that leads to a public, five-year degree. Other academic programs taught include American studies, French, social science, nursing, aviation, biology and computer information technology. More than 6,000 students take a class at the school. Campuses that are part of the university's system are Bangor, Centers Statewide and Augusta, the latter location being the place where the main campus is.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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2 University of Maine at Fort Kent
98.49 86% 12 16:1 50%

University of Maine at Fort Kent is located in Maine's St. John Valley. A rural community surrounds the school that has been offering postsecondary training since 1878. On a semester basis, the school boasts a student population of about 900 students. The school that borders Canada, awards associate and bachelor's degrees in subjects like applied forest management, conservation law enforcement, allied health and biology. With an RSVP, new students can attend open house at the start of school. In addition to specialized accreditations, the university is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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3 University of Maine at Presque Isle
98.42 79% 9 13:1 43%

Education at the University of Maine at Presque Isle is customized to fit individual student needs. Much of the customized learning takes place at the Center for Innovative Learning, a place where students receive tutoring, computer, library research and writing support. The support helps students as they pursue a choice of seven associate degrees and 22 bachelor's degrees. These undergraduate degrees are in several career fields, including accounting, film studies, medical lab technology, women's studies and project management. Students who might otherwise be too busy to attend college, finish classes at the university by logging into the distance education myUMPI portal.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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4 University of Southern Maine
98.19 63% 15 15:1 32%

The University of Southern Maine is part of the University of Maine System. Public transportation routes are near the main campus. The university is home to more than 2,000 courses, 245 faculty members who instruct full-time and 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Seven of the undergraduate and three of the graduate degrees are online. Online degrees are mainly in leadership, business and humanities. Recently, the university kicked off its Samstarf Project. Through the program and in partnership with the University of Iceland, students study for two months overseas.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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5 Husson University
97.94 90% 9 15:1 42%

When Husson University started in 1898, its instructors taught in a small building. Husson became a university in 2008. The school is in the process of expanding its on-campus residence dormitories, adding a new townhouse residence building. The school's property covers 208 acres. Its 2,800 undergraduate and 700 graduate students declare majors and minors in programs that give them deep learning in accounting, entertainment production, psychology, sciences, humanities, education and liberal arts. There is a choice of 18 NCAA Division III sports that sports lovers can sign up to join.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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6 University of Maine at Machias
86.00 87% 9 12:1 31%

University of Maine at Machias is an environmental liberal arts higher education school. It is the only public school of its kind in New England. Depending on the major, learning may take place outdoors, allowing students to study the environment. About 1,000 students attend the 243-acre campus that is situated in coastal Maine. Work experience is derived through the school's cooperative education program. Students enrolled in the program attend class while they gain work experience. Virtual tours or all-day campus visits give prospective students and their parents a real-life view into the university.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Search Accredited Maine Online Colleges

The Pine Tree State is home to 43 universities, colleges and career schools. Potential online students may flinch when considering the abundance of degree and certificate programs in Maine. The first step is to sort available programs by the most important criteria. The custom search tool below can help filter all the Maine online colleges and programs by cost, acceptance rate, types of degrees and other crucial factors.

Degree Level:
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Best Online Colleges in Maine for 2015

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 University of Maine at Presque Isle$7,3002,068YES
University of Maine at Presque Isle offers a versatile online psychology program with coursework in social psychology, cognitive psychology, lifespan, personality development, research methods, behavior and psychological assessment. The program requires 1
2 University of Maine at Augusta$7,4486,656YES
University of Maine at Augusta, also known as UMA, offers online certificate and degree programs in business administration, justice studies, computer information systems, library services and other fields. Like other online colleges in Main, many of UMA's programs be completed entirely online, while other require minimal on-campus attendance.
3 University of Maine at Machias$7,4801,367YES
Online learning at the University of Maine at Machias provides students with a rich learning experience as they work to gain a bachelor’s degree in program areas such as psychology and community studies or business and entrepreneurial studies. The Bachelor of College Studies Program offers online learners a unique option to create a specialized degree program designed for them, by them.
4 University of Maine at Fort Kent$7,5751,769YES
The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers an array of opportunities for online course study. The distance learning program contains areas of study which range from healthcare administration and nursing to broad reaching degrees like general studies or university studies. Online certificate programs are also offered by the university in major occupational areas such as special education teaching and emergency management.
5 University of Southern Maine$7,7769,255YES
University of Southern Maine offers a wide variety of degree programs through USM Online. USM Online students can choose from six online undergraduate degrees, one online undergraduate minor, three online undergraduate certificates, three online graduate degrees and two online graduate certificates. USM Online offers a free demo course for prospective students.
6 University of Maine$10,59410,069YES
UMaine Online, a divisions of the University of Maine, is one of many online colleges in Maine offering a variety of degree programs that can be completed entirely online. UMaine Online currently offers nine graduate degree programs, and 13 graduate certificate programs and more than 300 undergraduate courses every year.
7 Husson University$14,5402,807YES
Husson University is one of the online colleges in Maine that offers a wide variety of business courses online. Husson University students can choose to take a mix of traditional and online courses in order to create a hybrid degree program. Prospective students can take a free virtual tour of the online campus.
8 Thomas College$22,7701,061YES
Thomas College, an option for online colleges in Maine, offers students flexibility while seeking out a college degree through online course study. Based on career-focused concentrations, Thomas College offers associate and bachelor’s degree options in a number of business-related areas ranging from business administration to human resources management, all in addition to its arts and sciences degree program.
9 Saint Joseph’s College of Maine$30,0302,246YES
Saint Joseph's College Online offers a wide variety of accredited courses and degree programs. The college is military-friendly. The online degree programs are designed to be flexible enough for students with other obligations. Students can choose from undergraduate and degree programs in accounting, business, criminal justice, nursing, education and many other fields.
10 University of New England$31,8704,753YES
University of New England is one of the many online colleges in Maine. Prospective students can take a free virtual tour of the online campus. Online programs include master's and doctoral programs in social work, physical therapy, educational leadership, education, public health and osteopathic medicine.

Useful Resources for Online Students in Maine

Want to learn more about higher education in Maine? The state’s Finance Authority website has information about financial aid. Other organizations listed below cover topics like accreditation, veteran’s education benefits, scholarships, college savings plans and more.

Major Maine Educational Resources: