In 1999, an innovative consortium of 12 charter member community colleges and universities united as MarylandOnline to promote leading-edge, high-quality distance education courses, certificates and degree programs in Maryland. All Maryland institutions of higher education that are licensed by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools are eligible to join MarylandOnline. Students interested in online postsecondary education in Maryland can find information on MOL programs at this site.
But before we dive into our list of best online colleges in Maryland, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Maryland today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Maryland
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Maryland had 64 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 29 public schools, 23 nonprofits and 12 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 15,945 at public schools, 3,869 at private nonprofits and 233 at private for-profits.
- 29 public
- 23 non-profit
- 12 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $9,160, while the out-of-state average was $21,750.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Maryland awarded $108.1 million in need-based grants and $5.2 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 6.6% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education.
The State of Online Higher Education in Maryland
The NCES estimates that at least 14.4% of students enrolled in Maryland’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 11.5% were reported to be undergraduates and 86.7% were found to be living in Maryland.
Maryland is also a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus, a cooperative that connects students with an extensive directory of online programs throughout the southeast U.S. SREB also has strong financial aid initiatives. Services like the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus and the Regional Contract Program for Health Professions allow students to pursue online degrees at out-of-state universities at lower in-state rates. The choice of programs is somewhat limited and the admissions criteria can be quite competitive, but qualified students will find incredible opportunities awaiting them.
Best Online Colleges in Maryland
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Maryland. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in MD, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Maryland or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||University of Maryland - University College||Adelphi||$$$$$||3501 University Blvd East|
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
When Maryland University College was founded in 1947, its mission was to provide continuing education to adult learners. UMUC was the first university to send faculty overseas to provide distance education to military personnel. The school now has more than 20 locations throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. It’s one of the leading online colleges in Maryland and the United States. UMUC offers more than 30 bachelor's degrees and certificates, and almost all of them are available online. Online study at UMUC is completely asynchronous. Courses require peer interaction, and students receive one-on-one support from the instructor. Each course is broken into eight-week sessions. UMUC provides all required textbooks and access to all necessary computer software for free. UMUC is among online schools in MD to offer online students the opportunity to join academic clubs and student-run organizations.
|2||Frostburg State University||Frostburg||$$$$$||101 Braddock Road|
Frostburg, MD 21532-1099
Frostburg State was founded in 1902. The school enrolls more than 5,000 students per year. Its science facilities include a planetarium, an arboretum, a biotechnology center, and an electron microscope. The school has become one of the best online colleges in Maryland. Online students can pursue entire degrees online, including a bachelor's degree in nursing. The school has graduate degrees online in business administration, parks management, and nursing. Hybrid programs include a master’s of applied computer science and special education. Coursework is still broken into semesters like on-campus studies and there are some real-time demands for virtual classroom sessions. There are technology requirements to study online, but the school provides IT support, online training, and some of the necessary computer software free of charge, like Microsoft Office Suite. Online courses are taught through Blackboard.
|3||University of Baltimore||Baltimore||$$$$$||Charles at Mount Royal|
Baltimore, MD 21201-5720
UB, one of the best online colleges in Maryland, began in 1925 as a night school. Online students can finish all the upper-level courses required to complete a bachelor's degree in business administration. Other programs include a master’s in business administration, public administration, and interactive design and information architecture. A graduate certificate in user experience design is also available. The MBA, MPA, and architecture degree offer students in-state tuition. With just under 6,000 students, many of whom are taking courses online, UB has an extensive online support group. Student services include academic support and coaching and career services. Most online programs are either in a hybrid or web-assisted format. Web-assisted replaces classroom activities by completing them online. Online courses are taught through Sakai.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Maryland
Below, you’ll find a second list of the online colleges in MD, ranked according to their tuition rates.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Maryland
Alumni Association Scholarship
For undergraduate students at the University of Maryland who have unmet financial need and a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Applicants must have demonstrated campus leadership or involvement in the workforce and professional community.
Community Enrichment and Enhancement (CEEP)
This scholarship is intended to foster racial and ethnic diversity within Towson University’s student body. Applicants must be from a traditionally under-served minority group, or have overcome personal, social, or financial obstacles in pursuit of education. Award is $3,000 per year for 4 years.
Administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Delegate Scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students. Applicants must be residents of Maryland, enrolled in a two- or four-year higher education institution.
Emma and Paul Dailey Scholarship
For entering freshmen at Frostburg State University with a GPA of 3.5+ and an SAT of 1200+. Preference given to students from Allegany County. Award is $1,000 for up to 4 years.
Guaranteed Access Grant
The Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant is for graduating Maryland high school seniors who have demonstrated financial need and a minimum GPA of 2.5+. Award amount varies based on financial need; maximum amount is $16,500. Funds are provided by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Honors College Scholarship
Awarded on a competitive basis to freshmen and transfer students entering Towson University’s Honors College. Amount varies based on the availability of funds and on applicant’s documented financial need.
Kenneth J. Osborn Memorial Scholarship
Administered by the Imaging & Geospatial Information Society, this scholarship is for undergraduate students pursuing a degree in preparation for a career in surveying, mapping, photogrammetry, or geospatial information and technology. Award is $2,000 and a 1-year student membership in the Society.
Second Generation Scholarship
For undergraduate students at the University of Maryland who have demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of minorities through community service or extracurricular activities. A GPA of 2.75+ is required.
Sherman Teacher Education Scholars
Available to incoming freshmen, transfers, and current undergraduate students at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Applicants must be pursuing a teaching degree in STEM fields, and have a minimum GPA of 3.5. Award amounts and application deadlines vary by class standing.
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