dcsimg

Online Colleges in Maryland

Most Affordable Online Colleges
   Page Contents

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
Associate5413
Bachelor's2813
Master's1913

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.

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Maryland

There are numerous online colleges in Maryland that offer low tuition rates. The following lists rank the top 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. In the case of a tie between schools, the schools’ overall scores from the Top Colleges tool were used to break the tie.

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

Most 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 the most 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
$2,288
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.
35.83%
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

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
$4,128
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: 
GO
3

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
$4,128
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 college notes. 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
4

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
$4,272
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 Colleges 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, the college reports. Chesapeake Colleges 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: 
GO
5

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
$4,440
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

Most 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 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
$4,089
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
$4,767
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.
29.4%
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
$4,960
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
$4,969
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.
27.8%
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
$5,800
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.

Top Cities For Students 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

Total Population

2,753,396

Median salary for high school grads

$33,915

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$59,922

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

11.1%

Median rent

$952

Economics

Greater Baltimore is a hub for medical research, and the city houses several world-renown medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins is the region's largest employer at more than 31,000 people, Visit Baltimore reports. Other major employers in the region include Johns Hopkins Health System, University of Maryland Health System and Northrop Grumman. Median annual wages in 2014 for Baltimore County residents with advanced degrees was $73,194, the Census Bureau reports.

Demographics

Median household income in Baltimore in 2014 was just over $53,000, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Also in 2014, almost 30 percent of Baltimore residents held at least a bachelor's degree, the bureau notes. The Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan region had a total workforce of more than 1.4 million people in April of 2016, the BLS reports.

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

Total Population

256,237

Median salary for high school grads

$30,863

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,959

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

7.7%

Median rent

$696

Economics

According to the Washington County Department of Business Development, Hagerstown sits at the "Crossroads of the Mid-Atlantic." The city is a hub for defense contractors as well as warehouse and distribution companies. Washington County had a workforce of 76,022 people in 2015, the Maryland Department of Commerce reports. Major employers include Meritus Health, First Data, Citigroup Operations Center and Volvo.

Demographics

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that just over 17 percent of the population ages 25 and older in Hagerstown had obtained at least a bachelor's degree in 2014. In 2010, the bureau reported that the population of the city was made up of mostly Caucasian and African American residents. Respectively, they made up 75.8 percent and 15.5 percent of the population.

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

Total Population

381,868

Median salary for high school grads

$27,891

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$43,548

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

8.9%

Median rent

$733

Economics

The Salsibury region had a total workforce of 152,260 in May of 2015, the BLS reports. In the same year, median annual wages for all occupations was just over $30,000, the BLS adds. Agriculture is big in Wicomico County. It is the state's No. 2 agricultural producing county, the Maryland Department of Commerce reports. Perdue Farms is the county's third-largest employer behind Salsibury University and Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Demographics

The Salsibury metropolitan statistical area includes portions of Delaware on the Delmarva Peninsula, the BLS notes. Nearly 28 percent of Salisbury residents over age 25 had obtained at least a bachelor's degree in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau adds.

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.

 

Sources

  1. Key Pens Star-Spangled Banner, History.com, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/key-pens-star-spangled-banner
  2. "Fort McHenry, Birthplace of our National Anthem," USA Today, July 2013, http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/07/11/fort-mchenry-birthplace-of-our-national-anthem/2509305/
  1. University System of Maryland, http://www.usmd.edu/
  2. Maryland Independent College and University System, http://www.micua.org/
  3. Community Facts, Maryland, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  4. State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates-Maryland, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm#00-0000
  5. Degrees Offered Online at BCCC, Baltimore City Community College, http://www.bccc.edu/Page/282
  6. Online Education, Hagerstown Community College, http://www.hagerstowncc.edu/academics/distance-education
  7. About Us, Carroll Community College, https://www.carrollcc.edu/About-Us/
  8. Distance Learning, Carroll Community College, https://www.carrollcc.edu/student-services/distance-learning/
  9. Online Learning, Chesapeake College, http://www.chesapeake.edu/academics/online
  10. Fast Facts, Prince George's Community College, http://www.pgcc.edu/uploadedFiles/Content/Student_Activities/opair/Fast%20Facts%202014.pdf
  11. eLearning Services, Prince George's Community College, http://www.pgcconline.com/aboutOnlineLearning/degreeCertificatePrograms.html#associate
  12. College of Business Online Degree in Management, Coppin State University, http://coppinallbusiness.com/online-program/
  13. The Center for Instructional Technology and Online Learning, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, https://www.umes.edu/InstTech/Default.aspx?id=11492
  14. UMES Online, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, https://www.umes.edu/UMES-Online/Pages/UMES-Online/
  15. Online Programs and Courses, Morgan State University, http://www.morgan.edu/online_education/degrees_and_programs.html
  16. Academic Computing and Online Course Support, Bowie State University, https://www.bowiestate.edu/academics-research/provost-and-vice-president-for/academic-computing-and-online-/
  17. Online Learning at FSU, Frostburg State Univesity, http://www.frostburg.edu/online/
  18. QuickFacts-Baltimore, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00
  19. Civilian labor force and unemployment by state and metropolitan area, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/metro.t01.htm
  20. American FactFinder-Baltimore, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#
  21. The Preakness Stakes, Visit Baltimore, http://baltimore.org/article/preakness-stakes
  22. Baltimore Key Industries, Visit Baltimore, http://baltimore.org/info/baltimores-key-industries
  23. QuickFacts, Hagerstown City, Maryland, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2436075
  24. Community Facts, Hagerstown City, Maryland, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  25. Welcome to the Crossroads of the Mid-Atlantic, Washington County Department of Business Development, http://hagerstownedc.org/
  26. Brief Economic Facts, Washington County, Maryland, Maryland Department of Commerce, http://commerce.maryland.gov/Documents/ResearchDocument/WashingtonBef.pdf
  27. Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Salisbury, MD-DE, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41540.htm#00-0000
  28. Community Facts, Salisbury, Maryland, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  29. Brief Economic Facts, Wicomico County, Maryland, Maryland Department of Commerce, http://commerce.maryland.gov/Documents/ResearchDocument/WicomicoBef.pdf
  30. Middle States Commission on Higher Education, https://www.msche.org/
  31. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, http://www.acics.org/