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Timothy Peck
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The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Maryland

What’s Covered:

 

From prestigious research universities like Johns Hopkins to respected public institutions like the University of Maryland, College Park, the state of Maryland is home to many great colleges. The reputation of a school is an important factor for many students when it comes time to choose a college. Another consideration that is on top of the minds of college-bound students is cost. The expense of college was the number one consideration of participants in a recent poll by USA Today, with 45% of them claiming it as their number one concern.   

 

Tips for Saving Money on College

 

There are a number of ways for students to cut down the cost of college. 

 

Graduate Faster

 

The more time you spend in college, the greater its expense and the longer you’re removed from the workforce and not earning. While college is traditionally thought of as a four-year undertaking, the fact is less than half (45%) of college students graduate in four years. AP exams are one way students can get a head start on fulfilling college requirements while in high school. Summer classes represent another method for ensuring you stay on track to graduate in a timely manner. Ultimately, the best plan is to have a strategy to complete all your degree requirements, on time, and without taking credits that don’t count toward your major. 

 

Community College 

 

Community college isn’t what many aspiring college students think of while working hard in high school. That said, community college can offer incredible cost savings and allow students to complete general education requirements at a fraction of the cost of a four-year school. Below is a comparison of the average cost of tuition per credit at community colleges, public universities, private universities, and private nonprofit institutions. 

 

  • The average cost of tuition per credit hour at a community college is $141 for in-state students and $339 for out-of-state students
  • The average cost of tuition per credit hour at a four-year public university is $390 for in-state students and  $1,126 for out-of-state students 
  • The average cost of tuition per credit hour at a private four-year college is $1,365  
  • The average cost of tuition per credit hour at a private nonprofit four-year institution is $1,492  

 

Scholarships 

 

Scholarships are an excellent opportunity for students to earn extra funds for college. Outside scholarships are what spring to the minds of most students, but make getting scholarship dollars from the schools themselves a priority. Colleges and universities provide considerably more scholarship dollars than other organizations—$175 billion vs. $11 billion—which is something that should get the attention of cost-conscious college-bound students. 

 

The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Maryland

 

1. United States Naval Academy | Navy

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $0

Location: Annapolis, MD

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,500

 

The U.S. Naval Academy is one of the nation’s five service academies and is one of the best educational values in the country—it’s free (sort of). After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, students must fulfill a service commitment, typically in the Navy or Marines. Admission into the Naval Academy is highly selective and applicants must meet a handful of prerequisites, such as being between age 17 and 23, being unmarried, having no children, and demonstrating good character. Applicants must also receive an official nomination, generally from a representative in congress or a senator. 

 

Learn more about the United States Naval Academy and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Coppin State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,371/$23,768

Location: Baltimore, MD

Acceptance Rate: 40%

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,300

 

Coppin State University is one of Maryland’s several historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The school takes its name from Fanny Jackson Coppin, a legendary African-American educator and an advocate for female higher education. Today, the school has a ratio of one male student to five female students. In addition to being one of the most affordable colleges in Maryland, Coppin State University is also one of the most selective—according to the website Niche, Coppin ranks 129 out of 1,702 on its list of hardest colleges in America to get into. 

 

Learn more about Coppin State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Morgan State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,622/$31,245

Location: Baltimore, MD

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,400

 

Morgan State University (MSU) was founded in 1867 and today covers a sprawling 185 acres northeast of Baltimore. MSU is another of Maryland’s HBCUs, however, today the school fields a multiethnic, multiracial, multinational student body—more than half the student population is Black, but numerous ethnicities are represented on campus. MSU is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution—meaning the school engages in “high research activity.”

 

Learn more about Morgan State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. University of Maryland Eastern Shore | UMES

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,643/$29,053

Location: Princess Anne, MD

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,500

 

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is one of Maryland’s four HBCUs and one of the 12 campuses in the University of Maryland System. UMES offers bachelor’s degrees in 37 areas—ranging from accounting to urban forestry—provided through four separate academic schools:

 

  • School of Education, Social Sciences, and the Arts
  • School of Business and Technology 
  • School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
  • School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

 

In 2018, UMES Pharmacy graduates achieved a 96% first-time pass rate on the North American Pharmacy Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). 

 

Learn more about the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. Bowie State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $19,920/$30,612

Location: Bowie, MD

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,300

 

Founded in 1865 to educate the state’s newly emancipated citizens, Bowie State University is one of the oldest HBCUs in the nation and Maryland’s oldest HBCU. Bowie State offers 23 majors, from biology to visual communication and digital media arts, through its four colleges:

 

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Professional Studies

 

Bowie State’s proximity to both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore (it’s less than an hour’s drive from each) provides students with access to a wealth of professional, cultural, and recreational opportunities.

 

Learn more about Bowie State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. Frostburg State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $20,612/$34,712

Location: Frostburg, MD

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,600

 

Frostburg State University (FSU) has grown considerably since fielding an inaugural class of just 57 students in 1902—presently the college is home to more than 4,000 students. Over the years, FSU has built a reputation for being one of the more affordable colleges in Maryland; SmartAsset, a New York-based financial company, ranked the school fifth in the state on their top institutions on value for students in 2022. FSU is also known for its sustainability—the college is a recognized Tree Campus USA, and its Lane Center and the Gira Center are both certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

 

Learn more about Frostburg State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Salisbury University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $22,304/$32,370

Location: Salisbury, MD

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,600

 

The proximity to major cities like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York is one reason students from across the globe are attracted to Salisbury University. More than 200 international students from 60+ countries call Salisbury home. In addition to being an affordable college option, Salisbury University also delivers attention-grabbing outcomes—92% of students seeking employment were employed full- or part-time within one year after graduation, and 79% of students seeking employment or graduate school enrollment had accepted an offer prior to graduation. 

 

Learn more about Salisbury University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

8. University of Maryland, College Park | Maryland

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $24,035/$50,147

Location: College Park, MD

Acceptance Rate: 51%

Undergrad Enrollment: 30,700

 

The University of Maryland, College Park, is the largest college in the state and the largest university in the Washington Metropolitan Area as a whole. The university is home to more than 30,000 undergraduates and offers 100+ undergraduate majors. The University of Maryland, College Park, is also home to the largest university library system in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area—it houses more than nine million titles in its eight libraries and online. The website Payscale ranks the University of Maryland, College Park, highly on its list of best value colleges: 84th for in-state students and 147th for out-of-state students out of 1,978 schools. 

 

Learn more about the University of Maryland, College Park, and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. Towson University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $24,250/$38,386

Location: Towson, MD

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Undergrad Enrollment: 19,800

 

Towson University (TU) is located on a suburban 329-acre campus eight miles north of downtown Baltimore and roughly an hour drive from Washington, D.C. TU is the second-largest school in the University System of Maryland, which is the 12th-largest public university system in the United States. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate degree and certificate programs to its approximately 20,000 students. In 2019, 95% of TU graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduating.

 

Learn more about Towson University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Washington Adventist University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $35,030/$35,030

Location: Takoma Park, MD

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Undergrad Enrollment: 900

 

Washington Adventist University (WAU) is a private university with a liberal arts tradition owned by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Although WAU offers a Christian education, the school is welcoming to all students regardless of their ethnicity, culture, gender, religion, and physical condition. The website Niche ranks WAU as the 249th—out of 1,616—most diverse college in America. 

 

Learn more about Washington Adventist University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

How Much Will You Pay for College?

 

The sticker price of a college is a poor indicator of what it will cost you to attend. Net price—a calculation using factors like financial aid and scholarships—provides a more accurate picture of what you can expect to pay for college. While you can use each individual school’s net price calculator, CollegeVine’s free Financial Aid Calculator lets you estimate the cost of hundreds of schools in just minutes.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.