The Best Online Colleges in Maine

by TBS Staff

Updated October 20, 2022

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Famous for its stunning coastlines, Maine also offers top-ranked online degrees in many in-demand fields.

Many of Maine's fastest-growing careers require bachelor's degrees; for example, a college degree meets the entry requirements for jobs in finance, education, and management. Compared to a high school graduate, a professional with a bachelor's degree earns $26,000 more per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Online bachelor's programs offer several benefits compared to in-person programs. Mainers in remote parts of the state can enroll at top colleges without relocating or commuting long distances. Many of Maine's online colleges also offer in-state tuition discounts for Maine residents. Maine's online colleges offer programs in popular areas like business, cybersecurity, nursing, and education.

Our list ranks the best online colleges in Maine. Prospective students can use these rankings to find the right fit for their personal interests, budgets, and career goals.

Featured Online Schools

The Best Online Colleges in Maine

#1 The Best Online Colleges in Maine

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

  • Standish, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Anyone interested in pursuing a degree online should consider Saint Joseph's College of Maine. A total of 23 online undergraduate and graduate programs are available through this private institution. Many distance learners choose to study at this school because of its track record in online education and reputation for academic quality.

The school's main campus in Standish hosts academic and career services offices available to online learners. Degree-seekers who choose to connect with academic advisors can participate in virtual job fairs and other career-planning events. The internship program that the school offers helps many students prepare for their future careers. The degree that graduates receive upon completing their program is fully accredited.

Additional details regarding program availability and application processes are available by contacting the school.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 792

Online Bachelor's Programs: 6

Online Master's Programs: 8

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 38%

Admission Rate: 87%

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,720
Out-of-state
$36,720
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
1,987
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 The Best Online Colleges in Maine

University of Maine at Augusta

  • Augusta, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Maine at Augusta has online programming that ranks favorably among similar opportunities. Remote students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have 30 options through this public institution. Distance learners appreciate the way the school brings its reputation for academic success to its online programming.

From its campus, the school supports online learners with academic and career services. Degree-seekers connect with academic advisors and participate in virtual job fairs and career-planning events. Many degree programs include an internship, helping students gain experience in their field. A degree with full accreditation is awarded to enrollees upon completion of their program.

Representatives at the school can provide additional information about application and program specifics.

University of Maine at Augusta at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 3,298

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 59%

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,170
Out-of-state
$17,340
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,361
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Online Colleges in Maine

University of Southern Maine

  • Portland, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Southern Maine offers online programming that ranks highly among similar offerings. The public institution delivers 21 online programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school has a track record in academic success through online coursework.

Academic and career service professionals based out of the Portland campus are available to help online learners. Degree-seekers can participate in career-planning events like virtual job fairs by connecting with these academic advisors. Many students also gain hands-on field experience through the school's internship programs. Completing their academic program grants graduates an accredited degree.

Prospective applicants can contact the school to learn more about online program options and admission requirements.

University of Southern Maine at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 3,393

Online Bachelor's Programs: 6

Online Master's Programs: 8

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 11%

Admission Rate: 81%

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,868
Out-of-state
$20,692
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
8,429
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Online Colleges in Maine

University of New England

  • Biddeford, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Online degree-seekers should consider the University of New England. The private institution hosts 13 programs for remote learners at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The school has a track record in academic success through online coursework.

Academic and career preparation services are available to all students, even those outside of the Biddeford, Maine, campus. Programs like academic advising and virtual job fairs help degree-seekers plan for their academic and professional futures. Many students also gain hands-on field experience through the school's internship program. An accredited degree is awarded to graduates upon completing their academic program.

Additional details regarding program availability and application processes are available by contacting the school.

University of New England at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 3,521

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Online Master's Programs: 7

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 22%

Admission Rate: 84%

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,390
Out-of-state
$37,390
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
7,483
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 The Best Online Colleges in Maine

University of Maine

  • Orono, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Those looking for an online college program should consider the University of Maine. Remote students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have 35 options through this public institution. The school has experience facilitating online classes and a reputation for strong academics, attracting many remote students.

Online learners can benefit from the academic advisors and career services professionals at the Orono campus. Degree-seekers benefit from virtual job fairs and other career-planning services, as well as academic advising. Internship programs are also available to students, helping them gain valuable field experience. An accredited degree is awarded to graduates upon completion of their program.

Reach out to the school with any questions about what programs are available online and how to apply to them.

University of Maine at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 4,203

Online Bachelor's Programs: 5

Online Master's Programs: 10

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 15%

Admission Rate: 90%

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$29,310
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
11,561
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Maine Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Employment in Maine

Earning a college degree can help Mainers increase their earning potential and qualify for more jobs. Maine's fastest-growing industries include management careers, educational services, and professional and technical services. The state also reports growth in the finance industry. These fields generally require a bachelor's degree, and yet in July 2019, only 31.8% of Maine's population held a bachelor's degree.

Maine benefits from a lower-than-average cost of living and a below-average unemployment rate. In Maine, the cost of living index sits at 96.5 when measured against the national rate of 100. In Feb. 2021, the state's 4.8% unemployment rate sat below the 6.2% national average.

Many careers offer above-average salaries in Maine. In May 2020, the state's mean annual wage exceeded $51,000. However, Mainers working as computer and information systems managers, financial managers, nurse practitioners, and sales managers all earned salaries more than double that average annual wage. Several of these career paths require a bachelor's degree and work experience for entry-level employment.

The following information explores some of the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Maine. Salary information applies specifically to Maine, while job growth data pertains to the entire United States.

Highest-Paying Careers
Career Annual Mean Salary (2020) Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Education Required
Physicians $279,700 4% Doctoral degree
Chief Executives $152,620 4% Bachelor's degree
Pharmacists $134,100 -3% Doctoral degree
Computer and Information Systems Managers $133,040 10% Bachelor's degree
Financial Managers $122,940 15% Bachelor's degree
Sales Managers $117,230 4% Bachelor's degree
Nurse Practitioners $111,580 45% Master's degree
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Associate and Graduate Degrees

In addition to bachelor's programs, many online colleges in Maine offer associate and graduate degrees. The switch to online-only education during the COVID-19 pandemic increased dependence on hybrid and fully online programs. As a result, students now have many options when choosing online associate degrees, master's programs, and doctorates.

At the undergraduate level, the University of Maine at Augusta offers associate degrees in business administration, computer information systems, and justice studies. The university's liberal studies major meets general education requirements for a bachelor's degree.

Online graduate programs offer flexible formats for professionals seeking career advancement or changes. At St. Joseph's College of Maine, master's enrollees can study business administration, education, health administration, and nursing online. The college also offers online master's programs in theology and divinity. Meanwhile, the University of Southern Maine offers online master's degrees in nursing, education, and cybersecurity.

During an online degree, learners complete coursework through a distance learning platform. Online colleges offer both synchronous and asynchronous schedules, and most accept transfer credits. Programs that require in-person components, such as student teaching or clinical practicums, work with students to meet the requirement in their local areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Maine Have an Ivy League?

Maine does not have any Ivy League schools. However, several Maine colleges and universities are quite prestigious, including liberal arts colleges like Bowdoin College and public universities like the University of Maine.

How Many Colleges Are There in Maine?

Maine is home to dozens of public and private colleges, including two-year and four-year institutions. Learn more about Maine's colleges from the state's higher education page.

Is Portland, Maine, a College Town?

According to the University of Southern Maine newspaper, several organizations have ranked Portland as the best college town in Maine. There are several colleges and universities operating in and around the Portland area.


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