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The University of Southern Maine (USM) is a mid-sized institution with 6,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. Located in Portland, USM students love being close to the Atlantic Ocean and only two hours driving time from Boston. They also spend their college years steeping in one of over 300 academic areas for their major, minor, or concentration. Focus areas include business, education, engineering, public policy, and STEM subjects, among many, many more. Students can also take advantage of USM's online portal and reduced tuition costs for online degree opportunities.

Overview of University of Southern Maine (USM)

When they're not studying, USM students don't stop learning and expanding their educational experiences. They can find like-minded fellows in their favorite campus organization, whether it has a social, political, or recreational focus. Students also expand their physical intelligence in the Sullivan Recreation and Fitness Complex, which provides students with opportunities to play basketball, pickleball, ultimate Frisbee, or other sports. The Sullivan center also offers weights, personal trainers, saunas, and much more. Students also love to root on the Southern Maine Huskies who compete with other NCAA teams in a variety of sports.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 13:1
Graduation Rate 40%
Year Founded 1878

Student Enrollment

Total Students8,429


Undergraduate Student

Male 2870
Female 3,805

Graduate Student

Male 754
Female 1,000

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USM Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 1,982
Female 3,014


Male 1,566
Female 2,471

Acceptance Rate81%

Male 79%
Female 82%

Enrollment 890

Male 374
Female 516
Application Fee NA
High School GPA NA
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline May 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

USM Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The University of Southern Maine is a state-funded institution that helps state residents who wish to pursue a college degree. State residents are provided a significant discount in tuition relative to their out-of-state peers. Mainers pay only around $11,000 for a year of tuition, books, and supplies. Meanwhile, out-of-state students have a gross price tag that exceeds $25,000. While some may pause at these numbers, they only represent the gross cost, not the final tally.

Southern Maine's financial aid office can help mitigate costs for their students with generous grants and scholarships. In fact, the average net price tag for a year at USM is under $10,000, including all living costs. That figure falls to $6,000 for USM's low-income students and does not exceed $15,000 for households that earn in excess of $110,000. This makes USM a terrific value in higher education.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $12,400
Average Total Aid $8,671
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Room & Board $9,956

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $9,226
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $22,050
  • Books and Supplies - $600
  • Room & Board - $9,956
  • Other - $3,000


The University of Southern Maine has some stiff competition. New England schools are known for academic excellence. While USM is well-regarded for its academics, our research team investigated the statistics to discern exactly that reputation holds up. To do so, they looked at various academic statistics, including the retention rate. This metric measures how many first-time, full-time students returned to the Portland, ME campus for a second year. Their investigation found that 64% of students came back for a second year. Given that USM is a public institution, researchers concluded that this was competitive with other public universities in the nation. They also found that the graduation rate was 34%. While that number may give some pause, our team noted that it was augmented with a 30% transfer rate. Transfer students are often highly motivated individuals who move on to more competitive schools or institutions that have specific programs they desire for their careers. Thus, USM helps upwards of 64% of its students prepare for a diploma, whether in Portland or elsewhere.

A big part of USM's success is due to its small class sizes. The average class size is only 13 students. This helps new students find success when they can easily approach their instructors.

Student Population Total

Student Population 8,429

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 232 Total Graduates / 22%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 147 Graduates
Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions, Other 66 Graduates
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 9 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 9 Graduates
All Business Majors 209 Total Graduates / 19%
Business Administration and Management, General 88 Graduates
Accounting 30 Graduates
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other 25 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 25 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 157 Total Graduates / 15%
Social Sciences, Other 69 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 30 Graduates
Criminology 28 Graduates
Economics, General 17 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 57 Total Graduates / 5%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 34 Graduates
Mass Communication/Media Studies 23 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 55 Total Graduates / 5%
All Other Diplomas 34%

Outcome & Salary

Southern Maine's students work hard for their grades and, though their academic costs may not be as high as some, they are still likely interested to know what sort of return they might reap on their investment. While a degree does not guarantee any salary or career, our team reviewed salary information from USM's alumni.

Of the highest earning degrees, USM's mechanical engineering students fared the best with a reported median salary of $71,000. Meanwhile, the fifth-highest earning degree program was found to be marketing, whose graduates reported a median salary of $48,000. Other top earners included alumni from the nursing and accounting degree programs.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $48,500
College Grads Average Salary $65,085
College Grads Mid Career Salary $79,300
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $650,850
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,443,850
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $49,600
10 Year Projected ROI $601,250
20 Year Projected ROI $1,394,250
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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