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Located on the northeastern coast of the United States, Maine is home to 15 public colleges and universities, including the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine. The state also has 19 private for- and non-profit institutions, such as Kaplan University and the University of New England. Unlike other states, Maine has no dedicated department of higher education that oversees its colleges and universities. Instead, its Department of Education works to manage the learning progression from pre-kindergarten to grade 16. Therefore, the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System’s respective board of trustees are responsible for creating policies and procedures and performing administrative oversight, including that of online education programs. The University of Maine System is one of several institutions in the state to offer distance learning programs, which gives students the opportunity to complete their course work in their own time without disrupting other responsibilities, such as to their families or employers.
The University of Maine is the state’s land-grant university and functions as the flagship campus for the University of Maine system. Located in Orono, the university confers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 100 areas of study, including accounting, business administration, education, and nursing. The U.S. News & World Report placed the University of Maine at No. 152 in its 2010 ranking of the top national universities. In addition to its on-campus options, the University of Maine offers fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Education. The university’s online campus, known as UMaine, uses the Blackboard course management system. Blackboard allows students to view important announcements, access course materials, participate in online discussions, and submit assignments and tests.
Located in Portland, the University of Southern Maine is the second largest university within the University of Maine system. The university awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in business, management, music, nursing, social work, law, and more. It also offers six online bachelor’s degrees, including in business administration, and three master’s degrees. The University of Maine utilizes the commonly used Blackboard system as its course management tool, and it offers online students academic advising, tutoring, library services, and technical support. The U.S. News placed the University of Southern Maine at No. 118 in its 2010 ranking of universities in the north and No. 36 in the top public schools category.
The University of New England is a private, non-profit institution that awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to its more than 5,500 students at its campus in Biddeford. The U.S. News placed the institution at No. 104 in its ranking of northern regional universities, and its graduate occupational therapy program was ranked No. 36. The school’s on-campus offerings include studies in history, neuroscience, business administration, applied exercise science, social work, and more. The University of New England also offers online college degree programs in education, educational leadership, and physical therapy on master’s and doctoral level.