Guide to Colleges & Universities in Maine (ME)

Education in Maine

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students in Maine can choose among total of 44 post-secondary schools, including two- and four-year colleges and universities as well as technical schools and career academies. Here’s a breakdown by type of the schools in Maine that deliver two- and four-year academic degrees:

  • Public 4-year: 8
  • Public 2-year: 7
  • Private 4-year, nonprofit: 12
  • Private 2-year, nonprofit: 2
  • Private 4-year, for-profit: 2

Number of institutions in Maine

Institutions requiring less than two years to complete are also somewhat common among collenoges in Maine, making up approximately one quarter of all post-secondary schools in the state. Many institutions in this category offer training and certification in personal service trades — cosmetology, hairdressing and massage therapy are common examples — and others are technical institutes or non-accredited business colleges where students can train in office competencies or general professional skills.

Total student enrollment records for colleges and universities in Maine are kept by a few separate agencies, each of which releases reports and analyses independently. Below are the Spring 2014 headcount enrollment figures for individual campuses of the University of Maine system, compiled and published by the system’s own internal research department:

  • University of Maine, flagship campus (Orono): 10,301
  • University of Maine at Augusta: 4,603
  • University of Maine at Farmington: 1,975
  • University of Maine at Fort Kent: 1,058
  • University of Maine at Machias: 800
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle: 1,186
  • University of Southern Maine (all locations): 8,117

Enrollment numbers for many of the community colleges in Maine, as well as private universities and others outside of the state’s primary university system, are released in a post-secondary education guide published by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Here’s a rundown of the figures published in that guide, provided by each institution for the 2012 fall semester unless otherwise noted:

  • Bates College: 1,753
  • Beal College: 457
  • Bowdoin College: 1,775
  • Central Maine Community College (Fall 2013): 3,000
  • Colby College: 1,863
  • College of the Atlantic (Fall 2013): 348
  • Eastern Maine Community College: 2,472
  • Husson University: 2,400
  • Kennebec Valley Community College: 2,470
  • The Landing School (Fall 2011): 67
  • Maine Maritime Academy (Fall 2011): 943
  • New England School of Communications: 499
  • Northern Maine Community College (Fall 2010): 1,280
  • Saint Joseph’s College of Maine: 952
  • Southern Maine Community College: 7,574
  • Thomas College: 1,100
  • Unity College: 540
  • University of New England: 5,666
  • York County Community College (Fall 2011): 1,631

A 2014 report released by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that Title IV financial aid-eligible colleges and universities in Maine conferred a total of 15,323 degrees and certificates upon 14,813 graduates during the 2011-12 academic year. A strong majority of those degrees awarded, approximately 72.8 percent, were earned at four-year institutions. Associate degrees and other two-year awards accounted for 19.8 percent of the total, and professional certifications from less-than-two-year institutions made up the remaining 7.4 percent.

Online Education in Maine

Online education is on the rise all over the country, and colleges and universities in Maine are among those working to provide expanded access to postsecondary education for students who may not be able to make a full-time commitment to traditional, campus-based education. Degrees earned in the virtual classroom offer flexibility of location and scheduling that can be a great benefit to students who live in rural areas, those with significant family responsibilities or prospective career changers whose hours at work prevent them from dedicating more than a few hours each week to their continued education.

The University of Maine system features online and hybrid degree offerings across multiple disciplines and degree levels. Here’s a breakdown of the number of online degrees available at colleges and universities in Maine in 2015, according to data from the system’s online information portal and organized by academic category:

  • Business: 12
  • Computer and information sciences: 10
  • Criminal justice and security: 9
  • Education: 13
  • Health studies: 5
  • Liberal arts and humanities: 12
  • Social and behavioral sciences: 10

What’s more, a number of online programs offered at colleges and universities in Maine have caught the attention of national collegiate rankings agencies. Here’s a list of the online degrees at colleges in Maine that were recognized by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, along with their rank in each category whenever available:

  • University of Maine – Augusta
    • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: No. 40
  • University of New England
    • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 100
  • Husson University
    • Best Online MBA Programs
  • University of Southern Maine
    • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 107
    • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

U.S. News also provides yearly rankings of campus-based programs, and some colleges and universities in Maine have adapted their nationally recognized traditionally degree programs to be available to students seeking instruction in the virtual classroom. The University of New England, for example, had its Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree recognized as one of the top 150 in the country in 2015, and the institution also offers it to online students in four distinct specializations.

Top Jobs and Careers in Maine

Data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that full-time employees with bachelor’s degrees earned about $22,500 more per year in 2014 than those with only a high school diploma, and students with the right degree may be able to extend their workforce advantage even further than that after graduation. Here’s some information on a few of the top careers in Maine, using information provided by the BLS and data available from the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI):

OccupationTop regionsWhy it’s hotNecessary skillsRelevant degrees
Diagnostic Medical SonographersBangor, Portland, PortsmouthDiagnostic sonography employment is projected to grow the fastest among all jobs that require associate degrees or other two-year education credentials, with 35 percent increase in jobs projected between 2012 and 2022. Continuing advancements in the technology used to perform non-invasive diagnostic procedures are expected to create greater and greater demand for skilled sonographic technicians in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, doctors’ offices and other clinical settings.Hand-eye coordination, medical terminology, computer literacy, active listening, speech clarity, manual dexterity, mental concentration, information ordering, instrumentation monitoring, social perceptivenessNumerous options exist for sonography training at academic and technical colleges in Maine. A two-year radiologic science degree or certification program is one of the most direct paths, although sonography concentrations may also be available as part of a clinical laboratory science degree. One-year certificate programs may be available for aspiring sonographers who already have a related degree in health sciences or possess considerable work experience in the health care field.
Information Security AnalystsPortsmouthData security is a field of growing importance to organizations just about every industry, and the projected 23 percent job growth among IT security analysts in Maine mirrors the national upward trend in employment. Maine CWRI data indicates a statewide median wage of $66,520 for the position in 2014, with a median of $99,860 reported in the Portsmouth metro area. The BLS reports an expectation of especially large increases in IT security personnel among government organizations and the health care industry in particular.Critical thinking, systems analysis and evaluation, computer network architecture, mathematics, reading comprehension, complex problem solving, troubleshooting, inductive reasoning, decision making, technical communicationMany IT security professionals hold a generalized bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, although some advanced or specialized operatives may hold a master’s degree in information systems security or data assurance. IT pros who focus on securing local area or regional wide area networks may have a network security degree, while those who work in large organizations and specialize in securing proprietary databases may need a degree in database management with an IT security focus.
Physical TherapistsRochester (NH), PortsmouthThe use of physical therapy to help patients manage chronic conditions or recover from outpatient surgical procedures is on the rise, and statewide projected employment growth of 16 percent should lead to around 240 new positions in Maine by 2022.Active listening, deductive reasoning, physical strength and steadiness, problem solving, empathy, anatomical and physiological knowledge, situational judgment, multi-limb coordination, one-on-one instruction, performance monitoring, decision makingIn order to become licensed to practice as a physical therapist, candidates must hold a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an institution recognized by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Students considering a PT career can also qualify for assistant work in the field with an associate degree in physical therapy or physical therapy assisting from one of the medical training centers or community colleges in Maine.
Market Research Analysts and Marketing SpecialistsPortland, Biddeford, BangorModern companies collect data in enormous quantities and at a dizzying rate, and trained market analysts who can crunch those numbers and deliver meaningful conclusions may be in higher demand now than ever. Jobs for skilled marketing pros in Maine are expected to increase by 23 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to CWRI data.Statistical comprehension, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, mathematical problem solving, mass communications, sales principles, reading comprehension, written expression, social perceptivenessMany professional market analysts or marketing specialists hold a bachelor’s degree in marketing or market research, which typically blend business and social science courses with instruction in statistical computation and mathematical principles. Some firms seek out analysts who hold a dedicated degree in statistics at either the bachelor’s or master’s level, and advanced positions may require a master’s degree in marketing and advertising.
Medical and Health Services ManagersConsistent opportunity statewide and in nearby New Hampshire metrosAn increase in the elderly percentage of the population combined with expansions to the availability of medical care are expected to drive growth in demand for medical services managers, to the tune of approximately 13 percent in Maine between 2012 and 2022.Performance monitoring, personnel management, operations analysis, service coordination, budgeting, reading comprehension, written expression, decision making, problem solving, group and individual supervisionAt least a bachelor’s degree is typically required to get started as a health services manager, and many institutions offer a healthcare management degree or healthcare administration degree either on campus or online. Certain positions may require additional or more specialized education, preferring candidates with a master’s degree in public administration, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in health care management or similarly advanced instruction in a related field.

It’s important to note that there’s no degree on the academic spectrum that comes with a guarantee of employment after graduation, but students who focus their education according to the needs of the workforce may be able to smooth over some of the difficulty in transitioning from school into the working world.

Financial Aid in Maine

Multiple factors go into determining the cost of college tuition, including state residency status, the area of study chosen and the fee structure of the individual institution, but the fact remains that educational expenses at universities in Maine and all over the country have been collectively on the rise for quite some time. The College Board has been keeping an eye on the changing face of college tuition, and a 2014 report on the subject shows just how much things have changed.

Here’s some data on changing tuition figures for colleges and universities in Maine over the last ten years, presented in amounts recalculated for inflation to match the 2014 dollar, which should demonstrate the general rising trend in U.S. educational costs:

  • Public 2-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $3,264
    • 2014-15: $3,482
  • Public 4-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $7,046
    • 2014-15: $9,422
  • Private 4-year nonprofit
    • 2004-05: $30,518
    • 2014-15: $35,174

Tuition and fee costs in Maine

Fortunately for prospective students, options exist for assistance with the cost of a continued education. The first step toward financial help at colleges and universities in Maine is typically the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), which some institutions require of students before they can be eligible for financial assistance of any kind. Personal data that students provide on their FAFSA may be used to determine need-based eligibility for assistance programs at the federal and state levels as well as from private sources, so it’s important to ensure it’s filled out accurately.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) provides numerous financial resources for students, including a scholarship search tool and information about available tax credits and other alternative methods that may help reduce the overall burden of college tuition and fees. FAME also provides information about state-specific aid programs, including the Maine Health Professions Loan Program, the John R. Justice grant for aspiring public defenders and state prosecutors, the Doctors for Maine’s Future medical scholarship and the Educators for Maine loan forgiveness program for students planning to work in child care or education.

The state system of universities in Maine also offers Opportunity Maine, a tax credit to assist in the repayment of student loans for graduates who work and pay taxes in the state. Information on filing requirements and other details can be found at the financial aid information portal of the University of Maine system.

To find out more about some of the schools and programs available in Maine, be sure to check out the ones featured in our school listings below.

Article Sources


  1. Maine, College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed June 17, 2015,
  2. Postsecondary Completers and Completions: 2011-12, Web Tables, U.S. Department of Education, March 2014, Accessed June 17, 2015,
  3. Spring 2014 Enrollment Report, University of Maine System, February 28, 2014, Accessed June 17, 2015,
  4. Universities, University of Maine System, Accessed June 17, 2015,
  5. Postsecondary Guide of Maine, Finance Authority of Maine, Accessed June 17, 2015,
  6. Online Degrees from Maine Universities, University of Maine System, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  7. University of Maine – Augusta, Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  8. Husson University, Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  9. University of New England, Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  10. University of Southern Maine, Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  11. Online Graduate Degrees and Certificates, University of New England, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  12. Education Pays, Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  13. Fastest-Growing Occupations, Maine, Career InfoNet, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  14. Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, 2014, Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information, Accessed June 18, 2015,
  15. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed June 18, 2015: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists,; Information Security Analysts,; Physical Therapists,; Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides,; Market Research Analysts,; Medical and Health Services Managers,;
  16. Occupational Information Network, Accessed June 18, 2015: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,; Information Security Analysts,; Physical Therapists,; Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists,; Medical and Health Services Managers,;
  17. Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, Trends in Higher Education, The College Board, Accessed June 19, 2015,
  18. Maine Grants & Loan Programs, Finance Authority of Maine, Accessed June 19, 2015,
  19. Opportunity Maine, University of Maine System, Accessed June 19, 2015,

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