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2023 Best Online Colleges in Maine

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 9/19/2023


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Prospective students interested in distance learning can find several online degree programs available among Maine's higher education institutions. Our 2023 list includes all of Maine's institutions that offer 100% online degree programs. Universities in Maine provide distance learning available across several specialties, giving students a wide variety of online majors to choose from. In addition to large catalogs of online degree programs, many Maine institutions offer students flexibility and affordability to meet each students’ unique scheduling and financial needs. Also, prospective students interested in attending an online degree program in Maine can expect to receive support services like tutoring, a writing center, academic advising, and more. For students transferring from one of Maine's online community colleges may be able to transfer their credits and accelerate their path to finishing an undergraduate program. 

We've arranged our best online colleges in Maine by Salary Score. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU

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2023 Best Online Colleges in Maine

RankSchool Salary Score Online Enrollment
# 1 #1 University of New England 56 3,285
# 2 #2 Saint Joseph's College of Maine 54 792
# 3 #3 University of Southern Maine 41 1,020
# 4 #4 University of Maine at Augusta 39 2,342
# 5 #5 Husson University 38 691
# 6 #6 University of Maine 37 1,276
# 7 #7 University of Maine at Presque Isle N/A 313
# 8 #8 University of Maine at Machias N/A 291
# 9 #9 Unity College N/A 257

#1 University of New England

  • Salary Score: 56
  • Online Enrollment: 3,285
  • Locations: Biddeford
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of New England (UNE) in suburban Biddeford is a private, nonprofit institution offering online degrees at the master's and doctoral levels through the College of Professional Studies. Areas of study include education, emergency management, health informatics, applied nutrition, public health, and social work. Online graduate certificates and technology bootcamps are also available in several fields to help students hone in on skills specific to their interests and advance in their careers.

UNE delivers its online curriculum to distance learners via Brightspace. It has a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a student body of about 3,000 graduate students, so class sizes are small. UNE prides itself on its student-centered approach to learning and provides remote access to several student resources and services, including tech support, the library and bookstore, the Student Success Portal, tutoring, writing assistance, and academic advising.

#2 Saint Joseph's College of Maine

  • Salary Score: 54
  • Online Enrollment: 792
  • Locations: Standish
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Standish's Saint Joseph's College of Maine (SJC) is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. All SJCEM graduate students and 31% of undergrads enroll in distance-only education. Most notable are SJC's online nursing programs. These include an online RN to BSN and an online MSN, with specializations such as family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology, nurse practitioner, and education. SJC has an 81% acceptance rate and a 40% graduation rate.

SJC's online learners access online programming through Brightspace. As a small college with approximately 1,200 students, its student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1, and class sizes are small, enabling individualized instruction. SJC has provided distance learning opportunities since 1976 to increase access to higher education and help students achieve their academic and career goals more easily. While attending SJC is relatively expensive at approximately $29,200 annually, it offers tuition discounts of up to 15% through 600 employers, including 100 healthcare institutions.

#3 University of Southern Maine

  • Salary Score: 41
  • Online Enrollment: 1,020
  • Locations: Portland
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Prospective students looking for online degree programs have several options they can choose from at the University of Southern Maine (USM). The university provides career-focused programs to help online students gain the knowledge and skills to pursue their desired careers. The online undergraduate majors at USM include marketing, social and behavioral sciences, and business analytics.

Online students at USM may be eligible for e-tuition rates to help lower the cost of tuition. USM also has a lay transfer policy, making it easier for students to transfer college credits from other institutions successfully. Online students at USM can access resources like tutoring, an online library, academic advising, a writing center, a bookstore, and veterans services.

#4 University of Maine at Augusta

  • Salary Score: 39
  • Online Enrollment: 2,342
  • Locations: Augusta
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) has provided more than 30 years of distance education for online learners. In fact, UMA has the most online degree programs than any other public institution in Maine. The university offers 28 online degrees, which are all delivered entirely online. Some of the online programs offered at UMA are data science, public administration, and mental health & human studies.

UMA has a Student Tech Hub, where remote students can access all the online resources they need to navigate distance learning. Other online student resources at UMA include academic and career advising, tutoring, counseling, and more.

#5 Husson University

  • Salary Score: 38
  • Online Enrollment: 691
  • Locations: Bangor (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

At Husson University, students can access affordable and flexible online learning. Husson has online degrees and certificate programs that students can pursue. Sample online programs at Husson are animal-assisted therapy, software development, and financial planning.

Online students at Husson have access to a personal academic advisor, experiential learning, life-long career services, and small class sizes. Also, during their online program, students can earn micro-credentials, or digital badges, showing their mastery of a subject area. Husson’s online student resources include tutoring, a writing center, accessibility services, and international student services.

#6 University of Maine

  • Salary Score: 37
  • Online Enrollment: 1,276
  • Locations: Orono
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Maine (UMaine) offers online degrees, certifications, and professional development programs. Future students can choose from over 30 online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some examples of online degrees at UMaine are educational leadership, economics, and surveying engineering technology.

Prospective and current students can attend UMaine Online’s monthly Coffee Chat. During this virtual event, attendees can ask UMaine’s advisors about admissions, programs, resources, and online student life. Student resources at UMA include disability support services, IT help, tutoring, a writing center, and first-generation student support.

#7 University of Maine at Presque Isle

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 313
  • Locations: Presque Isle
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) has online undergraduate programs that are offered 100% online. UMPI provides flexible and affordable programs students can complete in as few as 12 months. Some online programs offered at UMPI are professional communication & journalism, educational studies, and project management.

For fast learners, UMPI offers YourPace online undergraduate accelerated programs. These programs are designed to match how quickly students can learn and prove their knowledge, saving them time and money. Online student resources at UMPI include a tutoring and writing center, an online library, and disability services.

#8 University of Maine at Machias

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 291
  • Locations: Machias
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Maine at Machias (UMM) is a regional campus in the UMaine public system on the Bold Coast. It offers online degrees at the associate and bachelor's levels and several online certificates. UMaine's distance learners comprise 13% of undergrads and half of graduate students system-wide, including UMM. They enroll throughout online degree programs in business and entrepreneurial studies, college studies, education, liberal studies, environmental geographic information science, and psychology and community studies. UMM accepts 96% of applicants, and 58% of students graduate with degrees on par with the national average.

UMM uses a combination of asynchronous learning through Brightspace and synchronous learning through Zoom to deliver its online programming. It has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UNN awards merit and need-based scholarships to eligible first-year students that are renewable for up to four years. Examples include the $4,000 Presidential Scholarship and the $2,000 Bold Scholarship. Student support services extend beyond the classroom and include a dedicated career center, including tools for career exploration, resources for veterans and diverse populations, and resume help.

#9 Unity College

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 257
  • Locations: Unity
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Unity College (UC) in rural New Gloucester is a private, nonprofit institution known as "America's Environmental College" due to its unique online programming. This includes online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels and non-degree-granting certificates. Notable online bachelor's degrees include animal health and behavior, marine biology and sustainable aquaculture, and environmental science and climate change. Graduate students can complete online master's degrees in fields such as environmental studies and sustainability and climate change adaptation and resilience in as few as 12 months if attending full time. UC has a 91% acceptance rate and a 65% graduation rate that's higher than average.

UC delivers online coursework and instruction via Canvas. It has a 27:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and small class sizes allow educators to adapt instruction to individual student needs. Students take one class at a time, which is considered a full-time schedule at UC. This makes it easier for students to adapt to college and the online learning environment. Undergraduate terms are five-week and graduate terms are eight, which helps students finish faster than traditional degree programs. UC also has a generous transfer credit policy, which can help students save time and money.

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Higher Education in Maine

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Maine is home to 29 colleges with degree programs. These institutions include Maine community colleges, where you can enroll in certificate and associate degree programs but also four-year colleges and universities offering bachelor's and graduate degrees. About half of Maine's colleges are publicly funded, and most are in rural areas or small towns.

One-third of Maine's 25-and-older population held at least a bachelor's degree in 2021. This ranks the state 23rd in terms of educational attainment. Maine will need a constant supply of educated workers to meet its growth goals for key industries, such as life sciences and clean energy. For that reason, studying for a STEM degree might be a good bet if you're interested in a Maine career.

You can potentially find online degree and certificate programs at every level of education in the Pine Tree State. Most distance learning programs have asynchronous courses with no live meetings, so you can do classwork at any convenient time of the day or night. Online education has helped many students balance school with work and other parts of their lives.

Interested in a specific career helping people? See our lists of online MSW programs in Maine and online nursing programs in Maine.

FAQs About Online Colleges in Maine

Is Community College Free in Maine?

The state government is funding community college certificates and associate degrees for students who graduated from a Maine high school between 2020 and 2023. This pandemic relief program covers any tuition and fees remaining after the student has used all their other sources of federal or state financial aid.

Other community college aid programs include the Worthington Foundation Scholarship and the Opportunity Maine program. 

How Many Colleges Are in Maine?

Maine has 29 institutions that grant associate degrees or higher. This includes the University of Maine System, which consists of the flagship University of Maine campus at Orono, six other university campuses, and a small law school. 

What Are the Best Colleges in Maine?

You can review the rankings list on this page, which we organize based on graduates' average earnings over time. But there are many factors influencing a school's quality and not all will be equally important to you. For example, you might consider student-faculty ratio, graduation rates, cost, financial aid packages, or available research centers.

How Much Is College in Maine?

There's no single college cost in Maine because each school charges a different amount for tuition and required fees. But we can use NCES data to see that average college costs are higher in Maine for most categories than they are in the rest of the country.

  • Public four-year college, in-state resident: $10,377
  • Public four-year college, out-of-state resident: $29,061
  • Private four-year college: $40,007
  • Public two-year college, in-state resident: $3,857
  • Public two-year college, out-of-state resident: $6,746

Although this is the latest available data, these averages come from 2020-2021. College prices have mostly increased since then.

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