Best Online Colleges in Maine

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Maine’s membership in the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) provides the state with robust research opportunities and ample resources to support online and distance students seeking affordable higher education opportunities. The NEBHE “Tuition Break” program passes on significant cost savings to traditional and online students, allowing out-of-state students to qualify for lower in-state tuition at many colleges and universities within the six member states.

Higher education institutions in Maine understand that interest in online learning is growing rapidly. In an informal survey of small New England colleges that was published by NECBE, about two-thirds of college presidents agree that they must pursue significantly different models of education (like online learning) to remain competitive in the future.

One way Maine confirms its commitment to improving online higher education opportunities is through the Learn.Maine.Edu program, a convenient hub of online and hybrid programs offered on the University of Maine system. The system utilizes interactive television (iTV) and video conferencing in the completion of courses.

Online colleges in Maine provide students with more convenient and flexible program options than traditional courses may. Distance learners can take advantage of distance education that can allow students to work at their preferred pace, making it easier to balance work and family responsibilities.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1University of Maine at Fort Kent 2/549.55%Fort Kent, ME

The University of Maine at Fort Kent affords distance learners the opportunity to earn their degrees entirely online or in a hybrid online/on-campus program, making it one of the most convenient programs in the state.

The school offers a choice of six associate degrees and seven bachelor’s degrees online, in addition to a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN) degree. Students can also pursue one of seven online certificate programs to further expand their skillset. All online material can be accessed through the Blackboard learning system, and students can take advantage of UMFK's online library for articles and other resources.

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2Saint Joseph’s College of Maine 5/562.62%Standish, ME

Saint Joseph’s offers several concentrations within majors such as accounting and finance, criminal justice, human services, information studies, nursing, psychology, and theology, among others.

With course schedules available in over 30 programs, faculty and experts are available to help students in a personalized academic setting. Personal advisors and online tutoring services are also available to distance learners. In addition to its dozens of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Saint Joseph’s also has 15 certificate programs for students looking to strengthen their skill in a specific area.

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3University of Maine 3/559.66%Orono, ME

UMaineOnline provides access to a world-class learning environment at the state’s flagship public university. Enrolled students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees—and certificates—spanning a wide-array of majors and disciplines. UMaineOnline’s bachelor of undergraduate studies degree (BUS) allows busy adults the freedom to fully self-design their own interdisciplinary degree.

With 22 certificates (and minors) at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a combined 18 bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral degrees, the University of Maine allows distance learners to acquire the degree of their choice at their own pace.

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4University of Maine at Machias 2/531.43%Machias, ME

The University of Maine at Machias’s student-centered online programs span three majors and one degree-completion program. Enrolled students may earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology and community studies or business and entrepreneurial studies (attainable as either a BS or a BCS). A bachelor of college studies degree can be earned in health professions, special education, or may be self-designed.

In addition to these degrees, Machias also offers four online degree certificates in either special education teacher, entrepreneurship, human resources management, or marketing.

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5Husson University 3/542.09%Bangor, ME

A non-profit institution, Husson University stands out among other schools for its focus on experiential learning and global engagement. Husson offers online degree programs in education, nursing, and software development, but is well known for its business school. Students pursuing this field can choose from seven different degrees, including a bachelor in business administration, a BSBA in management, an MBA in biotechnology and innovation, and more.

In order to accelerate progress toward their degree, baccalaureate enrollees are allowed to transfer up to 90 credits from previous institutions; graduate students may transfer six credits.

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6University of Southern Maine 2/532.39%Portland, ME

USM Online has undergraduate programs, graduate programs, and certificate programs that are all fully achievable at a distance learner’s own speed. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in applied technical leadership, business administration, communication, leadership and organizational studies, liberal studies, and social and behavioral sciences.

Master’s degree programs are available in adult and higher education, leadership studies, and special education. In addition, USM offers five certificate programs.

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7University of Maine at Presque Isle 2/543.03%Presque Isle, ME

Online curriculum at the University of Maine at Presque Isle emphasizes the “three A’s”: affordability, accessibility, and accreditation. Built for distance learners, 120 credit-hour bachelor of art degrees are achievable in three different subject matters, including English, history and political science, and psychology.

UM Presque Isle also offers an online teaching certificate for those who are unable to easily commute to campus. This certification is an option for either previous university graduates with an interest in teaching or for present college attendees who plan to teach after they graduate.

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8University of Maine at Augusta 2/510.97%Augusta, ME

The University of Maine at Augusta affords distance learners several e-learning options that do not require regular, on-campus attendance. Degrees and certificates are available at many levels of postsecondary education. UMA also offers five post-baccalaureate degrees.

Students can choose from a wide variety of online programs, including a certificate in social media, an associate’s degree in public administration, or a bachelor’s degree in any one of UMA’s 23 specific majors.

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More About Online Colleges in Maine

In 2012, 10,503 students were enrolled in fully online distance learning programs in Maine. Though the state has struggled to maintain its postsecondary graduation rates over the past decade, total enrollment has increased by about 12% at public institutions.

Maine understands the value in online and distance learning, and has invested in a comprehensive infrastructure at the K-12 level to provide access to disadvantaged students, create unique educational opportunities and prepare students to take advantage of this style of learning at the college level. The MCCS Rural Initiative, part of the Maine Community College System, made investments in 2008 that continue to support expanded distance learning opportunities for students in rural parts of the state.

Additionally, the University of Maine Systems supports the Learn.Maine.Edu program, which offers online and distance degree and certificate programs through its network of seven four-year schools. University College, which is also part of the University of Maine System, has eight off-campus outreach centers and offers over 400 courses online in various areas of professional development and continuing education. As online programs in higher education continue to gain popularity in Maine, the amount of specialized programs offered will increase considerably.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Maine for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

Recent NCES reports indicate that 10.1% (6,568) of undergraduate students enrolled in Maine’s Title IV institutions were in exclusively online programs.

  • 12.7% of students at public four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 4.1% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 76.7% were living in Maine
  • 21.3% were living elsewhere in the United States