Best Online Colleges in Maine

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBest Online Collegesin Maine2017
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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.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Saint Joseph's College of Maine 77.19 51% Standish, ME

Students seeking a Roman Catholic liberal arts education rich in rigor can attend Saint Joseph’s College (SJC) at its Standish campus or online. The institution offers academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing, emphasizing hands-on learning for the real world.

About 2,500 students around the United States and the world engage in online learning at SJC, which has been delivering distance education since 1976. One of the best online colleges in Maine, SJC has an extensive catalog of online bachelor’s degree offerings in fields ranging from education and information technology to human services and theology. The school offers several BS degrees in health education; specializations include health administration, radiologic science administration, and business administration, and the senior living leadership major. The BS in interdisciplinary studies has several minors, including accounting, health administration, and marketing. Online learners have personal advisors, online tutoring, IT assistance, and other services.

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2 University of Maine at Fort Kent 68.75 38% Fort Kent, ME

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers students the perfect blend of a scholastic atmosphere with a rural heritage and academic rigor. Among the school’s highlights are faculty who provide students with one-on-one support, a high percentage of international students, professionally-focused educational programs, and affordability. As one of the online colleges in Maine, the school uses high technology to reach distance learners around the nation and globe who take courses, hybrid degree programs, or 100% online degree programs.

Bachelor’s degree programs are available online delivered via Blackboard in areas such as cyber security, allied health, information security, and accounting. Two programs of note are the self-designed Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS), in which students develop an individualized program of study based on their professional interests; and the BAS for undecided students not intending to pursue "identifiable vocational, professional, and/or graduate interests."

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3 University of Maine 63.75 59% Orono, ME

A strong educational tradition and world-class faculty make the University of Maine (UMaine) a popular destination for many students seeking a vibrant and dynamic university. UMaine offers 90 undergraduate academic programs, 70 master’s, and 35 doctoral programs. One of new England’s premier institutions, UMaine in known for research that is internationally recognized and state-of-the-art facilities. The school also has a strong presence in distance learning being one of Maine’s online colleges.

In addition to several master’s programs and certificates that can be earned online, UMaine offers a BA in political science and bachelor of university studies (BUS). The BUS has four tracks: self-designed, labor studies, leadership studies, and Maine studies. The institution also offers courses year round via the Summer University and the fully online Winter Session. UMaine’s "Think 30" program encourages students to complete 30 credits per year to graduate on time and reduce college debt.

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4 Husson University 62.81 41% Bangor, ME

Husson University (HU) is a private university and home to about 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students engaged in experiential learning with a curriculum that embraces global engagement. Located in Bangor, HU’s three colleges and two schools administer educational programs in a wide range of disciplines. HU, one of Maine’s online colleges, offers three bachelor’s programs that can be earned from a distance: a BS in business administration with a general emphasis and two areas of specialization--marketing and management; a BS in software development; and an RN-to-BSN.

HU notes that its programs offer flexibility, can be completed in an accelerated format, and are affordable; almost 90% of students receive some form of financial aid such as federal, state, or scholarships.

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5 University of Maine at Machias 59.69 29% Machias, ME

Known as Maine’s Coastal university, the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) offers an environmental liberal arts core, specialized bachelor’s degree programs, and a learning community that is student-centered. Approximately 800 students attend UMM with a choice of 11 undergraduate degree programs and a student-faculty ratio of 12:1.

UMM is one of the online colleges in Maine offering student-centered programs and personalized instruction. Three bachelor’s degree programs are offered online: psychology and community studies (BA), business and entrepreneurial studies (BS or BCS), and college studies (BCS). Notably, the psychology & community studies major, an interdisciplinary program incorporating anthropology, sociology, psychology, natural sciences, etc., has two concentrations: applied psychology and disabilities in youth. UMM notes that its programs are flexible and affordable with financial aid available; UMM in-state students who are currently living out-of-state can complete a UMM degree online at the in-state price.

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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
Best Online Colleges in Maine of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent, ME
2 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
3 University of Maine Orono, Maine
4 University of Maine at Machias Machias, ME
5 Husson University Bangor, ME
6 University of Southern Maine Portland, ME
7 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle, ME