Maine began offering online education to K-12 students with the 2014 implementation of the Maine Connections Academy, the first fully-online charter school in the state. Initial student enrollment was capped at 297 students in grades 7 and 8, but the school is expected to open its virtual doors to students up to grade 12 in the coming years. Other opportunities are available through the Maine Online Learning Program. Nine approved providers administer courses through the program. Online university courses are also available to students in grades 11 and 12 through the University of Maine’s Academ-e program.
Although there are no exclusively online schools in Maine, most of its colleges and universities offer distance-learning options. University College is a virtual campus connecting students with online classes and degrees from all seven campuses of the University of Maine. The Maine Community College System has also invested millions of dollars in moving courses, certificates and degrees online, but because it does not maintain a virtual campus like University College, prospective students must visit each school’s individual website to review their options. Private institutions, from small liberal arts colleges to targeted career schools, further diversify the online options in Maine.
The Maine Community College System is made up of seven distinct campuses, including Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. These two-year institutions offer certificates, associate degrees, continuing education programs and technical training in a number of high-demand fields. Some students attend community colleges to earn academic associate degrees before transferring to four-year programs; others focus on occupational training and certificate programs designed for workforce entry. The system recently invested millions of dollars in expanding its online learning options, but campuses manage their own programs. Visit individual school websites to learn more.
|SCHOOL NAME||ADDRESS||CITY||SEE PROGRAMS|
|Central Maine Community College||1250 Turner Street||Auburn||+|
|Kennebec Valley Community College||92 Western Ave||Fairfield||+|
The University of Maine System, the state’s largest degree granting institution, is comprised of seven university campuses, plus eight additional outreach and career training centers. Its flagship campus in Orono is a major research institution serving thousands of students each year, though the University of Southern Maine is a close second in total enrollments. All institutions offer both traditional and online courses and degrees. Prospective students can visit University College, the system’s virtual campus, to review their online learning options. Many University of Maine programs earn high marks in regional and national rankings from publications like U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes.
|SCHOOL NAME||TYPE||ADDRESS||CITY||SEE PROGRAMS|
|University of New England||Private not-for-profit||11 Hills Beach Rd||Biddeford||+|
|University of Maine||Public||168 College Avenue||Orono||+|
|University of Maine at Augusta||Public||46 University Dr||Augusta||+|
|Saint Joseph's College of Maine||Private not-for-profit||278 Whites Bridge Rd||Standish||+|
|Husson University||Private not-for-profit||1 College Circle||Bangor||+|
There are several private institutions licensed to operate in Maine. These schools range significantly in size, programs and overall focus, but each serves fewer than 3,500 students per year. Private colleges also account for most of the state’s oldest institutions: Bowdoin College, Colby College and Bangor Theological Seminary were all founded before 1815. Maine’s most recent private addition, Andover College, is a targeted career college offering specialized training fields like business, criminal justice, legal studies and allied health. Some online schools in Maine are hosted through private colleges.
University of Southern Maine
The University of Southern Maine offers a variety of fully-online degrees and certificates. Students can earn online bachelor’s degrees in areas like applied technical leadership, business administration, communication, organizational studies and liberal studies. Online master’s students have three programs from which to choose: the MS in Adult and Higher Education, MS in Special Education and MA in Leadership Studies. USM also offers online undergraduate and graduate certificates.
USM students enrolled in traditional campus-based degree programs still have access to online courses in dozens of disciplines, which are available year round. Online students still have access to a number of USM support services, from advising, tutoring and library services to tech support and learning assessments.
For more information on online education at USM, go to http://usm.maine.edu/online.
Washington County Community College
Washington County Community College does not offer full online degree programs, but it does host several online courses in areas like business, science, education and technology. Students new to distance learning can take a workshop to learn more about these programs before enrolling in a course. The school’s website also provides a “Distance Education Sampler” to give prospective online students an idea of how courses work and how to navigate the necessary software.
WCCC also offers hybrid classes, which combine the benefits of in-person and online learning. All classes have weekly assignments that students can complete any t=me during the week. Instructors will provide specific course details.
To learn more about online learning at Washington County Community College, visit http://www.wccc.me.edu/academics/programs/online-courses/.
Kennebec Valley Community College
Most of Maine’s community colleges offer online courses, but Kennebec Valley College is one of the few with full online degree programs. KVCC students can earn online associate’s degree programs in mental health technology, business administration, liberal studies and pulp and paper technology. Some courses, including science classes, may have on-campus requirements.
Kennebec Valley Community College delivers online courses through the Blackboard learning system, which students use to access all aspects of the virtual classroom. KVCC’s hybrid courses require that students attend one or more in-person class sessions. The school also offers help desk services to address technical issues that distance learning students may encounter.
For more information on Kennebec Valley Community College’s online programs, visit http://www.kvcc.me.edu/Pages/Off-Campus-Programs/Online-Learning-Overview.
University of Maine
The University of Maine offers a number of online courses, but most fully-online degrees and certificates are graduate-level programs. The exception is the online bachelor’s degree in university studies, an interdisciplinary program that students can tailor to their academic and career interests. Online master’s degree programs are available in fields like engineering, business, education, information systems and bioinformatics. Online graduate certificates are offered through five academic departments. Admission requirements for graduate degree programs include a bachelor’s degree and three letters of recommendation. Some graduate programs may require students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
Online courses may be delivered through Blackboard or thorough FirstClass, the university’s intranet service that allows students to view lectures and communicate with peers and professors. To utilize Blackboard and FirstClass, the university recommends that students download Firefox, QuickTime, Adobe Reader and Flash Player.
For more information on specific degree programs and other online offerings through UMaine Online, visit http://umaineonline.umaine.edu.
University of Maine at Augusta
The University of Maine at Augusta has a comprehensive roster of online degree programs, including associate and bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as business administration, justice studies and public administration. Students can also pursue online certificate programs in secondary education, paralegal studies and human resource management. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university among the top online schools in the country.
All of UM’s online courses are hosted through Blackboard, FirstClass and WebCT; however, some programs may require students to take exams at proctored test sites. The University of Maine at Augusta also offers a variety of distance learning options for students residing in Maine, including asynchronous courses, also known as delayed viewing or self-paced courses. The university also offers ITV courses, which allow students to watch videotaped courses at home or at a University of Maine center. Also offered at University of Maine centers, compressed video courses are either synchronous or asynchronous and include two-way audio and video conferencing.
For a complete list of online and distance learning programs at the University of Maine at Augusta, visit https://www.uma.edu/academics/online/.
Best for Future Service Members
Maine has a strong military service legacy, with hundreds of active duty military personnel serving in the state. According to a 2014 Washington Post analysis of data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, its one-in-10 per-capita veteran population is among the highest in the nation. Online schools in Maine provide exceptional support to service members, starting with the flexibility to study amidst deployments and relocations. Some offer tuition discounts, on-site and virtual support centers, and programs that allow veterans and active-duty personnel to convert military training into college credits. The University of Maine System staffs a Veteran and Military Support Leadership Team that focuses solely on helping service members succeed. These initiatives enable schools like UM Augusta to earn official military-friendly status and high rankings on lists like U.S. News & World Report’s best distance learning programs for military. Here are the online schools in Maine that go above and beyond to support military service members, veterans and their families.
|Tuition||City||ROTC - Army||ROTC - Navy||ROTC - Air Force|
|University of Southern Maine||$7,590||Portland||Yes||No||Yes|
|University of Maine||$8,370||Orono||Yes||Yes||No|
Best for Personal Attention
Online schools in Maine offer flexibility with which campus-based programs simply cannot complete. This is a significant perk for students who work full-time, live in rural communities or are otherwise limited in college options. But what about personalized learning? Can online students still connect with instructors and each other? Using collaborative technologies like video conferencing, live chats and cloud-based project management tools, they can. Live-streamed lectures, virtual office hours and limited class enrollments also help restore the spontaneity and real-time support students expect from traditional courses. These online schools in Maine earn blue-ribbon status for personalized attention.
|Thomas College||18 to 1||1,061||$22,160||Private not-for-profit||Waterville|
|University of Maine at Presque Isle||17 to 1||2,068||$6,600||Public||Presque Isle|
|University of Maine at Augusta||17 to 1||6,656||$6,510||Public||Augusta|
|Husson University||16 to 1||2,807||$14,190||Private not-for-profit||Bangor|
|New England School of Communications||15 to 1||566||$12,532||Private not-for-profit||Bangor|
|Saint Joseph’s College of Maine||15 to 1||2,246||$29,000||Private not-for-profit||Standish|
|University of Maine at Farmington||15 to 1||2,340||$8,352||Public||Farmington|
|University of Southern Maine||15 to 1||9,255||$7,590||Public||Portland|
|University of Maine at Machias||14 to 1||1,367||$6,660||Public||Machias|
|University of Maine at Fort Kent||14 to 1||1,769||$6,600||Public||Fort Kent|
|Maine Maritime Academy||13 to 1||946||$8,800||Public||Castine|
|University of New England||13 to 1||4,753||$30,750||Private not-for-profit||Biddeford|
|Unity College||12 to 1||605||$23,000||Private not-for-profit||Unity|
|University of Maine||12 to 1||10,069||$8,370||Public||Orono|
|College of the Atlantic||11 to 1||422||$37,152||Private not-for-profit||Bar Harbor|
|Maine College of Art||10 to 1||369||$29,380||Private not-for-profit||Portland|
|Bates College||10 to 1||1,900||$44,040||Private not-for-profit||Lewiston|
|Colby College||10 to 1||1,994||$42,460||Private not-for-profit||Waterville|
|Bowdoin College||9 to 1||1,911||$43,676||Private not-for-profit||Brunswick|
|Bangor Theological Seminary||3 to 1||NR||$0||Private not-for-profit||Bangor|
Best for Women in Technology
Tech is cutting-edge by nature, but a persistent gender disparity is still evident. Studies show that women remain significantly underrepresented in fields like engineering and technology. This gap means women are missing out on the field’s high-pay, high-demand benefits, and research suggests its roots can be traced straight to the classroom (traditional or virtual).
Many colleges are actively working to reverse this trend, including online schools in Maine. These programs may hire more female instructors who can serve as role models, or host mentorship programs for young women in tech. Student and professional organizations for female tech majors with a strong virtual presence can also help, as can optional on-site conferences and networking events. Which programs really excel in these areas? According to our research, the following online schools in Maine offer top-notch support for tech-aspiring women.
|TUITION + FEES||CITY||WOMEN IN TECH DEGREES AWARDED||TOTAL ENROLLMENT||TYPE|
|University of Maine at Augusta||$7,448||Augusta||100||1,773||Public|
|University of Maine||$10,594||Orono||58||8,693||Public|
|New England School of Communications||$13,482||Bangor||32||507||Private Not for Profit|
|University of Southern Maine||$7,776||Portland||7||5,284||Public|
|Maine Maritime Academy||$11,525||Castine||5||923||Public|
Best Schools Fighting for Families
Maine is a state brimming with outstanding social work programs, with children serving as the basis of these programs. Students seeking a career in child and family welfare need hands-on experience and quality instruction. These programs offer clinical settings and fieldwork, giving students the job exposure they need to gain the experience necessary to be successful after graduation. These innovative schools offer some of the best social work programs available. We’ve compared schools to provide this list of four-year, accredited universities with superior social work programs.
|CITY||SOCIAL DEGREES AWARDED||WOMEN||MEN||TUITION & FEES||TOTAL ENROLLMENT|
|University of Maine||Orono||118||101||17||$10,594||8,693|
|University of Southern Maine||Portland||118||93||25||$7,776||5,284|
|University of New England||Biddeford||61||53||8||$31,870||4,566|
|University of Maine at Presque Isle||Presque Isle||20||13||7||$7,300||851|
|Saint Joseph’s College of Maine||Standish||7||4||3||$30,030||1,253|
|University of Maine at Farmington||Farmington||5||5||0||$9,367||2,085|