For students who find that traditional education is too expensive or lacks the flexibility they need, online schools in Maine offer accessible alternatives that lead to the same respected and career-relevant degrees. From Maine’s major research universities to intimate liberal arts institutions, distance learners can choose from diverse and affordable options. The College Board reports that, in the 2017–2018 academic year, Maine students who attended public schools paid $10,000 in annual tuition, while those who went to private colleges spent about $27,000. Online students should expect lower prices — particularly for out-of-state students, who may be able to pay in-state tuition — and will enjoy distinct financial aid opportunities. These opportunities include awards for transfer students, particularly those who graduate from one of the Pine Tree State’s community colleges.
Asynchronous coursework is a cornerstone of distance education. Students take these online classes through learning management platforms like Blackboard or Canvas, which allows them to access course materials and interact with peers and professors around the clock. Online colleges in Maine also provide accelerated courses and even whole degree paths. These features enable distance learners to design an academic plan that aligns with their goals, whether it be to work while they pursue higher education or to earn a bachelor’s in two years instead of the normal four. Distance learners can pursue degrees in a variety of fields, including teaching, nursing, health administration, and business.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Maine:We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Maine, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Maine may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Maine.
The Best Online Colleges in Maine
1. St. Joseph’s College of Maine
St. Joseph’s College of Maine is a Catholic liberal arts university established in 1912. Originally an all-female university, the school became a coeducational institution when it launched its online programs in 1976. An estimated 2,400 students attend online, from all 50 states and nine countries. The college offers 40 academic programs, most of which are also available online. The university also offers a study abroad program in about 35 countries around the world.
St. Joseph’s College of Maine offers a number of associate’s, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs entirely online. Associate’s degrees include business administration. Bachelor’s degrees include human services and interdisciplinary studies. Master’s degrees include accounting and education. Certifications available include health administration and nursing.
Resources available to online students include an academic advisor, online tutoring, ADA accommodations, technical support and an online library with librarian live chat.
St. Joseph’s College of Maine is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
See some of St. Joseph’s College of Maine's top rankings on TBS
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2. University of Maine at Augusta
The University of Maine at Augusta, established in 1965, teaches more than 6,000 students. The university provides more than 45 programs of study from its two academic colleges. The university developed a statewide interactive television system in 1986 to help deliver class content to its students.
The University of Maine at Augusta offers a number of associate’s, baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate and certificate programs online. Online associate’s degree programs include business administration and mental health. Online bachelor’s degree programs include cybersecurity and social science, while online post-baccalaureate degrees include public health and computer information systems. Certifications available online include web development and health informatics.
Online student resources include online tutoring in math and writing, an online job board and an online library with librarian live chat.
The University of Maine at Augusta is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
See some of The University of Maine at Augusta's top rankings on TBS
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3. University of Southern Maine
The University of Southern Maine, a public university and part of the University of Maine System, has over 9,500 students in attendance. The university’s three main campuses are located in Portland, Lewiston, and Gorham in Maine. The university offers more than 110 degree programs and contain eight academic colleges.
The University of Southern Maine offers several online baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degree programs include communication and applied technical leadership. Online master’s degree programs include special education and leadership studies. Certifications available online include English as a second language and gerontology.
Resources available to online students include academic advising, online tutoring, technical support and an online library.
The University of Southern Maine is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
4. University of New England
Located in Biddeford, the University of New England offers distance education opportunities to students through the Blackboard LMS. With no residency requirements, students can earn their degree entirely online. The university charges the same affordable tuition rate irrespective of residency status.
The academic catalog includes remote prerequisite courses in scientific topics like anatomy, genetics, organic chemistry, and medical physiology. Distance learners may also pursue graduate certificates and degrees in applied nutrition, health informatics, public health, and social work. UNE stands out from other online colleges in Maine by providing not only two master of science in education degrees (a generalist track and a reading-specialist concentration), but also a 51-credit doctor of education in educational leadership. The Ed.D. program accepts students for the fall, spring, and summer terms, and applicants do not need to submit GRE scores. Most students earn their doctorate in three years.
The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
See some of The University of New England's top rankings on TBS
5. University of Maine
The University of Maine, established in 1865, is a land-grant university and the flagship university of the University of Maine System. This university was the first in America to appoint a woman to head a major university department. The university offers more than 90 degree programs across its five academic colleges.
Through its UMaine Online platform, the University of Maine offers a vast array of online baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degree options include political science and university studies. Master’s degree offerings include social work and several topics in education. Certifications available include political science and geographic information systems.
Resources available to online students include technical support, over-the-phone writing support, an online job board and an online library with librarian live chat.
The University of Maine is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
See some of The University of Maine's top rankings on TBS
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6. Husson University
Founded in 1898, Husson University, a private university, began as a business school. It gained the ability to grant bachelor’s degrees in 1953 and became a full-fledged university in 2008. It is one of the largest universities in the state with a 200-acre campus, 2 colleges and four schools on the campus grounds. The university has over 3,000 students in attendance and offers them over 60 programs of study.
Husson University has a number of baccalaureate and master’s degrees available online via Husson University Online. Bachelor’s degree options include business administration and nursing, while master’s degree offerings include healthcare management and organizational management.
Resources available to online students include technical support, an online job board, an online writing center and an online library with access to Britannica Online, Academic Search Complete, JSTOR and a host of other academic databases.
Husson University is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
See some of Husson University's top rankings on TBS
7. University of Maine at Fort Kent
Fort Kent, Maine
The University of Maine at Fort Kent, a public liberal arts university, founded in 1878, provides academic programs in both French and English due to its close proximity to Quebec. The university has just over 1,000 students in attendance. The university provides an array of associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees.
The university holds an annual “Fiddlers Jamboree” that includes fiddlers, guitarists, banjo players and more who come together for a concert held on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers several associate’s, baccalaureate and certificate programs online. Online associate’s degrees include accounting and criminal justice. Online bachelor’s degrees include cybersecurity and nursing. Online certifications available include information security and public management.
Resources online students will have access to include live online technical support, an online job board and an online library with librarian live chat.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
See some of The University of Maine at Fort Kent's top rankings on TBS
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8. University of Maine at Machias
The University of Maine at Machias provides accessible academic opportunities to 800 undergraduate students. The catalog includes remote certificate programs in marketing, human resource management, entrepreneurship, and special education. Distance learners can also earn their bachelor’s degree entirely online, choosing from majors in college studies, business and entrepreneurship studies, and psychology and community studies. Though all of the online programs at UMM boast specialization options, the bachelor of college studies enables students to fully personalize their interdisciplinary concentration according to their professional interests and goals.
Admission requirements include ACT/SAT scores, but applicants do not need to meet a minimum GPA. UMM bases its tuition rates on residency status. Like other online schools in Maine, in-state students enjoy the lowest fees. However, the university also offers slightly discounted prices for New England and Canadian residents. The school makes financial assistance available, including the Downeast Promise, which guarantees that qualified Maine high school graduates receive enough funds to pay for 30 credits each year until they earn their degree.
The University of Maine at Machias is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
See some of The University of Maine at Machias's top rankings on TBS
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With the price of college on the rise, students must factor in the financial obligation attached to a degree. Students in New England can choose from some of the most affordable online colleges in Maine. However, while cheaper tuition may be appealing financially, it's important to consider other criteria, such as a school's reputation and quality of education.
The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in Maine
1. Central Maine Community College
Founded in 1963, CMCC boasts a total enrollment of 3,000 students. Programs provide career training or help students prepare to transfer to a four-year college. CMCC offers the opportunity for students to earn a degree completely online or in a hybrid format.
Students may choose from six online associate degree programs. Online programs include criminal justice, general studies, human services, accounting, business administration and management, and medical coding and electronic health records. Programs mostly take two years to complete, and accelerated degree programs run in eight-week sessions. Online students must work well independently, but CMCC provides academic support. Students can seek tutoring assistance, academic advising, and financial aid.
Students can receive up to 75% of college credit for prior learning experience from the military, work, or volunteerism. CMCC also maintains articulation agreements with high schools and adult learning centers in New England to provide students with transferable college credit. CMCC also provides career training to the community through the school's Center for Workforce and Professional Development.
CMCC, one of the most affordable online colleges in Maine, provides New England regional tuition rates for students currently living in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Central Maine Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
2. York County Community College
YCCC, part of the Maine Community College System, offers 23 associate degree and nine certificate programs, including several completely online and hybrid degrees. Available online associate degree and certificate programs include gerontology, behavioral health studies, helpdesk and user support, information technology, liberal studies, and web development. Classes follow an asynchronous format allowing students to study with increased flexibility. YCCC recommends that online students devote 12-15 hours per week to their school work.
Hybrid degrees offer about 80% online classes and 20% on-campus classes. Students can earn a degree in accounting, business administration, computer science, criminal justice, education, health studies, hospitality and tourism management, liberal studies, and medical assisting. Students can take YCCC's online quiz to see if online programs are a good fit for them. Throughout the program students can access technical support, browse the virtual YCCC library, and speak to success coaches.
As one of the most affordable online colleges in Maine, YCCC offers the same tuition for online and on-campus students. Students transferring from another community college in Maine can use the Course Equivalency Matrix to learn how credits transfer. Students can also receive college credit for military training, work training, and college or vocational credit earned while in high school.
York County Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
3. Kennebec Valley Community College
Located in Fairfield, Maine, Kennebec Valley Community College traces its roots back to 1969. Today KVCC has a student body of more than 2,500. The school also has campuses in Alfond, Buker, and Rockland.
KVCC offers completely online degrees with no on-campus requirements as well as hybrid classes, where online courses run asynchronously. Students can pursue an online degree in liberal studies, mental health technology, or business administration with concentrations in marketing/management and accounting. KVCC also offers an online certificate or associate degree in pulp and paper technology.
Online classes use Blackboard, an online platform that allows students to access discussions, lectures, and assignments. Students must have basic computer skills, a reliable computer, and an internet connection. Distance learning students can access library resources online and research assistance. They can email or call a librarian for help with MLA and APA citations.
KVCC offers year-round open enrollment. To apply, students must complete an online application and take the ACCUPLACER exam to determine their class placement. KVCC maintains an articulation agreement with other schools in the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System, enabling them to easily transfer to a four-year college.
Kennebec Valley Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
4. Southern Maine Community College
Founded in 1946, Southern Maine Community College, a two-year college with campuses in South Portland and Brunswick, offers more than 40 academic programs. Students can also take classes completely online or at seven off-site locations in Biddeford, Buxton, Casco/Naples, Waterboro, Portland, Hiram, and Windham.
SMCC offers online and hybrid degrees in liberal studies and business administration. Both degrees require students to complete 60 credits. Students can graduate in four semesters. Online classes run asynchronously, so students can access their assignments, exams, and review course materials 24/7 on Blackboard.
Online students do not need to travel to campus, but can get online resources to support them in their educational journey. The My Maine Guide provides online resources and tools to help students. The Learning Commons and Library connects students with online tutoring and 24/7 library resources. Students can also schedule online Skype meetings to receive transfer and career advice.
SMCC accepts applications year round. Students must submit an online or print application with the fee, high school or college transcripts, and ACT or SAT test scores. Students who did not take the SAT may take the ACCUPLACER exam. To transfer credits to SMCC, students must have received a C or better in the course, and to earn an associate degree transfer students need to complete at least 15 credits at SMCC. Students earning a certificate need to complete a minimum of nine credits at SMCC.
Southern Maine Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Maine
1. University of Maine at Machias
One of seven schools in the University of Maine System, UMM offers 11 undergraduate programs, including several online degrees in programs like psychology and community studies, business and entrepreneurial studies, and college studies, and online certificate programs for special education teacher, psychology for high school teacher entrepreneurship, marketing, and human resource management.
Online learners must work independently using Blackboard to access coursework, download files, and upload assignments. Students need basic computer and word processing skills, but have access to technical support resources. Students can also search for media, articles, eJournals, and research guides on the Merrill Library's website, where they can access career services, academic advising, and financial aid assistance.
Students who formerly attended UMM but have since moved out-of-state may reapply for in-state tuition. Depending on their major, students currently living in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont may qualify for tuition breaks from the New England Board of Higher Education's regional program. Applicants must submit an application, high school or college transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose essay.
The University of Maine at Machias is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
2. University of Southern Maine
USM, which traces its roots back to 1878, offers a wide selection of online degrees, plus partially-online and blended classes. The school has seven online bachelor's degree, eight master's degree, three undergraduate minors, and 10 certificate programs. The online bachelor's degree programs include applied technical leadership, communication, leadership and organization studies, and social and behavioral sciences. Students can also earn a graduate degree in counseling, special education, or teacher leadership.
USM Libraries provide support to online students, giving them access to articles and books through the MyUSM Portal. Online students work self-sufficiently, but they can get online help from reference librarians who provide research assistance, academic coaches, and online tutoring.
All undergraduate applicants can apply at USM for free. Candidates must submit an application along with SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, a personal statement, and a statement from a school counselor or letter of recommendation. Graduate school applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. To apply for a graduate program applicants must complete an application and submit supplemental materials such as transcripts, a resume, an essay, letters of recommendation, and (for some programs) GRE scores. To find scholarships to pay for school, students can logon to their iGrad account.
The University of Southern Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
3. University of Maine at Fort Kent
Fort Kent, Maine
UMFK sits on the border of Quebec and New Brunswick. Founded in 1878, the school was started to train teachers to work with French-speaking students in the region. Today the college offers 12 bachelor's degree, four associate degree, and three certificate programs.
UMFK also features eight online associate and bachelor's degree programs and three online certificates. Online associate programs include accounting, criminal justice, and information security. UMFK also offers online bachelor's programs in nursing, cybersecurity, allied health, and a self-designed degree.
Students use Blackboard to find assignments, take exams, and download reading materials. To succeed in an online classroom, students must have a computer with internet access and basic computer skills. After activating their school email account, students can log in to the UMFK Portal to search online databases for ebooks and other resources. All students have access to tutoring and writing assistance.
Candidates must submit an application and supplemental materials, including transcripts and letters of recommendation. First-year applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED with a minimum of a 2.0 GPA. Transfer students must also submit transcripts showing at least a 2.0 GPA. Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rates, and students can estimate of the price of college using the UMFK net price calculator.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
4. University of Maine at Augusta
Located in the state capital, UMA boasts a total enrollment of about 5,500 students. UMA offers 20 bachelor degree, 11 associate degree, seven advanced degree, 42 minor, and 44 certificate programs.
The university also features online options that includes 12 bachelor's degree, five advanced degree, nine associate degree, 21 minor, and 16 certificate programs. Degree programs also offer concentrations to help students develop specialized skills.
UMA delivers online learning through Blackboard, where online students can get in contact with professors, find assignments, and post messages on discussion boards. In addition to offering online resources, UMA Libraries provides students with citation and writing help. The Writing Center also provides students with free online tutoring.
UMA features an open admissions policy so students can apply anytime. However, to start in the fall, candidates should apply by July 1. To begin in the spring semester, applicants should apply by November 1. All applicants can submit an application for free; they must include personal essays, resumes, and transcripts. For answers to questions about the admissions process, applicants can contact the admissions office via web chat. New students can attend an online or in-person orientation.
The University of Maine at Augusta is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
5. University of Maine
Established in 1909, UMaine enrolls over 9,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students. UMaine Online offers online degrees that allow working professionals and students with children to tailor their school schedule around their busy lives. Classes run asynchronously but follow the same academic calendar as on-campus courses.
Online students can pick from three bachelor's degrees and four undergraduate minors. To ensure online students get the same support as traditional students, the college offers online writing assistance through the Writing Center where tutors meet with students via Google Hangouts.
Students can also access resources from the Raymond H. Fogler Library via the library's website. Through the Division of Lifelong Learning, online students can also receive academic advising resources and assistance with Blackboard.
Online students pay the same tuition as on-campus students, and the school offers tuition breaks to students currently living in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Canada. To apply for an online program, applicants must submit high school or college transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, an essay, and a letter of recommendation.
UMaine considers all first-time students for merit-based scholarships. Eligible graduate students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. They must also submit transcripts and letters of recommendation. Some programs also require GRE scores.
The University of Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
6. Husson University
With 72 undergraduate and graduate programs, Husson University offers an intimate learning environment with and an average class size of 20 students. Students seeking an online education can choose from the university's eight online bachelor's degrees and one certificate. Online learners use Canvas to interact with professors and obtain course materials, which they can do 24/7. Husson University offers degrees in business, technology, healthcare, liberal studies, and psychology.
Some degrees also offer concentrations which allow students to gain specialized skills that help them to tailor their education to specific career goals. The online bachelor of science in business administration degree program provides optional concentrations in management and marketing management. And the master of business administration program offers concentrations in biotechnology and innovation, data analytics, healthcare management, and organizational management. Online bachelor's and master's degree programs take 12-24 months to complete.
To apply for an online degree, applicants must submit an application and college or high school transcripts. Undergraduate candidates must submit ACT or SAT scores for some programs. Graduate applicants must submit one letter of recommendation and a statement of purpose essay. Husson University accepts as many as six transfer credits toward a master's degree, and 90 transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree. To earn a degree from Husson University, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits at the university.
Husson University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Additional Online Colleges in Maine Featured on TBS
Kennebec Valley Community College
Washington County Community College