Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

Reese Lopez
Updated June 28, 2024
Edited by
Looking for quality distance education programs in the Old Line State? Check out our guide to accredited online colleges in Maryland.
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Maryland is a major state for online learning, with around 32% of all college students enrolled exclusively in online classes as of 2022, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The state has also made college education more accessible to first-generation and low-income students through programs like CollegeTracks and Collegiate Directions.

Plenty of online colleges in Maryland offer quality education, but you should always make sure a school holds proper accreditation before applying. Our guide to accreditation in Maryland highlights the importance of attending an accredited institution, along with tips for choosing the right college.

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What Colleges Are Accredited in Maryland?

Accreditation shows that a college has met specific academic and administrative standards, ensuring students receive a quality education. In Maryland, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits most of the state’s public and private colleges. The following section outlines the major types of accreditation, including regional, national, and subject-specific.

Institutional Accreditation

The institutional accreditation process involves a thorough review of a school’s operations, programs, faculty, and student outcomes. For many years, institutional accreditation for nonprofit schools operated within regional boundaries.

In 2020, ED removed the borders and allowed schools to pursue accreditation from any approved institutional accrediting organization, regardless of location.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Subject-specific accreditation evaluates individual programs within a university. This type of accreditation often applies to fields requiring professional licensure, such as nursing, teaching, or psychology. Attending a program with subject-specific accreditation ensures you’ll be qualified to enter your chosen field after graduation.

Some fields may hold multiple subject-specific accreditation agencies. For example, in nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing provide accreditation to nursing programs.

Top Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

#1 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

Towson University

  • Location-markerTowson, MD
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,962
  • Out-of-state$21,098
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate76%
  • Students Enrolled22,709
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment23%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

University of Maryland-College Park

  • Location-markerCollege Park, MD
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,824
  • Out-of-state$34,936
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate44%
  • Students Enrolled40,743
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment19%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

McDaniel College

  • Location-markerWestminster, MD
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$44,540
  • Out-of-state$44,540
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled2,851
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment27%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

  • Location-markerBaltimore, MD
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$55,350
  • Out-of-state$55,350
  • Retention Rate97%
  • Acceptance Rate11%
  • Students Enrolled27,079
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Maryland

University of Maryland-Baltimore County

  • Location-markerBaltimore, MD
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,704
  • Out-of-state$24,338
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate61%
  • Students Enrolled13,602
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment12%
  • AccreditationYes

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Accredited schools typically display their accreditation status on their official website. A lack of accreditation information may indicate that a school does not hold proper accreditation. Learners can search the CHEA directory to verify the accreditation status of a school or program.

The Impact of Accreditation When Transferring Credits

Accreditation can also affect how your credits transfer between online colleges in Maryland. If you attend an unaccredited institution, your credits won’t transfer to a regionally or nationally accredited institution. Similarly, credits from nationally accredited colleges often don’t transfer to regionally accredited colleges.

Accreditation Criteria for Licensing

Accreditation can also be important for obtaining professional licensure in engineering, healthcare, or education. If your desired career path requires licensure, you’ll likely need to attend a subject-specific accredited program at a regionally accredited college. If you attend a program that lacks proper accreditation, you won’t qualify for state or national licensing exams.

Choosing the Right Online College in Maryland

You have many online colleges in Maryland to consider, but finding the right school takes careful research and informed decision-making. Factors such as accreditation, program format, and financial aid might affect your choices. This list highlights several steps to follow when looking for your ideal school.

1. Check Accreditation Status

When you’re researching online colleges in Maryland, always check for accreditation status. You can usually find a school’s accreditation information in its “About” section. You can also search online for the school’s name along with the word “accreditation.”

2. Determine Program Format/Flexibility

Program formats and delivery methods vary among schools. Some online programs offer courses asynchronously, letting you complete your coursework at any time of day. Synchronous programs hold live virtual classes at specific times. Hybrid programs blend online and in-person learning. Always research the necessary time commitment before enrolling.

3. Explore Financial Aid Options

Colleges with similar academic programs may offer very different types of financial support, particularly if you’re choosing between public and private colleges. Always research a school’s financial aid offerings to find out how much you’ll be paying for an online degree.

4. Research Faculty Expertise

Faculty expertise can also help you decide between online colleges in Maryland. If you know you’re interested in a specific discipline or subject, seek out faculty whose interests seem similar or complementary to yours. Professors who share your professional or research interests can make a significant difference in your education.

5. Review Support Services

Outside of academics and financial aid, consider each school’s available student resources. When choosing between programs, also check into services like career counseling, professional development, and resources specifically available to online learners.

Online College Resources for Maryland Students

As an online student, you can still benefit from Maryland’s robust higher education services. This section highlights four useful resources for Maryland college students.

  • Maryland Higher Education Commission

    MHEC regulates higher education in Maryland and provides financial aid for students. You can use their website to find scholarships, education resources, and information on online colleges in Maryland. MHEC connects Maryland students to more than $100 million in financial aid opportunities each year.
  • CollegeTracks

    CollegeTracks offers education resources for students in Montgomery County, which includes Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Germantown. The organization works to increase access for first-generation college attendees. CollegeTracks boasts a 99% college placement rate among participating students.
  • Collegiate Directions

    Collegiate Directions provides support for low-income, first-generation college students in Maryland. The organization serves both high school and college students and offers college counseling and career support services. It serves students throughout Montgomery County.
  • NAMI Maryland

    The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Maryland chapter offers mental health resources specifically for college students. On NAMI’s website, you can find information on campus mental health, crisis counseling, and other community resources.

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