Best Maine Colleges & Universities

Become Team
Become Team
September 7, 2021

College attendance in Maine is on the rise: according to the Lumina Foundation, the number of graduates with an associate degree rose to 41.3 percent in 2014, up from 36.8 percent in 2008. Overall, college enrollment in Maine is a bit higher than the national average, and certificate programs seem to be the prevailing trend, with 21.4 percent of residents having some college experience but no degree. Students interested in attending college in Maine can find information here on costs, student assistance programs, and a look at the state's main cities.

Maine College Leaderboard: Rankings

With every college offering something different, it's easy to get lost in a sea of statistics. School rankings can help prospective students sort through the pertinent information and compare schools directly to one another. Our rankings take into account tuition cost, student-to-teacher ratio, graduation rate, the availability of financial aid, and more.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in Maine
  • Public or private not-for-profit
  • Institutionally accredited
  • At least 10 total programs
Ranking Metrics
  • Median annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering the college
  • In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
  • Student/teacher ratio
  • 6-year graduation rate
  • % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Average amount of institutional aid awarded per student (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Availability of placement services upon completion
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of employment services
  • 3-year student cohort loan default rate
Data Sources

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): National Center for Education Statistics

Latest 'Final Release' data available as of Fall 2016 College Scorecard: U.S. Department of Education

2-Year Programs

Northern Maine Community College View School Profile $ 30% 99.82 $29,800 12:1 43% N/A 0 39 Yes Yes
Eastern Maine Community College View School Profile $ 29% 99.51 $30,900 14:1 21% N/A 0 48 Yes Yes
Washington County Community College View School Profile $ 35% 98.97 $26,100 10:1 41% N/A 0 30 Yes Yes
Southern Maine Community College View School Profile $ 13% 98.93 $37,300 18:1 18% N/A 0 49 Yes Yes
Kennebec Valley Community College View School Profile $ 42% 98.75 $29,100 18:1 38% N/A 4 34 Yes Yes
York County Community College View School Profile $ 17% 98.75 $27,500 14:1 35% N/A 3 17 Yes Yes
Central Maine Community College View School Profile $ 24% 86 $33,300 17:1 22% N/A 1 46 Yes Yes

4-Year Programs

Bowdoin College View School Profile $$$$ 95% 99.72 $54,800 9:1 48% 15% 0 42 Yes No
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine View School Profile $$$$ 51% 98.21 $37,900 11:1 97% 79% 21 50 Yes No
Colby College View School Profile $$$$ 90% 98.14 $53,000 10:1 42% 28% 0 43 Yes No
University of New England View School Profile $$$$ 58% 97.59 $44,800 13:1 100% 86% 4 41 Yes Yes
University of Maine View School Profile $$ 59% 96.68 $38,700 16:1 78% 83% 5 174 Yes No
Bates College View School Profile $$$$ 88% 96.41 $53,500 10:1 48% 25% 0 37 Yes No
Husson University View School Profile $$ 41% 94.59 $37,100 15:1 90% 72% 4 41 Yes Yes
University of Southern Maine View School Profile $ 30% 92.71 $36,500 15:1 63% 84% 8 94 Yes Yes
University of Maine at Farmington View School Profile $$ 58% 92.7 $33,200 13:1 76% 85% 0 38 Yes No
Unity College View School Profile $$$ 38% 92.6 $36,100 11:1 98% 93% 0 18 Yes No
Thomas College View School Profile $$$ 46% 92.19 $36,600 21:1 98% 74% 0 24 Yes No
University of Maine at Machias View School Profile $ 29% 90.83 $27,000 12:1 87% N/A 3 12 Yes Yes
University of Maine at Presque Isle View School Profile $ 37% 90.52 $27,200 13:1 79% N/A 3 22 Yes Yes
University of Maine at Fort Kent View School Profile $ 38% 89.35 $31,200 16:1 86% 75% 4 13 Yes Yes
Maine College of Art View School Profile $$$$ 26% 87.36 $23,700 10:1 100% 97% 0 13 No No
University of Maine at Augusta View School Profile $ 13% 86 $26,400 17:1 26% N/A 10 19 Yes Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in Maine

When choosing a college, students weigh various factors differently. Some may be most concerned about tuition costs, whereas others want to know more about a school's overall student population. The following search tool lets students filter by various criteria and then compare the results to other schools to get a more accurate picture of the offerings.

College Planning, Assistance and Outreach Programs in Maine

With the right resources and programs at their disposal, students can get a lot more out of the college experience-from selecting a school to graduating on time. Resources that help students plan for college, improve their chances of admission, seek out financial aid, and even successfully transition into the workforce after graduation are all helpful tools; following are some of the programs available to Maine students.

Early College for ME

This program provides various forms of support to high school students, including help with applying to college and completing financial aid forms; the opportunity to take a free college course during their senior year; and a chance to earn scholarships to community college. Sophomores and juniors are targeted to receive program information at 80 high schools across the state; since 2003, the program has served more than 8,000 students and awarded more than 2,500 scholarships.

Maine College Career Consortium

An organization made up of 24 colleges and universities across the state, the consortium works to bring college students and employers together through internships and job opportunities for both undergraduates and alumni. Career fairs provide a face-to-face way to connect, and employers interested in hiring college students are encouraged to use the site to announce openings to member institutions.

On Course for College

Offered by the Maine Community College System, the program is designed for high school juniors and seniors who want to get a head start on their college experience. Those who attend a public high school or CTE school in Maine can take college courses during their last two years at little to no cost. Courses are offered on community college campuses, as well as through outreach centers, area high schools, and online. To participate, students must have a grade point average of ????or better.

Cost of College in Maine: Adding It Up

Costs for tuition and fees are important to most college students, but calculating expenses can be tricky. Is attending community college for two years and then transferring to a four-year institution the most fiscally advantageous route? What about attending an in-state school rather than out-of-state? The following charts help make the choices clearer by comparing schools within Maine as well as to the national averages.

Source: CollegeBoard

Source: IPEDS

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in Maine

When choosing what college to attend, it often comes down to the bottom line: cost. These six schools in Maine earned the distinction of being the most affordable based on their net price, which is the cost of tuition minus the average financial aid each student receives. We've also compared them to the national average for a broader perspective.

Maine College Net Price vs. National Average

Average
Annual Net Price
MAINE $19,187
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Maine Colleges with Highest-Paid Alumni

An education is what you make of it, but some graduates make more than others when it comes to paychecks. We looked at how much alumni from Maine colleges were paid ten years after entering college, as well as compared those incomes to the national average. The following schools ranked at the top for best-paid alumni.

Maine Alumni Salaries vs. National Average

Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
MAINE $38,242
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Maine With Least Alumni Debt

Even with a boost from financial aid awards, many students still owe money for their education after graduation. The outstanding balance doesn't have to eat into earnings for years to come, though. These colleges in Maine produced alumni who have the lowest amounts of student debt in the state; we've also looked at them alongside the national average.

Maine College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
MAINE $23,623
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Maine Cost of Living: College Expenses Beyond Tuition

Although tuition is the primary expense for many college students, the cost of living in a particular area can also contribute to the choice of school. Fortunately, the overall cost of living in Maine is only slightly higher than the national average, although urban areas may take a larger chunk out of the budget. Our cost-of-living table for Maine focuses on how far money will go in certain metro areas, as well as in the state as a whole.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 114% 121% 106% 117% 115% 110% 109%
Portland 114% 121% 106% 117% 115% 110% 109%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for Maine Colleges

Determining a school's accreditation status is vitally important to the college search. Accreditation means that an institution has been examined by an independent body and found to meet established standards. Employers tend to favor graduates from accredited institutions; that standard usually applies within the educational system as well, with many schools only accepting transfer credits from an accredited college or university. In addition, students seeking financial support will find they have more options if attending an accredited institution.

Maine colleges are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In addition to this institutional accreditation, some individual programs or schools seek specialty accreditation as well. This can come from a variety of independent bodies, depending on the program focus. Here are a few examples:

Popular Cities to Attend College in Maine

Orono

Located at the junction of the Penobscot and Stillwater Rivers, Orono is a town defined by the main campus of the University of Maine, whose student population of 11,000 is roughly equivalent to the number of permanent residents in the town. The city government bills Orono as a "live learning laboratory" for the university's students, who participate in a number of municipal projects. The city also partners with the university to provide several services to students, such as a shuttle bus that runs between downtown Orono and the university campus every half-hour during the academic year.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

OronoUniversity of Maine Public $16,831 $38,700
Founded in 1865, UMaine offers 95 undergraduate programs, 70 master's programs and 35 doctoral programs, in addition to more than 200 student clubs and organizations and an NCAA Division I athletic program. With its student-faculty ratio of 16:1, the university is notable for its engineering and STEM programs, particularly environmental sciences such as forestry and marine studies. Students who live in Maine benefit from in-state tuition that comes in at about a third of out-of-state tuition.
Portland

Portland is a well-educated city: some 97 percent of residents hold a high school diploma, and 60 percent go on to higher education. This pursuit is made easier given the high density of universities and tech schools in the area; there are 10 within a 30-minute drive. With a low crime rate and vibrant arts scene, Portland regularly lands on "top 10" lists of desirable places to live in the United States.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

PortlandUniversity of Southern Maine Public $17,300 $36,500
Located in the heart of Maine's largest metro region, ?Maine's Metropolitan University? is home to more than 6,500 undergraduates, many of whom are non-traditional. With an average class size of 25 and more than 275 full-time faculty, students benefit from a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. Those who choose to stay in the area after graduation can expect a welcoming job market; in 2012, Forbes ranked Portland among the top 10 cities for job prospects.
PortlandMaine College of Art Private not-for-profit $29,009 $23,700
Those interested in an art career may find their ideal education here; the the college offers a number of choices including initiatives for high school students; bachelor's and master's degrees; and continuing studies for youth and adults. MECA is home to a small student body of just less than 500 students; another 500 are enrolled in continuing studies. Two-thirds of alumni have gone on to careers as professional artists, and most graduates are self-employed.

Source: College Scorecard

Maine College Resources

Students exploring Maine colleges have several resources at their disposal. The following sites can help them find the information they need.

Gear Up Maine

This organization focuses on getting Maine students prepared for college, offering resources for parents, a grant initiative, and partnerships with elementary, middle and high schools.

Maine College Access Network

This organization is made up of staff from high schools, colleges, government agencies and nonprofits who are dedicated to closing the education attainment gap in the state.

Maine Community College System

This central location for the seven community colleges in the state provides students with information on getting started on a two-year degree.

Maine Department of Education

The higher education section of this state website offers several links and resources for students looking at college options.

Maine.gov

The education section of the state website offers information on the colleges, universities and trade schools in the state, as well as help with distance learning, financial aid resources and more.

Maine's Public Universities

Students can use this site as a portal to Maine's various universities, as well as find practical information on transfer credits, admissions, financial aid and more.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer