Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Maine. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

We helped ensure the quality of these programs by narrowing our focus down to programs accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). NECHE, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, is a regional accreditor that evaluates the academic performance and effectiveness of schools across the New England area. Regional accreditations are valuable as they’re often required for students looking to earn professional credentials after they graduate.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 10 Online Colleges in Maine

Best Online Colleges in Maine Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
Saint Joseph's College of Maine
01
Best for Prerequisites
University of New England
01
Best Student Support Services
University of Southern Maine
01
Best Graduate Programs
University of Maine
01
Best for Nursing
University of Maine at Fort Kent
01
Best for Environmental Programs
Unity College
01
Best Undergraduate Programs
University of Maine at Augusta
01
Easiest Admissions Process
Husson University
01
Best Associate Degrees
University of Maine at Machias
01
Most Affordable
University of Maine at Presque Isle

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Maine

Does Maine have good online colleges and universities?

Yes and no. Maine’s online degree programs are relatively limited compared to the options in other states, and they are not particularly affordable. According to U.S. News & World Report, the highest-ranking online bachelor’s degree program in Maine is at University of Maine at Augusta, and it ranks No. 101 nationally. At the graduate level, the strongest options are University of New England’s Online Master’s in Education and University of Maine’s Online MBA program.

Do online college credits in Maine cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Maine charge out-of-state and international students more than in-state students. At the community college level, out-of-state students also tend to pay more than in-state students.

Why should you choose Maine for online higher education?

Maine has a few decent online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs, but options are relatively limited. If you are drawn to the undergraduate and graduate programs at any of University of Maine’s campuses, those are probably the strongest bets for online degree programs.

The Cost of Online College in Maine

How much does an online degree in Maine cost?

The cost of an online degree in Maine depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate courses are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Maine below:

  • Most affordable online college in Maine: University of Maine at Augusta, $314 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Maine: University of Southern Maine, $769 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Maine to get in-state tuition rates?

Maine requires you to live in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to the term for which you are declaring Maine residency. In order to qualify for in-state tuition, you must prove that you came to the state for a reason other than education. This requires, for instance, working and paying income taxes in the state, refraining from enrolling in college courses during the year you are establishing residency, changing your driver’s license, etc. Some exceptions exist for veterans, active-duty service members, and spouses/domestic partners of Maine residents.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Maine?

Maine offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the New England Regional Student Program, which enables students from New England states to enroll at out-of-state New England public colleges and universities at a discount. Costs vary depending on the institution you want to attend. This can end up saving you thousands, even tens of thousands, on your degree.

The state also sponsors the Maine State Grant Program, which awards need-based aid of up to $2,500 per year to Maine undergraduate students of all ages. Eligibility for the grant is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Maine

In addition to New England tuition reciprocity and the Maine State Grant, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund

This is a scholarship for permanent residents of New England states who demonstrate financial need and display academic achievement, a commitment to serving others, a strong work ethic, and leadership qualities. Awards tend to range from $3,000 to $17,000.

 

Who’s eligible? New England residents enrolled in an eligible program at an eligible postsecondary institution who meet certain financial need criteria, maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and demonstrate qualities of community service, changemaking, and leadership.

Contact information: [email protected] | 978-744-2111

Learn more

Mainely Character Scholarship

This scholarship offers funding to Maine students based solely on character, not academics, financial need, or special talents. The committee assesses character using four main criteria: courage, integrity, responsibility, and concern. Awards range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year.

Who’s eligible? Maine high schoolers who will begin college in the fall and demonstrate exceptional character.

Contact information: [email protected]

Learn more

New England Water Works Association Scholarships

This organization awards scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 to students majoring in fields related to water works, such as civil engineering or environmental engineering.

Who’s eligible? Specific requirements vary by scholarship, but applicants must be residents of New England or attend a college/university in New England. They must also be members of the New England Water Works Association.

Contact information: [email protected] | 508-893-7979

Learn more

Futurama Foundation Scholarship Program

This foundation awards several different scholarships to Maine women with financial need. Awards are typically $1,500 per year.

Who’s eligible? Specific requirements vary by scholarship, but applicants must be Maine women who are attending or will attend an accredited college or university.

Contact information: [email protected]

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Industries in Maine

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Maine can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Maine, and many come with an average annual salary in the six figures:

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants (PAs) are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care, and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in Maine is $123,200.

 

Nurse Practitioners

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Maine they earn an average salary of $116,370 per year.

Software Developers (Applications)

We live in an increasingly tech-dominated world, so it’s no surprise the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $101,440 per year in Maine.

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants perform a range of administrative and selective clinical duties to support physicians. They schedule appointments, maintain medical records, oversee billing and insurance coding, and sometimes take patients’ vitals, draw blood, and administer medication as directed. In Maine, they earn an average salary of $38,990 per year.

 

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in treating speech impediments and other issues that arise in the mouth and throat area, including chewing and swallowing food. Demand for SLP services is expected to rise greatly in Maine and across the country, largely due to the aging population and prevalence of health issues such as stroke and Alzheimer’s, which can impair speech and eating skills. In Maine, SLPs make an average annual salary of $73,950.

  • Projected growth: 12.5%
  • Degree options: Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology