20 Cheapest Colleges in Maryland in 2021 - Best Value Schools

20 Cheapest Colleges in Maryland in 2021

February 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Every institution on this list is accredited.  The ranking is determined by three items, the cost of tuition, the faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.  The lower the cost of tuition and lower faculty to student ratio then the higher the ranking is.  The higher the graduation rate is the higher the ranking is.  Looking at all three pieces of information helps us gauge not only cheap colleges but also high quality colleges.  The following list includes the top cheapest colleges in Maryland that are also high quality.  

Here are the 20 Cheapest Colleges in Maryland!

1. United States Naval Academy            Points 15

Established in 1845, the United States Naval Academy is the second oldest of the five U.S. Service Academies in the nation.  Students that attend will enroll in a bachelor degree program that takes four years to complete.  Most of the programs available at USNA are in science, technology, engineering, or math areas although there are degrees in economics, english and a few other majors as well.  These degrees are meant to help meet the current and future needs of the Navy.  There are also more specialized degrees such as ocean engineering, naval architecture, and oceanography that pertina more specifically to the Navy itself.  While students attend they are considered active-duty midshipmen during their time at college.  Those admitted will not pay tuition, making it the most affordable college in Maryland.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Annapolis, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: Free For Admitted Students
  • Non-Resident Tuition: Free For Admitted Students
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 88%

2. University of Maryland-Baltimore                 Points 13

Established in 1807, the University of Maryland-Baltimore is home to some of the nation’s oldest schools of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy, social work and nursing. As a public university that continues to confer professional degrees upon students it has expanded to offer a number of other degree programs as well such as biology, computer science, economics, social work youth services, psychology, mechanical engineering and more.  UMB is the founding campus of the University of Maryland system.  With many partnerships with local businesses and organizations students have opportunities to apply their knowledge though internships, clinical experiences and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $11,033
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $39,267
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

3. St. Mary’s College of Maryland      Points 13      

Established in 1840, St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a public liberal arts college that aims to offer a similar experience to that of an elite liberal arts college.  With low tuition, a generous financial aid package, low faculty to student ratio and high graduation rate, St. Mary’s College has been named a Best College for Your Money by Money Magazine. It also happens to be one of two public honors colleges in the nation.  Approximately 1,600 student enroll each year in affordable programs such as English, political science, psychology, biology, economics, and more.  Students can participate in study abroad programs, student led forums, research, and many other career focused programs.  Student life is engaging with over 100 clubs and organizations.    

At A Glance

  • Location: St. Mary’s City, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $14,806
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $30,568
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

4. University of Baltimore      Points 11

Established in 1925, the University of Baltimore is a public institution that provides education in business, law, public, affairs, and the applied arts and sciences.  Providing innovative and flexible solutions for adult learners, career changers, and first time college students, UB makes it possible at an affordable rate.  Degrees programs are categorized into five various pathways from UB: Law, Justice, and Public Affairs, Psychology, Health and Human Services, Communication and Design,  CYbersecurity, Gaming, and Technology, and Business and Entrepreneurship.  With more that 78% of faculty holding the highest degree available in their profession students will be mentored by leaders in their field.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $8,958
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $21,076
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

5. Salisbury University         Points 11

Established in 1925, Salisbury University is a public institution that is nationally recognized for its self-directed learning opportunities and undergraduate research.  Students can choose from 43 affordable undergraduate degrees in common and uncommon fields.  Some of the more popular degrees include accounting, computer sciences, earth science, art history, english, finance, and many more.  Some of the more unique degrees include decision and information sciences, respiratory therapy, and dispute resolution and conflict analysis.  Salisbury State is also recognized for its sustainability initiatives such as on campus electric vehicle charging stations, gardens and geothermal heating and cooling throughout four buildings.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Salisbury, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $9,824
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $19,526
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

6. Towson University         Points 11

Established in 1866, Towson University is a public institution that was established as a training school for teachers.  Enrolling approximately 22,000 students each year, it is one of the largest colleges in Maryland.  Students have seven colleges or schools to choose a degree program from: College of Business and Economics, College of Education, College of Fine Arts and Communication, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Mathematics, and Honors College.  Towson University is the largest producer of teachers in the nation.  Students studies are complimented by opportunities for hands-on experience as they participate in internships, study abroad, community service and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Towson, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $9,940
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $23,208
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 76%

7. Notre Dame of Maryland University         Points 11

Established in 1873, Notre Dame of Maryland University is a private Cahtolic institution that offers Maryland’s only women’s college as well as undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs for men and women.  Students have easy access to Penn station thanks to a campus run shuttle.  Degree programs include nursing, liberal arts, humanities, biology, business administration, communication, and more. Graduates will learn how to strive for excellence, build inclusive communities, and promote social responsibility.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $36,900
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $36,900
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes 
  • Graduation Rate: 74%

8. Hood College               Points 11

Established in 1893, Hood College is a private liberal arts institution that believes in empowering students to use their hearts, minds, and hands in leading in their communities.  Originally established as a women’s college, Hood is now a comprehensive coeducational institution that offers a wide array of degrees to its approximately 1,300 students.  Students have affordable degree options in pre-professional programs as well as other fields of study such as computer science, psychology, communications, social work, youth services, education, and more.  Hood COllege also offers affordable graduate studies for student seeking to advance their education.      

At A Glance

  • Location: Frederick, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $39,492
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $39,492
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

9. Morgan State University          Points 9

Established in 1867, Morgan State University is a public research university that is Maryland’s largest HBCU and is a member of the Thurgood Marshall Fund.  Morgan State University is also a Carnegie classified doctoral research institution that provides education to a multicultural, mutliracial, and multinational student body.  Enrolling approximately 7,700 students each year in various degree programs including social service, hospitality management, engineering, education, architecture, business, the sciences and more.  Students learn in state of the art facilities with faculty that are geared toward innovative instruction learning.  Students have many opportunities to be engaged in outreach programs, internships and more in the greater Baltimore area,     

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $7,900
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,167
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

10. University of Maryland Eastern Shore        Points 9

Established in 1886, University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a public research institution that is classified as an R2: Doctoral Universities Higher Research Activity.  The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is also an HBCU and a member of the Thurgood Marshall Fund.  Approximately 4,400 students enroll each year to earn an affordable degree in a variety of innovative programs such as aviation software, piloting, aviation science, human ecology, and more.  Programs are offered through five schools: Education, Business and Technology, Pharmacy and Health Professions, Social Sciences and the Arts, AGricultural and Natural Sciences, and Graduate Studies.  Students have many opportunities to engage in collaborative research with the likes of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology, and the Coastal EcologyTeaching and Research Center.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Princess Anne, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $8,558
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,508
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

11. Frostburg State University     Points 9

Established in 1898, Frostburg University is a public four year institution that is the only institution for higher learning in Maryland’s Appalachian Highlands.   FSU has grown to operate four campuses aside from their main one at Frostburg as well as a robust online program.  Approximately 5,600 students enroll each year in one of the many affordable degree programs including education, communication, criminal science, psychology, nursing, business, liberal arts and more  Students are encouraged to apply classroom instruction in a variety of ways including study abroad, service, internships, and other hands-on opportunities.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Frostburg, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $9,172
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $$22,892
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

12. University of Maryland          Points 9

Established in 1856, University to Maryland is the flagship institution in Maryland and is an affordable public research institution.  University of Maryland has consistently ranked among the top universities in the nation and in the world.  Coming in at #22 in the nation and #50 in the world according to the U.S. News and World Report.  It is the largest institution for higher learning in Maryland, enrolling more than 41,000 students annually.  It spans 12 colleges and schools and offers more than 200 degree programs.  Students will have ample opportunities to explore their talents, interests and gain leadership skills as they pursue a degree.  Students have many opportunities for leadership as they participate in internships, community services, and research in or near the nation’s capital.    

At A Glance

  • Location: College Park, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $10,595
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $35,216
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

13. University of Maryland-Baltimore County     Points 9

Established in 1966, University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a college of natural and mathematical sciences and is also a space grant institution.  Student enrollment is approximately 13,700 annually.  Students are fully engaged in learning as they participate in creative intensity of research as well as liberal arts learning opportunities.  Students can enroll in one of the many degree granting programs that are in-demand fields such as engineering, technology, the arts and sciences, entrepreneurship, dance, and more.  The performing arts program bloats two theapters and programs throughout the year for students to participate in and enjoy.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $11,778
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $26,872
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

14. Washington Adventist University            Points 9

Established in 1904, Washington Adventist University is a private Seventh-Day Adventist University.  As a private liberal arts institution more than 1,500 students enroll annually to earn one of the many affordable degrees.  Degree programs include social work, psychology, business, nursing, biology, liberal arts, humanities, and more.  The music program is known to be one of the top programs in the state of Maryland with performances at Carnegie Hall and overseas.  Washington Adventist University offers a diversity program, off campus missionary service, and on campus chapel services for students.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Takoma Park, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $23,900
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $23,900
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

15. Mount St. Mary’s University         Points 9

Established In 1808, Mount St. Mary’s University is a private Cahtolic liberal arts institution that boasts the second largest Catholic seminary in the United States.  The university is organized into 5 schools or colleges: College of Liberal Arts, School of Natural Science and Mathematics, School of Business, Division of Education, and Division of Graduate, Professional and Continuing Education.   The Mount is ranked among the top institutions for higher learning in the state of Maryland by the U.S. News and World Report.  Students are engaged and have opportunities to apply their knowledge in research, internships, and other hands-on activities.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Emmitsburg, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $41,350
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $41,350
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 71%

16. University of Maryland-Global Campus            Points 9

University of Maryland-Global Campus, formerly University of Maryland-College University was founded over 70 years ago to provide higher education at an affordable rate to all who seek it no matter where life takes them.  As an online university, students can take quality courses and earn a respected degree from anywhere.  Students can enroll in degree programs such as healthcare, communication, public safety, liberal arts, cybersecurity, business management, and many more.  THough it is primarily an online institution students can participate in person at locations throughput Maryland and at military installations around the world.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Adelphi, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $7,416
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $12,336
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

17. Bowie State University           Points 9

Established in 1865, Bowie State University is a public historically black university, one of the ten oldest in the nation and is also a member of the Thurgood Marshall Fund.  The university consists of five colleges: Business Education, Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies, Education, and Graduate.  Students can enroll in one of the many bachelor degree programs including specialty programs like broadcast journalism, forensic science, bioinformatics and more.  Student support services include tutoring, disability services, academic advisement, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Bowie, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $8,234
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,874
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

18. Stevenson University           Points 9

Stevenson University, formerly Villa Julie College enrolls approximately 3,600 students annually. Stevenson University is known for its career focused degree programs and commitment to student success.  Students can attend at either the campus at Owings Mills or Stevenson, Maryland.  Students can earn a degree in one of the innovative majors that are available such as media performance, biochemistry, fashion design and fashion merchandising, and more.  Students will find many student led clubs and organizations on campus.  A staggering 93% of graduates are either serving in the military, employed in their given field, or attending graduate school.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Owings Mills, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $36,242
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $36,242
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

19. Coppin State University          Points 7

Established in 1900, Coppin State University is a public institution that is a historically black serving institution and is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  Upon opening the vision was to provide training to African Americans to become teachers, that vision has expanded to provide over 50 affordable degree programs in a wide array of fields.  Now consisting of six schools and four colleges students can study in health, business, behavioral sciences, education, the arts and more.  Freshmen get academic advising, placement testing, seminars, and many opportunities to be involved and engaged on campus to enhance their experience as they begin their education.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $8,873
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $15,144
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

20. Capitol Technology University      Points 7

Established in 1927, Capitol Technology University is a private institution near Washington D.C. that was opened as an engineering institute.  CTU has programs at every degree level that are dedicated to business, computer science, aviation and unmanned systems, engineering, and information technology. For those serving in the National Guard can qualify for discounted tuition, up to 50%.  CTU is a military friendly institution.  Each year five freshmen are chosen to receive a four year scholarship where tuition is covered for those four years they attend CTU.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Laurel, Maryland
  • Resident Tuition: $25,540
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $25,540
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • FInancial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 48%

Methodology in Points Assigned


Cost $0 to $4,999  5 points

Cost $5K to $9,999 3 points

Cost $10K+ 1 point

Faculty to Student Ratio

10 to 1 and lower 5 points

20 to 1 3 points

Above 20 1 point

Graduation Rate

Above 50%  5 points

Between 25% to 40% 3 points

Below 25% 1 point

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