Best Maryland Colleges & Universities

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November 18, 2020 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Maryland's history of higher education dates back to 1696, when King William School - now known as St. John's College - was founded as the third institution of higher learning in what would become the United States. Today there are dozens of higher education opportunities in the state, ranging from public research universities to community colleges and independent trade schools. To help aspiring students learn more, this guide explores the statistics and culture of the college scene in Maryland.

Maryland College Leaderboard: Rankings

Schools that rise to the top of rankings lists are ones that have consistently shown that they excel in the things that matter most to students, such as affordable tuition, better financial aid opportunities, and a low student-to-teacher ratio. Our rankings of the best Maryland colleges look at those factors and more, providing students with a barometer to gauge the quality of various schools during their search.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in Maryland
  • 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

Prince George’s Community College View School Profile $ 6% 99.81 $40,900 15:1 6% N/A 6 79 Yes
Howard Community College View School Profile $ 15% 98.95 $37,500 14:1 20% N/A 3 78 No
Montgomery College View School Profile $ 16% 98.1 $40,500 18:1 21% N/A 0 101 Yes
Cecil College View School Profile $ 11% 97.95 $31,400 12:1 15% N/A 0 68 Yes
Hagerstown Community College View School Profile $ 22% 97.9 $31,800 18:1 17% N/A 4 61 Yes
Carroll Community College View School Profile $ 26% 97.73 $35,800 15:1 9% N/A 1 32 No
The Community College of Baltimore County View School Profile $ 7% 97.67 $34,200 17:1 8% N/A 5 125 Yes
Baltimore City Community College View School Profile $ 5% 97.54 $29,000 17:1 13% N/A 6 36 Yes
Harford Community College View School Profile $ 19% 97.35 $34,100 20:1 14% N/A 3 52 Yes
College of Southern Maryland View School Profile $ 14% 97.33 $37,100 18:1 7% N/A 9 65 Yes
Frederick Community College View School Profile $ 21% 97.07 $32,800 15:1 16% N/A 1 61 Yes
Anne Arundel Community College View School Profile $ 16% 96.95 $38,800 18:1 4% N/A 8 135 No
Chesapeake College View School Profile $ 13% 96.91 $27,500 19:1 30% N/A 2 48 Yes
Allegany College of Maryland View School Profile $ 18% 96.43 $30,900 14:1 15% N/A 4 46 Yes
Wor-Wic Community College View School Profile $ 16% 96.4 $27,200 15:1 10% N/A 0 41 Yes
Garrett College View School Profile $ 26% 86 $27,300 16:1 39% N/A 1 21 No

4-Year Programs

Johns Hopkins University View School Profile $$$$ 92% 99.7 $69,200 9:1 48% 16% 13 171 Yes
Loyola University Maryland View School Profile $$$$ 84% 97.27 $62,100 12:1 76% 60% 0 59 Yes
University of Maryland-College Park View School Profile $$ 82% 96.8 $59,100 18:1 52% 48% 2 190 Yes
Notre Dame of Maryland University View School Profile $$$$ 48% 95.31 $48,800 11:1 100% 49% 1 49 Yes
Mount St Mary’s University View School Profile $$$$ 67% 94.76 $50,300 13:1 100% 67% 0 45 Yes
St Mary’s College of Maryland View School Profile $$ 81% 93.24 $48,200 10:1 63% 79% 0 26 Yes
Stevenson University View School Profile $$$$ 64% 92.84 $51,400 15:1 99% 62% 6 33 Yes
McDaniel College View School Profile $$$$ 73% 92.53 $44,600 11:1 98% 76% 3 46 No
Goucher College View School Profile $$$$ 66% 92.29 $45,500 9:1 98% 76% 4 43 Yes
Towson University View School Profile $$ 66% 92.25 $49,500 16:1 36% 59% 2 98 Yes
University of Maryland-Baltimore County View School Profile $$ 61% 92.22 $53,500 19:1 46% 60% 4 86 Yes
Washington Adventist University View School Profile $$$ 31% 92.21 $46,800 9:1 90% 45% 1 46 No
Washington College View School Profile $$$$ 69% 92.07 $48,300 11:1 94% 56% 0 31 Yes
University of Maryland-Baltimore View School Profile $$ N/A 91.84 $80,400 7:1 N/A N/A 2 27 Yes
Salisbury University View School Profile $$ 67% 91.42 $47,300 16:1 61% 55% 3 58 Yes
Capitol Technology University View School Profile $$$ 29% 91.39 $58,900 12:1 92% 70% 8 20 Yes
Hood College View School Profile $$$$ 60% 90.93 $43,100 11:1 98% 81% 0 44 Yes
University of Baltimore View School Profile $$ N/A 90.63 $58,000 15:1 63% 62% 4 42 Yes
Morgan State University View School Profile $ 29% 90.14 $39,700 14:1 38% 65% 0 79 Yes
United States Naval Academy View School Profile $ 87% 89.86 N/A 9:1 N/A 8% 0 23 Yes
Bowie State University View School Profile $ 35% 89.28 $47,000 16:1 51% 55% 0 41 Yes
Maryland Institute College of Art View School Profile $$$$ 71% 89.18 $31,400 10:1 99% 54% 2 33 Yes
University of Maryland – Eastern Shore View School Profile $ 31% 88.45 $37,800 14:1 37% 61% 0 46 Yes
University of Maryland-University College View School Profile $ 4% 87.19 $50,700 22:1 3% N/A 46 46 No
Frostburg State University View School Profile $$ 44% 87.15 $43,600 15:1 45% 59% 3 52 No
Coppin State University View School Profile $ 17% 86.97 $37,600 14:1 44% 43% 0 43 Yes

Search & Compare Maryland Colleges

The perfect school goes beyond one that has a great reputation: students often consider specific factors when they're looking for the ideal match. This tool lets students search based on various criteria, such as school size, the cost of tuition, or the variety of online programs, and then compare results based on their own priorities.

Maryland College Planning, Assistance and Outreach Programs

Choosing a college is a tough task unto itself, but on top of that, students usually have a host of other questions: How do I plan for college? How much financial aid will I get? If I run into trouble, where can I get help? Between federal resources and state programs, Maryland students should have ample opportunity to find and attend a suitable college. The following initiatives are some ways the state is helping aspiring students.


Hosted by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, this program offers numerous resources for parents and students, including information on state financial aid, 529 plans, finding the right college and major, and locating money for college. A net price calculator helps students see the real bottom line of their education. Not just for high school students, the site offers information to students as early as the elementary years, as well as preparing college students who are going into graduate school or the workforce.

Maryland Eligible Training Provider System

Students who want to learn more about skilled trades, find continuing education to help them improve their skills, or earn credentials that will bolster their employment options can look to the METPS. The system operates in conjunction with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides funding to assist individuals who want to enroll in postsecondary education. This state program allows students to search by a specific institution, location, length of training, in-demand professions, credential earned, and more.

Academic Common Market

Imagine choosing to attend college only to discover that no institution in your home state offers the particular major you need. The ACM is a partnership of several states (including Maryland) that recognize this problem and offer a solution: if a public institution in the home state does not offer the required major, students may attend a public college in a partner state and receive a tuition waiver that keeps their costs the same as attending an in-state school.

Evaluating the Cost of College in Maryland

When determining the cost of college, students should look not just at the posted tuition prices, but also at the dollar figures attached to financial aid packages. The following charts give a brief overview of what students at Maryland colleges can expect to pay in tuition, as well as what the average financial aid award is. We've also compared the numbers to the national average to show where the state stands overall.

* 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 Maryland

Take the costs of tuition and fees, subtract financial aid received, and the result is the net price of college. In ranking the most affordable colleges in Maryland, these six came out on top; the figures are also compared to the national average to give students a more comprehensive look at what to expect.

Maryland College Net Price vs. National Average

Annual Net Price
MARYLAND $19,238

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

Maryland Colleges with Highest Alumni Salaries

After earning a degree, students usually enter the workforce with the hope of taking home a good paycheck. Of course earnings vary widely depending on the type of employment and location, but it's also helpful to look at the salaries of a college's alumni. We looked at which Maryland colleges had the highest-paid alumni ten years after they entered college, and compared those incomes to the national average.

Maryland Alumni Salaries vs. National Average

Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
MARYLAND $48,757

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

Colleges in Maryland with Least Alumni Debt

Finishing college with no debt is an admirable goal, but unfortunately, it's one that many students can't achieve. The good news is that there are many colleges and universities whose strong financial aid packages translate to a more manageable debt figure come graduation. These six schools in Maryland turned out alumni with the lowest student debt in the state. We've also compared those schools with the average student loan debt across the nation.

Maryland College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
MARYLAND $24,242

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

Maryland Cost of Living: College Expenses Beyond Tuition

The cost of living in Maryland tends to be higher than that of that national average; if the national average is set at 100, Maryland comes in at about 116. Housing packs the biggest punch; the median value of owner-occupied homes in Maryland is over 63 percent more than the national average, and rents tends to be more expensive as well. The good news is that as of 2014, the state ranked first nationally in household income, so students may see some relief once they enter the workforce. The following chart offers cost-of-living information for the biggest metro areas in Maryland, as well as the state as a whole.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 120% 162% 114% 102% 105% 91% 100%
Baltimore 113% 144% 117% 96% 104% 89% 97%
Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick 130% 202% 110% 101% 111% 90% 99%
Charles County 115% 139% 114% 108% 101% 93% 106%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Accreditation for Maryland Colleges

Students looking for the best education possible should always start with a college's accreditation status. Those that have earned accreditation have been evaluated by an independent body and found to meet established standards for a quality education. Accreditation is more than just a seal of approval. Students attending accredited schools are more likely to receive financial aid, making their bottom line much cheaper-in fact, federal financial aid is not even available to students at unaccredited institutions. The advantage extends into the working world, where employers may reject degrees not issued by an accredited school. Students who want to transfer credits from one school to another should ensure that both are accredited; many colleges will not accept transfer credits from unaccredited institutions.

In Maryland, the main accrediting body is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In addition to this regional accreditation, specific programs or schools may be recognized by other bodies. Here are some examples:

Popular Cities to Attend College in Maryland


Maryland's largest city is an economic hub for several industries, including healthcare, information technology and defense. Education is another key sector; information from the Maryland Independent College and University Association reports that the Baltimore-Towson metro area is home to almost 110,000 full-time students, and education accounts for nearly 85,000 jobs in the area. Following are a few of the colleges and universities that welcome students to the Baltimore area.

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

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

BaltimoreJohns Hopkins University Private not-for-profit $26,596 $69,200
Well-known as a world leader in medicine and research, the college is made up of nine schools offering 240 different programs to a student population of about 21,000. Over the last 36 years, the school has devoted more money to research than any other U.S. academic institution, and the effort has paid off: the university has produced some 36 Nobel Prize winners.
BaltimoreUniversity of Baltimore Public $16,780 $58,000
Founded in 1925 as a private night school focusing on business administration and law, the university became a public institution 50 years later, and now offers dozens of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs, both on campus and online. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, the more than 6,000 students at University of Baltimore can enjoy one-on-one attention from accomplished professors, three-fourths of whom hold the highest degrees available in their fields.
BaltimoreCommunity College of Baltimore County Public $7,748 $34,200
More than half of Baltimore County residents enrolled in postsecondary undergraduate education attend CCBC, which was founded in 1957 and now serves almost 65,000 students annually at its three campuses. The student body is largely non-traditional, with more than half of students in their 20s and 30s, and another third in their 40s or older. The college serves this population specifically through its Continuing Education and Economic Development program, working with more than 100 employers to provide specific, customized training relevant to the area's industry demands.
College Park

Located between Bethesda and Annapolis, and just seven miles from Washington D.C., College Park is the state's epicenter of education and culture. Distinctive neighborhoods and convenient transportation make it an attractive place to live, and it's also home to the main campus of the University of Maryland.

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

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

College ParkUniversity of Maryland - College Park Public $16,299 $59,100
Located about four miles from the northeast border of Washington D.C., the University of Maryland - College Park is a public research university that boasts high student success rates. The thousands of students enrolled each year can choose from 250 academic programs taught by over 9,000 faculty and staff who are experienced in their field which may ensure that students receive quality education to boost them towards their professional goals.

Source: College Scorecard

Maryland College Resources

College is a complex and time-consuming commitment, and students can benefit by seeking out the help they need. These state resources focus on helping students prepare for and complete college, and then transition into the workplace.

College Savings Plans of Maryland

Maryland offers two overarching programs for students: the College Investment Plan, and the Prepaid College Trust. The trust locks in tuition at current prices, while the investment plan offers several investment portfolio options.

Maryland College Aid Processing System

The MDCAPS system allows students to apply for scholarships and track the status of their financial aid awards, as well as check enrollment and housing status, arrange course credit transfers, and more.

Maryland Higher Education Commission

This website is designed to help students with preparing for college, enrolling, and securing financial aid.

Maryland Independent College and University Association

With 15 member schools across the state, the MICUA works collectively to address academic and financial issues in higher education.

Private Career Schools

This clearinghouse of the state's private career schools offers information about available training programs, as well as advice for students on searching for and selecting a program.

Southern Maryland Higher Education Center

Created by the state's General Assembly, this center brings together colleges from across the state to offer programs in education, management, engineering and applied sciences.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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