In recent years, Maine has offered many incentives for people to move to and attend school in its state, such as the Live and Work in Maine program that reimburses visitors their vacation costs if they move there. For those who want to earn a college degree, Maine offers many higher education options, from its coastal towns to big cities and rural areas near the Canadian border. The best online universities in Maine will offer a variety of degree programs, flexibility and employment services to help fuel the state’s growing labor demands. Learn about these colleges and universities, and how choosing an online program in Maine can be the gateway to career success.
Students in Maine may favor online higher education options for the flexibility they offer, and to avoid extra costs and fees for housing and commuting. But choosing the best college programs in Maine, even for online students, means focusing on more than just finding the most historic and prestigious institution, or the school with the best acceptance rate. Comparing everything from price to student teacher ratio and graduation rate, the list below narrows down the best online college programs in Maine.
When researching online college programs in Maine, you’ll often find each school’s website has an entire section dedicated to highlighting their online and distance learning programs. You can also request more information from a school’s representative to ensure the program you are seeking is available online.
Some of Maine’s colleges and universities offer just a few online degree programs, while others offer dozens. When inquiring about online programs, be sure to note whether the entire program can be delivered electronically, rather than just some of the classes. There are also some colleges in Maine that offer and encourage students to take a combination of both online and on-campus courses.
Maine offers an entire Transfer Student web portal as part of the Maine Public Universities website to inform and guide students who want to transfer credits to continue education. Most online universities in Maine will accept transfer credits as long as you have received a C- or better and attended an accredited school, but to be sure, contact the school’s admissions office for specific policy information.
Tourism and trade industries are heavy economic drivers in Maine that do not typically require a college degree, but work experience can translate into college credits to help you earn a degree more quickly. Maine students who have family may also qualify for life experience credits, but remember, requirements and regulations vary from school to school, so be sure to ask about your particular situation.
Statistics have shown that college graduates tend to make more money in a lifetime than high school graduates or those with no formal education. For those in Maine, pursuing a college education can be more lucrative than in many other places across the nation.
Mean Annual Salary for select occupations in Maine, by Degree Level:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Higher educational attainment may be a driver for these higher-than-average wages by degree level; according to the last census about one-third of Maine’s residents have a bachelor’s degree, with nearly 92 percent having graduated high school or higher. Maine’s Department of Labor statistics show the top high-wage, in-demand jobs that require a bachelor’s degree include:
Today’s college students often need flexibility to work to pay for school, or take care of their children or loved ones while earning a degree. Many online schools in Maine have adopted accredited online degree programs so that students can do just that. Accreditation assures these schools are offering the same high-quality, accredited curriculum online as their on-campus students receive in the classroom.
Colleges and universities in Maine may be accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges. There are also additional, program-specific accreditations that schools in Maine may obtain, such the University of Maine’s bachelor’s program in athletic training, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
Maine also requires earning an accredited degree for some of its state licensing. For example, the Maine Department of Education requires it’s teachers to earn a degree from an accredited college to be licensed to teach in the state.
College costs are rising across the country, as are tuition rates in Maine. But some colleges and universities in Maine are finding creative ways to help students offset the high cost of earning a degree:
Pine Tree State Pledge Available to students enrolled within the University of Maine system, this program covers any out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and mandatory fees.
Enrolling in an online program can also save Maine student’s money. For example, the University of Maine offers a savings of nearly $900 per semester (12 credit hours) for Maine residents enrolled in an online degree program, compared to on-campus students. And by attending online, students can save even more by not paying to live on campus or commute daily: over $300 in fees tied to living on campus.
Let’s take a closer look at common questions regarding eligibility for discounted tuition and financial assistance in Maine.
Maine residents that can prove at least one year of residency or more qualify for in-state tuition. For non-residents or those who move to Maine less than a year from their application date may not qualify for in-state tuition.
There are some exceptions for out-of-state students to receive in-state tuition rates:
New England Regional Student Program Tuition Break Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont may be entitled to a tuition break if they enroll in an approved major that is not offered by the public colleges or universities in their home state.
Veterans and Current Military Personnel Some colleges and universities, such as the University of Southern Maine, offer in-state tuition rates to military members and veterans, regardless of state of residence.
Maine’s colleges and universities didn’t make the most expensive tuition list according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, but they but they aren’t on the least expensive list either.
A comparison of online tuition costs between Maine’s largest university, the University of Maine and similarly-sized Worcester State University in neighboring Massachusetts shows the price of tuition in Maine is higher per credit hour:
University of Maine – Umaine Online $293 per credit hour (in-state)
Worcester State University Online $130 per credit hour (flat rate)
Most importantly: Researching fees beyond standard tuition rates is necessary to understand the full picture of what attending college will cost in Maine.
Students attending accredited online colleges and universities in Maine may be eligible for government financial aid, grants, loans and scholarships. Every student should file a FAFSA to see what they may be eligible to claim, and explore eligibility for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.
The Maine Community Foundation offers various scholarships for qualifying students, and the University of Maine System offers a comprehensive scholarship directory, including links to institutional financial aid and scholarships for Maine students. Adult learners can explore scholarship opportunities there as well.
Online education and online college degree programs have opened many doors of opportunity for adults that otherwise may never receive a formal education. Adult Education programs are often a gateway to earning a college degree for Maine students, and in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act, are giving Maine residents broader access to educational and career opportunities.
How Adult Education initiatives support college students in Maine:
High school completion programs. Adults who are interested in pursuing a college degree, but have not earned their high school diploma can get started in the Maine HiSET High School Completion program.
Transitioning and preparing to earn a college degree. The Maine College Transitions program is for adults who have graduated from high school, but need academic preparation before returning to college.
Post-graduation work experience. Local businesses participate in the Maine WorkReady program, which helps students and other working adults gain interview and work experience to help propel their career prospects.