Maine College

Find Maine colleges and universities, such as state, community, public, and private colleges, universities, and technical schools. Colleges and universities provide information on degree programs, such as associate degrees, bachelor degrees, masters degrees, doctorate degrees, and trade certifications, college applications, financial aid, tuition, and student alumni resources.



What is a College?

A College is an institution that offers post-secondary education through a range of degree or vocational programs. Although there are distinctions between the two, the term College in the United States is typically used to refer to both Colleges and Universities. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that there are more than 4,700 post-secondary degree-granting institutions in the U.S.

There are several types of college, each of which offers different degree programs. Four-year Colleges typically offer Bachelor's degrees in science or liberal arts, and may also offer graduate-level degrees. Junior Colleges and Community Colleges offer Associate degrees in two-year programs. In most cases, students earning two-year Associate degrees can apply their credited work towards a four-year degree at another College. Universities offer a wider range of degree programs. At the graduate level, Universities offer multiple programs leading to Master's and Doctoral degrees.

According to the NCES, more than one million Associate degrees and approximately 1.9 million Bachelor's degrees were awarded in the most recent year for which data is available. In addition, another one million Master's and Doctoral degrees were earned.

Colleges can be public or private. Public Colleges are generally established as Universities offering a full range of degree programs. Most Public Universities are run by states. Public Universities receive a portion of their funding from state government, which makes their tuition comparatively lower than Private Colleges and Universities. Appointed boards of trustees oversee Public Universities. Private Colleges and Universities rely on tuition and fundraising as their main revenue sources, and they tend to have more expensive tuition than Public Universities.

There are numerous independent accrediting agencies that establish the operating standards for educational institutions. Colleges that maintain educational standards associated with reputable institutions of higher learning can obtain accreditation from an accrediting authority. An accredited College is generally viewed as one that meets acceptable levels of quality.