The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects that by the year 2020, 65% of all jobs in the U.S. will require education and training beyond high school. Specifically, 35% of jobs will require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree and 30% will require an associate degree or some type of postsecondary training. Not only will college degree holders be more in demand, but they are also likely to earn 66% more than non-bachelor degree holders over a typical 40-year working period. To meet this increasing demand for college degree holders and to take advantage of digital technology, most colleges and universities now offer online education for both traditional and non-traditional students.
Higher Learning Initiatives in Maryland
Tech-Centric Community College Initiative
To compensate for higher enrollment and the lack of classroom space, community colleges around the state are starting to supplement traditional coursework with livestreaming and recorded simulations that can be viewed at home or in tech labs on campus. This hybrid coursework can cut a student’s commute time and give them more time to study or take care of other obligations.
Maryland Online (MOL) is a statewide intersegmental consortium of public and private accredited higher education institutions that share a similar goal: promoting distance education. MOL helps facilitate student access to online programs as well as helps institutions find resources to expand their online programs. It also helps online instructors find employment opportunities. MOL was founded in 1999 with 12 charter member institutions. It currently has 20 member institutions, including the University of Maryland University College. Membership is open to all accredited and licensed higher education institutions.
Popular Degree Programs in Maryland
Maryland’s top five private sector employers involve some level of information management. Hence, information science is a popular college major. The state also builds on the region’s strong biopharma industry and many colleges in Maryland offer a major in the field.
- Information Science: A broad field, information science encompasses various industries that deal with massive amounts of information that must be compiled, stored, analyzed, and retrieved. Information scientists apply their training and skills in various fields including the bioscience, medical research and development, and aerospace industries, all industries that currently drive Maryland’s economy.
- Health and Life Sciences: Maryland boasts a workforce with a high percentage of graduates with STEM-related degrees from prestigious universities such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. These graduates help fuel the biopharma industry and maintain Maryland’s place in the BioHealth Capital Region with Virginia and the District of Columbia, the fourth-largest biopharma cluster in the country.
Paying for College in Maryland
As college tuition continues to rise, college-bound students and their families struggle to find ways to pay for college. Maryland residents have the advantage of living in a state U.S. News & World Report ranks as the sixth most-educated state in America, signifying the state’s support of students seeking higher education. Maryland residents have the added advantage of affordable in-state tuition, as seen in the table below.
Maryland’s in-state tuition for both two- and four-year public institutions remains at competitive levels with the national average. In fact, in-state tuition for public four-year colleges and universities is slightly lower than the national average ($9,900 and $9,978, respectively). Although tuition often makes up the bulk of the cost of a college degree, students incur additional costs including room and board, books, fees, and transportation.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in Maryland
U.S. News & World Report ranks Maryland as the second-best state in terms of economic opportunities accessible to its residents (only New Hampshire ranks higher). It is also a highly equitable state, ranking third among states in terms of gender parity, income and employment rates, and racial equality in education. Additionally, Maryland workers earn a higher annual mean wage ($56,120) than those in other states ($50,620). Although the state’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national rate (3.9% versus 3.8%), Maryland nevertheless offers many professional options for college graduates.
Accreditation for Colleges in Maryland
Colleges and universities seek accreditation as a way to measure the quality and relevance of their programs. Although it is voluntary, accreditation nevertheless signifies a college or university’s commitment to providing top-caliber education. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee the accreditation process for U.S. institutions, although they do not accredit any school themselves. Some schools seek specific programmatic accreditation for degrees such as nursing or social work. Programs that do not seek stand-alone accreditation, including most online programs, often rely on the accreditation of the offering school.
ED channels financial assistance through accredited institutions and programs. A college or university’s accreditation status makes a difference if you plan to seek federal assistance (grants, scholarships, work-study options) to help pay for your college education. Accreditation also matters when transferring credits. Regional accrediting bodies accredit degree-focused, public two- and four-year institutions, while national accrediting organizations accredit mostly private, sectarian, for-profit schools. Colleges and universities with regional accreditation sometimes do not accept credits earned from nationally accredited schools. Be sure to find out the accreditation status of the online college or university in Maryland that offers the degree you wish to pursue.
Scholarships for Maryland Online College Students
Scholarships, grants, and other higher education funding options attract both in-state and out-of-state students eager to earn a college degree. Maryland offers several college grants and scholarships for all types of students.
- Angie Houtz Memorial Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program accepts applications from graduating Maryland high school seniors accepted to two- or four-year colleges in Maryland who have completed at least 200 hours of community service. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA while under scholarship.
- Central Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: A need-based financial award, the Central Scholarship program reviews applications from Maryland students with a minimum GPA of 2.0 who have been accepted to an accredited two- or four-year U.S. college or university.
Amount: $10,000 per year for four years
- Cynthia E. Morgan Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Maryland residents in their junior or senior year in high school who plan to enroll in a medical or medical-related program at a two- or four-year institution can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be the first in their family to attend college.
- Kahdine Ann Dacosta Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship accepts applications from graduating high school seniors of American Indian, Asian, African-American, or Latino/a heritage who live in the Baltimore Metro area and who have been accepted to a two- or four-year program at any U.S. college or university. Applicants must have a significant history of community involvement and at least a 2.5 GPA.
- Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF) Eastern Regional Chapter Scholarship
Who Can Apply: KASF accepts applications from direct descendants of Korean War veterans. Applicants must have graduated from a high school encompassed by the KASF eastern chapter and plan to attend college in the region. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrable financial need.
- Maryland Higher Education Commission 2+2 Transfer Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Maryland residents who are graduates of a two-year community college program who plan to earn a bachelor’s degree from a Maryland college or university can apply for this funding opportunity. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA.
Amount: $2,000 for STEM or nursing students; $1,000 for other areas of study
- Regina C. Williams Memorial Scholarship Foundation
Who Can Apply: This scholarship accepts applications from students residing in the eastern Maryland region who plan to become teachers. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and begin their college program in the academic year following receipt of the scholarship.
- Restaurant Association of Maryland Educational Foundation Scholarships (RAMEF)
Who Can Apply: RAMEF administers several scholarship programs for Maryland students who wish to pursue a degree in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Scholarship funds can be applied toward any food industry program offered by an accredited U.S. college or university.
- The Esperanza Education Fund
Who Can Apply: Earmarked for immigrants, the Esperanza Education Fund accepts applications from full-time students enrolled in a college in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia. Applicants cannot be American-born and must have two foreign-born parents. This scholarship accepts applications from DACA students.
Amount: $5,000-$20,000, depending on need
Who Can Apply: Urban high school seniors in the Washington, D.C. area and select Maryland counties who are of African-American or Latino/a descent can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.5 with a family income of less than $45,000.
Resources for Students in Maryland
- Maryland Association of Community Colleges: The state’s 16 community colleges comprise the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC). MACC serves as an advocate for community colleges and their students and works with businesses, the state government, local communities, and other stakeholders to provide student access to job training programs.
- Maryland Higher Education Commission: MHEC’s website provides information about Maryland public and private colleges and universities, military education programs, the academic common market, private career schools, and financial aid. The information serves as a guide for college-bound students and their families in the search for the college or university that best fits their needs.
- MHEC Publications: MHEC publishes annual books about higher education in Maryland intended for students, parents, educators, and administrators. In addition, MHEC publishes several higher education-related reports and study results throughout the year. All MHEC publications are accessible online.
- State Financial Assistance Programs and Applications: MHEC maintains this page and keeps the financial information it contains current in order to aid students in identifying funding options for their college education. You can find out about scholarships opportunities, including career- and occupation-based grants, loan assistance repayment programs, and legislative scholarships.
- University System of Maryland: This page is especially helpful to those pursuing a degree from an online college in Maryland. It offers information on transferring community college credits to four-year institutions, available online courses or training programs, and useful business resources and services.
Online Schools in Maryland
Capitol Technology University
- Graduation Rate: 29%
- Average Net Price: $19,943
Frostburg State University
- Graduation Rate: 44%
- Average Net Price: $17,841
Notre Dame of Maryland University
- Graduation Rate: 48%
- Average Net Price: $17,134
Owings Mills, MD
- Graduation Rate: 64%
- Average Net Price: $24,716
- Graduation Rate: 66%
- Average Net Price: $15,203
University of Baltimore
- Graduation Rate: N/A
- Average Net Price: $15,318
University of Maryland Baltimore
- Graduation Rate: N/A
- Average Net Price: N/A
University of Maryland-University College
- Graduation Rate: 4%
- Average Net Price: $10,558
Washington Adventist University
Takoma Park, MD
- Graduation Rate: 31%
- Average Net Price: $18,229
Catholic University of America
- Graduation Rate: 67%
- Average Net Price: $33,125
- Graduation Rate: 33%
- Average Net Price: $17,316
George Washington University
- Graduation Rate: 80%
- Average Net Price: $26,269