Best Online Colleges in Maryland 2020
Maryland boasts more than 50 colleges and universities, with options for all types of learners. Many adult learners, veterans, and students attending college right after high school choose on-campus and online programs in the state. U.S. News & World Report ranks Maryland among the top 10 schools in the country with respect to four-year graduation rates and the educational attainment of residents 25 years and older.
This guide provides information about how Maryland's educational programs and policies can help you reach your academic goals. The following sections explore online schools and colleges in Maryland, tuition rates and financial assistance, accreditation, and adult education.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||College of Southern Maryland La Plata, MD||Tuition $5,112||# of Online Programs 18||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid 11%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|2||Hagerstown Community College Hagerstown, MD||Tuition $4,758||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 22%||Financial Aid 23%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|3||Harford Community College Bel Air, MD||Tuition $5,064||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 23%||Financial Aid 15%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|4||The Community College of Baltimore County Baltimore, MD||Tuition $5,328||# of Online Programs 12||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 9%||Financial Aid 11%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|5||Prince George's Community College Largo, MD||Tuition $4,632||# of Online Programs 11||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 9%||Financial Aid 4%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|6||Chesapeake College Wye Mills, MD||Tuition $4,512||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid 38%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|7||Anne Arundel Community College Arnold, MD||Tuition $6,240||# of Online Programs 17||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|8||Montgomery College Rockville, MD||Tuition $7,470||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid 23%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|9||Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland, MD||Tuition $6,750||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 21%||Financial Aid 24%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Towson University Towson, MD||Tuition $6,560||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate 74%||Graduation Rate 70%||Financial Aid 47%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Though Towson University does offer an online bachelor's completion program in allied health, distance learning really shines at the graduate level. Certificates and master's degrees are offered in a range of disciplines, such as autism studies, information technology, human resources, occupational science, nursing and media, all delivered through the Blackboard learning platform. To ensure online students face the same rigorous education as their campus counterparts, Towson University offers the Online Edge Program to assist instructors in honing their skills in online education
|2||University of Maryland-College Park College Park, MD||Tuition $8,315||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 48%||Graduation Rate 85%||Financial Aid 52%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Students at University of Maryland-College Park can choose from a variety of online options, especially at the graduate level. Graduate certificates and master's degrees in engineering, library science, public health, nursing and entomology are just a few examples of available programs. One of the most popular options is the online MBA, which allows students to save money by taking certain courses through EdX that are then transferrable to the graduate program. Students pursuing online programs at University of Maryland-College Park can expect the same in-depth education their campus counterparts receive, as well as the use of many student services.
|3||McDaniel College Westminster, MD||Tuition $40,580||# of Online Programs 3||Acceptance Rate 78%||Graduation Rate 69%||Financial Aid 99%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
McDaniel College is a private liberal arts school that offers fully online and hybrid distance learning programs for graduate students. With both master's degree and certification programs, McDaniel features a wide range of specific options that focus on the education field. As a distance learner, you can earn master's degrees and certificates that prepare you for careers in education and schools, such as the MS programs in school librarianship, educational leadership, TESOL, and curriculum instruction. Available certificates in this area include disability services in higher education, school administration, learning technologies specialist, and equity and excellence in education. Graduate students may transfer up to six credits from other accredited programs with the approval of the admissions office.
|4||Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD||Tuition $50,410||# of Online Programs 32||Acceptance Rate 13%||Graduation Rate 94%||Financial Aid 52%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is a private research institution founded in 1876. For undergraduates, Johns Hopkins has four standout degrees in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and environmental engineering. These degrees teach a quantitative, data-driven approach to research, and help students seek out cross-disciplinary approaches to problem-solving. Since engineering and computer science have prominent roles at Johns Hopkins, many of these degrees are also offered at the master's and doctoral level. Additional traditional degree programs, such as physics, molecular biology, business administration, and education are also available online at the graduate level. Courses are mostly taught in an asynchronous format, allowing you maximum scheduling flexibility as you work toward your degree. If you wish to transfer to Johns Hopkins, you must have completed at least 12 college credits.
|5||University of Maryland-Baltimore County Baltimore, MD||Tuition $8,204||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate 57%||Graduation Rate 64%||Financial Aid 42%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Established in 1966, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a public research institution with four online master's degrees and three post-baccalaureate certificates. These distance learning programs, in the fields of education, emergency health, information systems, and instructional systems development, offer cutting-edge training over the course of three to four years for master's students, and one year for certificate seekers. As one of the most established graduate programs at UMBC, the instructional systems development program produces technically-trained professionals who go on to careers at places like IBM, the National Security Agency, T. Rowe Price, research hospitals, and many others.
|6||Stevenson University Stevenson, MD||Tuition $30,884||# of Online Programs 3||Acceptance Rate 61%||Graduation Rate 61%||Financial Aid 98%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Stevenson University is a private, independent institution established in 1947. Distance learners can choose from a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including popular programs in investigative sciences and legal studies. As an online student, you can earn a master's degree in crime scene investigation, cyber forensics, digital forensics, and forensic science. Undergraduates can work toward degrees in this field, too, with bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, digital forensics, and legal studies. As an added feature, Stevenson offers associate to bachelor's programs in nursing and a bachelor's to master's options in several fields. With these programs, you can earn both degrees and save time and money on multiple courses. The majority of these degree requirements can be completed online, with only a few tracks requiring on campus obligations. Tuition reductions are available for students pursuing their degrees through one of Stevenson's partnerships. These partners are on a predetermined list, located on the online homepage, of community colleges, healthcare organizations, and employers in the region that help adult students earn their degrees.
|7||University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD||Tuition $6,816||# of Online Programs 60||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 10%||Financial Aid 11%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
The University of Maryland-University College in Adelphi is a public, not-for-profit institution with on 90 online programs and specializations. Among the undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate offerings, UMUC's multiple degrees in information technology and cybersecurity are star programs. In addition to preparing students for in-demand careers in growing fields, you will be prepared to sit for various certification exams with security industry leaders such as the Disaster Recovery Institute, Project Management Professional, and CompTIA Security. Undergraduates may transfer up to 90 credits from colleges and universities, and up to 70 credits from community colleges. Master's students may transfer a maximum of six credits toward their degrees, while certificate seekers are limited to three credits. Out-of-state students pay higher tuition than in-state students, but a significant military discount is available for eligible distance learners.
|8||Frostburg State University Frostburg, MD||Tuition $6,340||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate 63%||Graduation Rate 50%||Financial Aid 52%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
Frostburg State University offers both fully online and hybrid courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. FSU's RN to BSN nursing degree prepares students with online classes coupled with some hands-on, supervised training at facilities near the student. Additional online degrees are at the master's level, in business administration, recreation and parks management, applied computer science, and special education. Incoming freshman can get a jumpstart on their degrees by opting into Frostburg's summer online freshman initiative. Before your first fall semester, you can take introductory and required courses online to start making headway toward your degree.
|9||Capitol Technology University Laurel, MD||Tuition $23,472||# of Online Programs 9||Acceptance Rate 88%||Graduation Rate 44%||Financial Aid 89%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Capitol Technology University is a private nonprofit school that offers online degree programs in flexible synchronous and hybrid formats. While the majority of degrees at Capitol are graduate level, distance learners can earn Bachelor of Science degrees in business administration, cyber and information security, or management of cyber and information technology. For these undergraduate programs, your junior and senior year coursework may be completed entirely online. Online master's degrees can be completed in an accelerated format, with eight-week and 16-weeks courses, entirely online. Master's students can prepare for careers in quickly growing technological fields with degrees in computer science, cybersecurity, and cyber analytics. The majority of requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in business analytics and decision sciences may be completed online, as well. While the cost of your online education varies per degree and specialty area, all online students pay the same tuition rates regardless of their location.
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Maryland?
Several accredited colleges and universities in Maryland offer online programs. Students can enroll in a single online course or earn their entire degree remotely. The state government maintains a list of Maryland institutions, including private and public four-year schools, community colleges, and regional higher education centers. Students can review each school's website to learn about online academic offerings.
How Much More Do College Grads in Maryland Make?
The table below illustrates how educational attainment impacts annual salaries nationwide. Professionals with higher educational levels tend to earn higher salaries. Throughout the country and in Maryland, learners often recoup their college investment through increased income.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree|
|Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Maryland: Tuition and Financial Aid
The average cost of tuition and fees for in-state students attending four-year public schools in Maryland is slightly above the national average. However, out-of-state learners at public institutions in Maryland pay an average of more than $1,000 less than the national average.
Average tuition for private schools in Maryland is more than $10,000 higher than the national average. Regardless of the type of school they attend, most learners need financial assistance to fund their college education. The following sections explore funding options for learners attending school in the Old Line State.
|In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
|Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Maryland
The figures above do not account for costs such as transportation and housing. Prospective students should factor in all education-related expenses when budgeting for college. Below are some cost considerations for learners attending online schools and colleges in Maryland.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Maryland
To qualify for in-state tuition rates, learners must typically have lived in Maryland for at least one year prior to enrolling. Students can prove residency through tax documents, a driver's license, or voter registration.
Online schools and colleges in Maryland set unique residency requirements, so learners should contact their institution for details. Additionally, some institutions charge all online students in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency.
Paying for College in Maryland: Scholarships and Financial Aid
State governments and several private organizations offer financial assistance programs for Maryland college students. Many institutions also offer scholarships. Below are some scholarships and grants available to learners attending online schools and colleges in Maryland.
Scholarships for Maryland College Students
- Angie Houtz Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Maryland residents enrolled at a two- or four-year Maryland school. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have completed at least 200 hours of community service.
- Maryland 2+2 Transfer Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The program supports graduates of two-year colleges accepted to an accredited four-year Maryland institution. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Amount: $2,000 for STEM majors; $1,000 for non-STEM majors
- The Esperanza Education Fund
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be immigrants born outside of the United States whose parents are both foreigners, including undocumented DACA students. Applicants must attend an institution in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.
Amount: $5,000 to $20,000
- Thursday Network 'I Empower' Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Minority high school seniors from the Greater Washington area, including Maryland, can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Amount: $500 to $8,000
- Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, this scholarship supports veterans who served in the Middle East for at least 60 days. Candidates must be Maryland residents enrolled in an undergraduate program at a Maryland institution.
Amount: $4,998 to $7,029
Grants for Maryland College Students
- College-Bound Last-Dollar Grant
Who Can Apply: This program supports Baltimore high school graduates whose total family income falls below $75,000 per year. Applicants must prove their ability to shoulder at least 15% of their projected college costs.
Amount: Up to $3,000
- Howard P. Rawlings Guarnateed Access Grant
Who Can Apply: Open to undergraduate and graduate students in Maryland, this grant supports full-time students at accredited Maryland institutions. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 high school GPA.
Amount: $400 to $13,800
- Jack F. Tolbert Memorial Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a private career school in Maryland can apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must be employed and work at least 18 hours per week.
- Near Completer Grant
Who Can Apply: The program provides funding for Maryland residents returning to college to earn their first degree. Applicants must have previously earned at least 45 credits from a community college or 90 credits from a four-year school.
- Part-Time Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Applicants for this grant must be degree-seeking students enrolled in an accredited two-year or four-year Maryland institution. Candidates must be studying part time taking 6-11 credits per semester.
Amount: Up to $2,000
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Maryland
Accreditation is a voluntary process through which institutions demonstrate academic quality. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Commission for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting agencies in the United States. Attending an accredited school ensures that employers and other institutions will recognize your degree. The following sections examine various types of accreditation.
Regional and National Accreditation
Degree-granting nonprofit institutions typically receive regional accreditation, which is the most prestigious type of institutional accreditation. Private and public two- and four-year schools can earn regional accreditation. For-profit and vocational schools often seek national accreditation.
Subject-specific accrediting agencies evaluate departments and programs within certain fields. For example, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology accredits programs in applied and natural science, engineering, computing, and engineering technology. The ED and CHEA oversee both institutional and programmatic accrediting agencies.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
Accredited schools typically display their accreditation status on their official website. A lack of accreditation information may indicate that a school does not hold proper accreditation. Learners can search the CHEA directory to verify the accreditation status of a school or program.
Online College and Adult Education in Maryland
Adult learners in Maryland can pursue a variety of educational opportunities, including online options, literacy courses, and vocational programs. The sections below include statistics related to adult education in the state, along with resources for adult learners.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Maryland
Adult Education Programs for Maryland Students
- Adult Education and Literacy Services: This program from the Workforce Development and Adult Learning Division delivers instruction in areas including workplace preparation, integrated education and training, and family literacy.
- Maryland Adult Education Online: This website contains information for adults seeking their GED. The program helps learners create individualized learning plans, which are typically 15 months long. The program is free for Maryland residents.
- Transition Programs: Maryland residents can access assistance transitioning from school to the workplace, securing employment, and changing careers. Participants develop plans to reach academic and professional goals.
Online College Resources for Maryland Students
Maryland learners attending college for the first time or returning to school to complete a degree can access resources to further their academic goals. Students can locate online information on topics including financial aid, transfer agreements, and career planning. Below are five resources for learners attending online schools and colleges in Maryland.
- College 411: Compiled by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, this pamphlet includes information for various types of college-bound students. The pamphlet covers financial aid sources, private career schools, and military programs.
- Financial Aid Resources: This website provides information for on-campus and online students, including details about financial scholarship and grant programs, financial aid application requirements, and the state's aid-processing system.
- Maryland 529 College Savings Plan: The website features current information about the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan. These savings programs help parents and students pay for college.
- Maryland Eligible Training Provider List: Students can search this collection of Maryland training programs to learn about in-demand occupations, schools and training centers, and program costs.
- Maryland State Library: The Enoch Pratt Free Library offers an online tool through which users can consult with librarians. This resource allows distance learners to access extensive library resources and individual assistance online.