Though Maine doesn’t have as many schools to choose from as some states, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality!
Maine has both public and private schools recognized in the US News and World Reports rankings. These schools offer renowned academic programs, impressive graduation and retention rates, and attractive financial aid incentives. Most of the schools also offer rigorous online degree programs, a hallmark of higher education in Maine.
Indeed, the state of Maine is packed with quality higher education options.
Overview of Higher Education in Maine
Maine is home to 31 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of the 31, 17 are public, 13 are private non-profit and 1 is private for-profit.
US News and World Reports’ “Regional College North” rankings include Maine Maritime Academy, University of Maine – Farmington, Unity College, and University of Maine – Presque Isle, all of which rank in the top 30.
To attend one of Maine’s 4-year institutions, the NCES reports that residents will pay an average of $9,930 in tuition and fees. Out of state students will pay closer to $27,735. Both rates are very close to the national averages.
Residents whose chosen major is not available at a Maine school are invited to enroll in programs at schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont at a significantly reduced rate, thanks to the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and its Regional Student Program (RSP). In the 2019-2020 school year alone more than 9200 New England residents have saved an estimated $63.5 million in tuition because of the RSP.
About Online Colleges in Maine
Whether you’re headed to college straight from high school or going back after years away, online learning can be a convenient and flexible way to earn a degree while maintaining a career, family or other obligations.
Data from the NCES in 2018 showed that 18.5% of postsecondary students in Maine were enrolled in online courses exclusively. Another 16.9% of students were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.
Today, nearly all of Maine’s postsecondary schools offer some sort of online learning option.
One of Maine’s most impressive resources for online students is the University of Maine system. This system is the state’s largest educational enterprise, and ties together seven universities—some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as a law school, an additional 31-course sites, and Cooperative Extension. Students can access more than 100 degrees and programs taught on-site, via interactive television, videoconferencing, and through online instruction. Students are able to access a variety of courses not available at their primary institutions, at low or no additional cost. The University of Main system also offers support services such as counseling, scholarship support, job placement, and internship opportunities.
The private schools in Maine also offer online degree programs. Private Catholic liberal arts college Saint Joseph’s University offers online certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs in fields such as accounting, business, education, and health administration. Another private college in Maine, Husson University, offers a range of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, healthcare, legal studies, liberal studies, psychology, and technology.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Maine
Before enrolling at a college or university in Maine, you should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will give you access to federal, state, and private financial aid.
The FAFSA should be filled out as early as possible. It is available every year starting on October 1st and many funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
The application will require you to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). This information will help determine how much and what type of financial aid you receive.
The ideal forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships since these do not have to be repaid.
In Maine, the Financial Authority of Maine (FAME) administers the state’s college savings plans, loans, grant, and scholarship programs, and oversees outreach and counseling programs to encourage young people to pursue higher education.
FAME administers the following financial aid programs exclusively for Maine residents:
- Maine State Grant Program – Need-based aid; Up to $1500 per year
- The Main State Grant Program for Adult Learners – Need-based aid for adult learners; Up to $1,500 per year
- The Maine Tuition Waiver (Foster Care) – Full tuition waiver for students who are in the foster care program, were adopted from the foster care program or are minor wards of permanent guardians
- The Maine Tuition Waiver (Public Servant) – Full tuition waiver for dependent children or spouses of police officers, fire fighters and other first responders who were killed in the line of duty
FAME handles additional grant programs for those going into specific professions, including healthcare, education and veterinary sciences, and more.
Scholarships are the other type of ideal financial aid. Many scholarships are offered based on academic merit, but they may also be awarded based on geographic location, chosen field of study, unique traits or hobbies, and so on.
Here are some of the many scholarships open to Maine residents:
|The Maureen D. Keller Undergraduate Scholarship||High school senior who intends to major in a STEM field||
|The Richard H. Pierce Memorial Scholarship||Need and merit-based; Renewable if earning 12 credits per semester and maintaining GPA of 2.5 or higher||
$5000 per year
|Nell Goff Scholarship||Open to sophomores and above who are majoring in horticulture, floriculture, landscape design, conservation, forestry, botany, agronomy, plant pathology, environmental control, city planning and/or other gardening related fields; Priority to resident of the St. Croix District||
|Mainely Character Scholarship||High School senior; Based on character assessment||
Varies each year
Opportunities like these can be found on scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com, where you can enter basic information about yourself and be matched with dozens of scholarships.
Also, be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college you have chosen. They may be able to tell you about additional financial aid opportunities for admitted students
List of Online Colleges in Maine
|Online Colleges in Maine||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|University of Maine – Augusta||Augusta, Maine||$7,448||Regional||$40|
|University of New England||Biddeford, Maine||$35,630||Regional||$40|
|University of Maine – Fort Kent||Fort Kent, Maine||$7,575||Regional||$40|
|University of Maine – Machias||Machias, Maine||$7,530||Regional||$40|
|University of Maine||Orono, Maine||$10,628||Regional||$40|
|Saint Joseph’s College of Maine||Standish, Maine||$33,600||Regional||$0|
The state of Maine is full of top-ranking colleges and universities.
And with excellent financial assistance programs and a plethora of online learning opportunities, it’s clear that the state is committed to helping residents continue their education.