Best Public Colleges in Maryland 2024

Badge for BEST IN MARYLAND PUBLIC COLLEGES

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

10 Best Public Colleges in Maryland

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  1. University of Maryland, College Park
  2. United States Naval Academy
  3. University of Baltimore
  4. Towson University
  5. Morgan State University
  6. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  7. Salisbury University
  8. Bowie State University
  9. St. Mary's College of Maryland
  10. Frostburg State University
  1. University of Maryland, College Park
  2. United States Naval Academy
  3. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  4. Morgan State University
  5. Towson University
  6. Bowie State University
  7. University of Baltimore
  8. St. Mary's College of Maryland
  9. Frostburg State University
  10. Salisbury University
  1. University of Baltimore 89%
  2. Towson University 88%
  3. Morgan State University 87%
  4. Bowie State University 87%
  5. Salisbury University 86%
  6. Frostburg State University 86%
  7. University of Maryland Eastern Shore 82%
  8. University of Maryland, Baltimore County 81%
  9. St. Mary's College of Maryland 77%
  10. University of Maryland, College Park 52%
  1. University of Maryland Global Campus 19 to 1
  2. University of Maryland, Baltimore County 17 to 1
  3. University of Maryland, College Park 17 to 1
  4. Towson University 16 to 1
  5. Bowie State University 16 to 1
  6. Salisbury University 15 to 1
  7. Frostburg State University 14 to 1
  8. Morgan State University 13 to 1
  9. University of Baltimore 13 to 1
  10. Coppin State University 12 to 1
  1. St. Mary's College of Maryland $12,116
  2. University of Maryland, College Park $9,000
  3. University of Maryland, Baltimore County $8,878
  4. Salisbury University $7,408
  5. University of Maryland Global Campus $7,344
  6. University of Baltimore $7,154
  7. Towson University $7,100
  8. Frostburg State University $6,834
  9. Bowie State University $5,760
  10. University of Maryland Eastern Shore $5,526
  1. St. Mary's College of Maryland $16,530
  2. University of Maryland, College Park $15,360
  3. University of Baltimore $14,094
  4. University of Maryland, Baltimore County $12,222
  5. University of Maryland Global Campus $9,072
  6. Salisbury University $8,585
  7. University of Maryland Eastern Shore $8,352
  8. Towson University $8,280
  9. Morgan State University $8,190
  10. Frostburg State University $8,028
  1. University of Maryland Global Campus
  2. Coppin State University
  3. University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  4. Frostburg State University
  5. St. Mary's College of Maryland
  6. Bowie State University
  7. Salisbury University
  8. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  9. Morgan State University
  10. Towson University
  1. University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  2. University of Maryland Global Campus
  3. Coppin State University
  4. Salisbury University
  5. Frostburg State University
  6. St. Mary's College of Maryland
  7. University of Baltimore
  8. Bowie State University
  9. Towson University
  10. Morgan State University
  1. United States Naval Academy 8%
  2. Coppin State University 48%
  3. University of Maryland, College Park 52%
  4. St. Mary's College of Maryland 77%
  5. University of Maryland, Baltimore County 81%
  6. University of Maryland Eastern Shore 82%
  7. Frostburg State University 86%
  8. Salisbury University 86%
  9. Bowie State University 87%
  10. Morgan State University 87%
  1. United States Naval Academy 8 to 1
  2. St. Mary's College of Maryland 9 to 1
  3. University of Maryland Eastern Shore 10 to 1
  4. Coppin State University 12 to 1
  5. Morgan State University 13 to 1
  6. University of Baltimore 13 to 1
  7. Frostburg State University 14 to 1
  8. Salisbury University 15 to 1
  9. Towson University 16 to 1
  10. Bowie State University 16 to 1
  1. Coppin State University $4,741
  2. Morgan State University $5,477
  3. University of Maryland Eastern Shore $5,526
  4. Bowie State University $5,760
  5. Frostburg State University $6,834
  6. Towson University $7,100
  7. University of Baltimore $7,154
  8. University of Maryland Global Campus $7,344
  9. Salisbury University $7,408
  10. University of Maryland, Baltimore County $8,878
  1. Coppin State University $6,318
  2. Bowie State University $7,758
  3. Frostburg State University $8,028
  4. Morgan State University $8,190
  5. Towson University $8,280
  6. University of Maryland Eastern Shore $8,352
  7. Salisbury University $8,585
  8. University of Maryland Global Campus $9,072
  9. University of Maryland, Baltimore County $12,222
  10. University of Baltimore $14,094

Colleges and Universities in Maryland

The Old Line State has 46 colleges and universities, 30 of which are public and 16 of which are private. The United States Naval Academy offers programs in physical sciences, aeronautical engineering, and naval architecture. The largest private institution, Johns Hopkins University, has just over 24,000 students and a tuition rate of $54,000. Located in Baltimore, this research university is known for its science and medical discoveries.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

The University of Maryland in College Park boasts over 35,000 students with a price tag of $11,000. The school has 15 campuses, and students can choose from areas of study like criminal justice, communications, physics, and sociology. The most affordable school in the state, Baltimore City Community College comes in at $3,000 and has 37 associate degree programs to choose from. Maryland also provides loan forgiveness programs for its residents, including those for dentists and public servants. Students can also check out the Maryland SmartBuy Home Buyer Assistance and Forgiveness Program, where eligible applicants can receive up to 15% of the home purchase price toward outstanding student loan, to be paid off as part of closing.

Maryland is a state bursting with history, from its numerous museums to its historic battlegrounds. Students who attend school in Maryland can explore the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Park and walk the same streets as many influential Marylanders, including Francis Scott Key, Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday, and Thurgood Marshall.

Whether you’re looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Maryland offers its students history, legacy, and numerous degree paths.


What are Maryland’s Colleges & Universities?

Maryland’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

Maryland's Best Public Colleges Badge
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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 13 public universities in Maryland. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Maryland, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Maryland 2023

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/32

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Maryland, College Park

    Cost of Degree: $11,233
    Expenses: $18,404
    Starting Salary: $70,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. #3

    University of Baltimore

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1004/25

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Baltimore

    Cost of Degree: $9,506
    Starting Salary: $63,400

    University of Baltimore’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Business
    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Policy, Politics And International Affairs
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #5

    Morgan State University

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/18

    Career Outlook for degree at Morgan State University

    Cost of Degree: $8,008
    Expenses: $17,727
    Starting Salary: $42,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Morgan State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Cloud Computing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Applied Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    Cost of Degree: $12,606
    Expenses: $18,189
    Starting Salary: $59,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. #7

    Salisbury University

    Salisbury , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    9K

    Career Outlook for degree at Salisbury University

    Cost of Degree: $10,396
    Expenses: $16,990
    Starting Salary: $54,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Salisbury University known for?

    Salisbury University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    935/17

    Career Outlook for degree at Bowie State University

    Cost of Degree: $8,753
    Expenses: $16,568
    Starting Salary: $48,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Bowie State University known for?

    Bowie State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #9

    St. Mary's College of Maryland

    St. Mary's City , MD

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/26

    Career Outlook for degree at St. Mary's College of Maryland

    Cost of Degree: $15,184
    Expenses: $16,611
    Starting Salary: $55,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is St. Mary's College of Maryland known for?

    St. Mary's College of Maryland’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Frostburg State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,804
    Expenses: $16,696
    Starting Salary: $47,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Frostburg State University known for?

    Frostburg State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Frostburg State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    925/17

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Maryland Eastern Shore

    Cost of Degree: $8,898
    Expenses: $17,656
    Starting Salary: $40,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Maryland Eastern Shore known for?

    University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #12

    Coppin State University

    Baltimore , MD

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    895/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Coppin State University

    Cost of Degree: $6,904
    Expenses: $15,932
    Starting Salary: $41,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Coppin State University known for?

    Coppin State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Coppin State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Maryland’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. United States Naval Academy
  2. University of Maryland, College Park
  3. St. Mary's College of Maryland
  4. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  5. Towson University
  6. Salisbury University

Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.

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