Maine’s Best Public Colleges and Universities of 2021

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Maine provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Maine’s Best Public Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Maine

At $9,970, Maine is right on target with the national average, making the state an affordable choice for those looking to receive an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The 16 public colleges and universities range in tuition from $4,000 to $14,000. The 10 private schools tend to cost more, ranging from $27,000 to $55,000, though the class sizes are often much smaller. The largest private university is the University of New England, with just under 6,000 students, and a tuition of $38,000.

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The University of Maine (UMaine), with just under 10,000 students, is the largest public school, with a tuition rate of $11,000. Based in Orono, the public research university offers degrees in fields like literature, earth sciences, and physics. Stephen King and Bernard Lown are among the influential alumni who attended this school. The cost for higher education in Maine varies, but the state offers loan forgiveness programs for many professions, including dentists, lawyers, educators, health professionals, and veterinarians. The Alfond Leaders program forgives up to $60,000 for residents working in eligible science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.

The northernmost state in New England, Maine is known for its fishing, quaint coastal towns, and of course, lobster. Maine is also home to over 60 lighthouses. Students looking to earn their degree while living in a state that has both ocean beaches and lush forests can choose from 26 private and public higher education institutions.

Come see why Maine is an excellent option for earning your higher education degree and starting a career.


What are Maine’s Colleges & Universities?

Maine’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 9 public universities in Maine; 3 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best public universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must receive direct funding from the state.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It offers a broad range of bachelor’s degree programs.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

How do we determine Maine's best public colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Public Colleges & Universities in Maine

  1. #1

    University of Maine

    #378 institution's historical influence
    #575 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Orono, ME

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    What is University of Maine known for?

    University of Maine’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    University of Maine at Farmington

    #3169 institution's historical influence
    #727 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Farmington, ME

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    What is University of Maine at Farmington known for?

    University of Maine at Farmington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
  3. #3

    Maine Maritime Academy

    #3112 institution's historical influence
    #972 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/24

    Castine, ME

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    What is Maine Maritime Academy known for?

    Maine Maritime Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering

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Photo By: University of Maine