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Online Colleges in Maryland

Most Affordable Online Colleges

On a dark and rainy night in 1814, Francis Scott Key witnessed the nightlong bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore by British troops. In the morning, after Key saw a lone American flag flying proudly over the battered fort, he wrote the lyrics that would become America's anthem. While Maryland is the birthplace of the "Star-Spangled Banner," the state’s many colleges and universities have been the birthplace of big dreams for countless college students. Key himself was a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, the third-oldest university in the country.

The University System of Maryland is the state's premier system of higher education and offers many options for online students. The system had 163,454 students enrolled in March of 2016, and it conferred more than 37,000 degrees in fiscal year 2015, the system reports. There are 12 universities and two regional higher education centers in the University System of Maryland.

Maryland also is home to the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as St. Mary's College and Morgan State University -- three public institutions that aren't part of the university system. Another college system in the Old Line State is the Maryland Independent College and University System, which consists of 15 private nonprofit colleges serving more than 63,000 students annually.

Maryland also is home to many well-respected independent private universities, such as Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University Maryland, both in Baltimore. Lastly, there are community colleges spread across the state for students who wish to pursue online associate or technical degrees.

The chart below details the total number of degree-granting institutions in Maryland for online degrees:

Degree LevelNumber of Online ProgramsNumber of Colleges
Associate6914
Bachelor's9716
Master's14921

Maryland was home to just over 6 million people in 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Just under 27 percent of the state's population had obtained at least a bachelor's degree in 2014, the Census Bureau reports. Median annual salaries for residents with bachelor's degrees in 2014 were $60,017, the bureau adds. Also, residents with graduate or professional degrees earned median annual salaries just over $81,000 in the same year. Maryland had a workforce approaching 2.56 million in 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes. Median annual salaries were $41,870 during that time, the BLS adds.

Affordable Online Colleges in Maryland

There are numerous online colleges in Maryland that offer low tuition rates. The following lists present several of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Maryland based on the lowest in-state tuition. The data used was reported by the schools to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, part of the National Center for Education Statistics.

If you are interested in seeing a ranking of the top online colleges in Maryland based on quality or a multitude of other factors, please use our Top Colleges tool.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Maryland

Community colleges are a great way to start off earning a higher education. They can be a good way to keep costs down and reduce a student’s total college loans. Students can earn an associate degree or transfer credits to a university to continue studying to earn a bachelor’s degree. For students looking for affordable two-year colleges in Maryland, below is a list of some of the more affordable online colleges in the state.

1

Baltimore City Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,296
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

The only state-sponsored community college in Maryland offers 29 associate degree paths, but only a few are fully online. Baltimore City Community College online students can pursue completely online degrees in general studies, business management, business administration, accounting, law enforcement and education-teacher transfer. Online classes at Baltimore City Community College make up about 80 percent of total coursework. However, online students still may need to take tests on campus for certain classes. Students who take online or hybrid courses through Baltimore City Community College are required to attend an online student orientation. The college uses Canvas as its course management system.

School Website: 
GO
2

Carroll Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,344
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
22.88%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Westminster, Carroll Community College had a total enrollment of just over 12,000 students for the 2013-2014 school year. Almost 90 percent of Carroll Community College students live in Carroll County. The school awarded 622 associate degrees in the 2014-2015 school year. Carroll Community College has more than 100 distance education courses available in fully online, hybrid (at least 50 percent online) and blended instruction (less than 50 percent online). Students can work toward their degree requirements by taking online courses in communications, business, history, algebra, oceanography, science, and many more.

School Website: 
GO
3

Chesapeake College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,392
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.71%
Institution Type
Public

About

Chesapeake College on Maryland's Eastern Shore primarily serves residents of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Dorchester County. Student population was 9,160 in fiscal year 2015. Chesapeake College offers two types of online courses. One follows the typical 15-week semester, while the other is an accelerated eight-week fast-track timeline. Classes can be either completely online or hybrid classes mixed with regular on-campus meetings. Students can choose from 34 different associate transfer and career degree paths at Chesapeake College, but the school does not offer any fully online degrees.

School Website: 
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4

Prince George's Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,632
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
27.56%
Institution Type
Public

About

Prince George's Community College in Largo served more than 13,600 students in the fall of 2014 among its four campus locations. Online study is a popular option for students. In fact, more than 3,700 students enrolled in regular online or accelerated online classes in fall 2014. Prince George's Community College has a robust schedule of more than 300 fully online and hybrid classes, as well as 11 completely online associate degree programs. Students can choose to study accounting, business management, criminal justice, economics, law, psychology and paralegal/legal studies. Prince George's Community College also offers an online associate degree in forensic science for students who wish to continue on to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in the field.

School Website: 
GO
5

Hagerstown Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,758
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
35.06%
Institution Type
Public

About

Founded in 1946, Hagerstown Community College in Western Maryland has the distinction of being the first community college in the state. Hagerstown has an annual enrollment of 6,000 credited students. The college offers both fully online and hybrid classes, as well as numerous online degree programs. Students can pursue online associate degrees in art and sciences, general studies, education and business administration. Additionally, there are numerous "75 percent online" associate degrees that students can pursue, which means some coursework must be completed on campus. Options include study in English, history, sociology, education, information technology, management and marketing management.

School Website: 
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Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Maryland

Financially smart students are always looking for a way to cut their costs and reduce the amount of student loans they’ll accumulate. One of the biggest ways to reduce college costs is to attend a college with lower tuition prices. Here is a list of some of the most affordable four-year universities in Maryland.

1

Coppin State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,294
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34.22%
Institution Type
Public

About

Coppin State University is a historically black college located in northwest Baltimore. The university serves about 4,000 students each academic year. Coppin State University's premier, completely online degree is its bachelor's degree in business management. School of business students receive online instruction in business accounting, business law, business finance, operations management, economics and international business for their general requirements. Core requirements include other areas crucial to business management, such as business and professional ethics, human resource management, labor relations and small business management.

School Website: 
GO
2

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,005
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

A historically black college located in the small town of Princess Anne on Maryland's Eastern Shore, this university serves about 3,300 students each school year. Online courses at University of Maryland Eastern Shore are taught by the same professors that teach on-campus classes. Students who are full-time residents of Maryland can enroll in the university's online graduate degree program in cybersecurity engineering technology that culminates in a master's degree. Students wishing to work toward their degree requirements can enroll in dozens of fully online classes, including study in English, accounting, biology, chemistry, history, sociology and many other core requirements.

School Website: 
GO
3

Morgan State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,060
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8.12%
Institution Type
Public

About

Another of Maryland's historically black colleges, Morgan State University in Baltimore has an annual enrollment of about 7,700 students. The university offers several fully online degree programs. Students can pursue master's degrees in project management, electrical engineering, and community college administration and instruction. Morgan State University also offers a doctoral degree program in community college leadership. Lastly, Morgan State has an electrical and computer engineering program where engineering students can complete the final two years of their bachelor's degree online. Morgan State University also offers dozens of online classes where students can complete undergraduate degree requirements, including study in archaeology, engineering, economics, marketing, transportation and many more subjects.

School Website: 
GO
4

Bowie State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,217
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
27.80%
Institution Type
Public

About

Bowie State University, the oldest historically black college in Maryland, has an annual enrollment of about 5,600 students. The school uses Blackboard for its online content management system. Bowie State University offers 22 undergraduate and 19 master's degree programs, as well as two doctoral degree programs. Students can take many fully online or hybrid classes from Bowie State University professors, but the bulk of their degree requirements must be satisfied through on-campus instruction.

School Website: 
GO
5

Frostburg State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,214
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21.49%
Institution Type
Public

About

Frostburg State University had a record enrollment of 5,756 students in fall of 2015, the university reports. The university offers students hundreds of online courses and six fully online degree paths. The school's online RN to BSN program culminates in a bachelor's degree for nursing students. The university offers completely online master's degree programs in business administration, recreation and parks management, nursing, applied computer science, and education. Frostburg State University also offers many online classes for non-resident students that can be completed during semester or summer breaks; credits are oftentimes transferrable to students' home schools.

School Website: 
GO

College Accreditation in Maryland

College is a long journey filled with difficult decisions. One decision that's easy to make, however, is choosing a college that's properly accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body. Accreditation means students are undertaking degree programs that adhere to widely accepted educational standards and are valid.

The main accrediting body for many technical schools, community colleges and four-year colleges and universities in Maryland (and the District of Columbia) is listed below:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

However, some technical and career colleges in Maryland are accredited by the following:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

Some of the smaller religious schools and private colleges in Maryland may be accredited by a different accrediting body. Students can check online with the Department of Education to see how a prospective college is accredited.

School Interviews

Want to know what it's like attending online college in Maryland? The following interviews are from leading educators in the state who weigh in on the benefits of college life in Maryland.

Marcia Watson
Now that online learning is coming of age, we know more about how students can learn most effectively in the online environment.

Marcia Watson

Vice Provost

University of Maryland University College

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at your school?

UMUC employs a student-centered learning model that emphasizes learning through doing. The UMUC model is NOT built around taped lectures. Instead, students and faculty are together in a highly interactive classroom where students are presented with tasks that are drawn from the real-world of the intended career. Students learn, and demonstrate their learning, through structured projects that may involve working in groups. The goal is to prepare students to be able to accomplish the kind of tasks that they will be doing on the job. For environmental management, for example, that means conducting an environmental assessment or writing a management plan. For this reason, UMUC seeks to hire faculty who are scholar-practitioners, with actual experience in the fields they teach.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Students who are most successful in online programs are those who have good time management skills, who are willing to take responsibility for their own learning, and who are goal-oriented. Good communication skills are very important: contact with the professor and with other students may be largely in writing, or through synchronous verbal sessions, and it helps to be able to express yourself clearly and to understand what others are saying, in the absence of the body language cues that are present in a traditional classroom.

And it goes without saying that a certain amount of familiarity with a computer or mobile device is essential. In addition, a wise student will research the various online programs that are available, looking at time commitment needed, costs, student support services, faculty credentials, program accreditation and reputation, and other aspects. The traditional college experience usually starts with a campus tour where prospective students can learn if the school is right for them, and it's just as important to find the right fit with an online program.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

When online learning first started, the approach was to try to mimic the traditional classroom, for example, by providing live or pre-taped lectures along with "study hall" kinds of sessions. Now that online learning is coming of age, we know more about how students can learn most effectively in the online environment. Online learning offers three potential areas of development:

  • providing an enriched multimedia learning environment that harnesses the power and interactivity of the Internet to go well beyond what traditional textbooks and lectures could provide; 
  • offering a personalized learning environment that uses software to assess what a student already knows, and what areas need more work; 
  • making use of mobile devices so that students can study anywhere, anytime, and can stay in touch with faculty and with advisers at the touch of a button.

We are already seeing greater access to education across the globe because of online options. I hope that continues and expands.

Dr. Cyntha L. France

Director, Faculty Development Center & Professor of Instructional Design

Chesapeake College

Q. What kind of online programs does your school offer?

Chesapeake College offers two fully online programs. One is an A. A. in liberal arts and sciences and the other is an A. A. in business administration. The majority of courses in the general education program are regularly offered in an online format. These online courses and programs have been in place for seven or eight years. The college provides these online options principally to meet the needs of students for flexibility in scheduling. Many of our students work and have families to care for, so finding time to come to campus is often difficult. Our online course registrations make up about 16% of our total registrations.

Q. Are online students treated differently than students on campus?

Online students need and deserve access to the same support services that on-campus students enjoy. We have done a fine job providing online access to library and tutoring services. Many of our online classes include an “embedded” librarian or tutor who is very familiar with the class, and is easily accessed by students through the course site on our learning management system. Technical help is available 24/7 via phone or email. Teachers in online classes are committed to meeting certain course-delivery standards, including rapid responses to questions, timely grading, and encouragement of active engagement. Much work has been done on course design to ensure that they are well organized, meet the student learning outcomes shared by on-campus counterparts, offer many opportunities for significant interaction with the instructor and other students, and include fair and authentic assessments. Students (with certain restrictions) can register for classes and pay for them online.

Q. What does it take to succeed in online courses?

Students who are considering enrolling in an online course or program need to think seriously and honestly about how well they can manage their own time. Success in an online course usually requires that a student log in on a regular basis to participate in the class and complete the work as scheduled. Too often, the tendency is to put off doing work in an online class. You don’t have a defined meeting time, and no instructor is standing in front of you demanding that you turn in your work. I think that’s the most common barrier to success for students in online courses. Sustaining the effort over a long degree program can be difficult.

Q. How do you see online education changing?

I’m no futurist, but it does seem to me that online education in the future will be everywhere. It will be provided by corporations, interest groups, individuals, as well as more traditional educational institutions. I think we will see more movement toward competency models, away from traditional degree programs. Learning experiences will become increasingly social, making use not of social media and real-time video and audio connections. We are already seeing greater access to education across the globe because of online options. I hope that continues and expands.

Financial Aid in Maryland

There are a number of state financial aid opportunities available for students planning on attending a Maryland college or university. Each year, the state of Maryland awards almost $110 million in financial aid to over 56,000 Maryland college students.

Although the average student loan debt in Maryland is $27,457 according to the Institute for College Access and Success, state financial aid programs can help offset that cost and burden.

To help you get started with your financial aid research, below are some prominent state scholarships and grants for Maryland students.

Maryland Scholarships

Maryland offers a number of scholarships. Some are for a broad group of applicants while others are specific to industry interest.

Maryland students can contact their state delegates in order to apply for this scholarship, which is granted on the basis of need as determined by the FAFSA. All high school seniors and full- and part-time undergraduates and graduates may apply.

  • Application deadline:  Complete and file FAFSA by March 2017
  • Award amount: $200-$11,250
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable:  Yes, but must reapply
  • Minimum GPA:  Not applicable
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Need-based
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Enrolled at a Maryland college or university
  • Residency required: Yes
High school seniors and full- and part-time undergraduates and graduates attending school in Maryland may petition their senators to obtain these scholarships.

  • Application deadline:  Complete and file FAFSA by March 2017
  • Award amount: $400-$11,250
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable:  Varies
  • Minimum GPA:  Not specified
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Need-based
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Must take the SAT 1 or the ACT and have earned 24 college credit hours; or are attending a community college or private career school
  • Residency required:  Yes
The capacity of nursing schools in Maryland has increased greatly in the past decade. This scholarship serves to expand the pool of nurses available in the state. For each academic year that the student is a recipient of this nursing scholarship, they are required to fulfill a service obligation of one year of full-time work as a nurse faculty member or in another approved educational role.

  • Application deadline:  July 2017
  • Award amount:  Full tuition and mandatory fees
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable:  Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Enrolled in a graduate-level nursing program in Maryland
  • Residency required:  Yes

For more tips on how to find, apply and win scholarships, be sure to check out the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Maryland Grants

The average state need-based aid award amount was $965 during the 2014-2015 academic year, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission. For students with greater financial need, however, awards could be much higher. Here are a few of the grant programs offered:

To apply for this grant, high school seniors must be Maryland residents, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, demonstrate financial need and enroll full-time at a two- or four-year Maryland college or university. Recent high school graduates who can provide written documentation as to why they were not able to attend college within one year of graduation may apply as well.

  • Application deadline:  March 2017
  • Award amount:  Up to $17,900
High school seniors and full-time undergraduates demonstrating financial need may apply for this grant as long they are a Maryland resident and are enrolled at a two- or four-year college or university in-state.

  • Application deadline:  March 2017
  • Award amount: $400-$3,000
Students currently attending or planning to attend a private career school in Maryland are eligible for this grant. Students should submit the FAFSA and consult the financial aid office at their school to apply.

  • Application deadline:  Rolling deadline
  • Award amount:  Up to $500

To get the lowdown on all types of grants, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants.

Maryland Loans

Although Maryland has several industry-specific Loan Assistance Repayment Programs, there are no state-specific loan programs. Maryland students who need loans to cover the cost of tuition should look into federal student loan programs.

Learn more about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Maryland

  • The Maryland Higher Education Commission website is a comprehensive resource for all state-issued aid. The organization is responsible for administering all of the state financial aid programs.

Featured Cities in Maryland

Online students in Maryland have many exciting choices of where to live. Different cities offer different salaries for high school and college graduates, as well as different rent costs and population demographics. To learn relevant information about some of Maryland’s biggest cities, read on.

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area

Total Population

2,769,818

Median salary for high school grads

$33,775

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$60,225

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

32.3%

Median rent

$1,152

Fun Facts

Baltimore is home to the Preakness Stakes, the second race in horse racing's Triple Crown. The event is held every third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Track. And if horse racing is not your thing, try riding one with a lance -- jousting is one of the official state sports of Maryland.

Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metro Area

Total Population

257,994

Median salary for high school grads

$30,876

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,545

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

24.4%

Median rent

$881

Fun Facts

Hagerstown is called "Hub City" due to its high concentration of railroads and interstates that traverse the city. The Western Maryland Blues Fest held Memorial Day weekend is the city's largest special event.

Salisbury, MD-DE Metro Area

Total Population

385,983

Median salary for high school grads

$27,709

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$43,925

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

31.3%

Median rent

$965

Fun Facts

Residents of the Delmarva Peninsula, which encompasses parts of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, are extremely proud of their home. They have unsuccessfully tried to secede from their home states several times.

 
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