Photo courtesy of University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park was rated as providing the best value among Maryland’s colleges and universities, according to a recent study by financial technology company SmartAsset.

Johns Hopkins University, which held the top spot in 2020, slipped to number two this year.

SmartAsset compared institutions’ average starting salary for new graduates, tuition (in-state, where applicable), living expenses, student retention rate, and average scholarships and grants. From those metrics, they calculated a college education value index for each college and university, scoring each institution based on how much value students get for the price they pay.

SmartAsset found that the top 10 best value schools in Maryland are:

  1. University of Maryland, College Park
  2. Johns Hopkins University
  3. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  4. Towson University
  5. Frostburg State University
  6. Loyola University Maryland
  7. Salisbury University
  8. Morgan State University
  9. Bowie State University
  10. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

While it did not make it onto the list of schools with the highest value, the United States Naval Academy had the highest average starting salary for new graduates: $79,600.

The average starting salary for Maryland higher education institutions overall is $55,670.

Maryland’s community colleges swept the list of institutions with the lowest tuition. Baltimore City Community College led the pack with a tuition of $3,146, the lowest in Maryland.

The average cost of tuition among the state’s colleges and universities is $16,872.

Student living costs, such as room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses, were $9,100 at Bais HaMedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore, the lowest in the state.

Students who attend college in Maryland on average pay $15,201 in student living costs.

The student retention rate, or the percentage of students who re-enroll at a college year over year, is 95% at Maryland’s best value college, University of Maryland, College Park.

The state’s second highest value college — Johns Hopkins University — retains students at a rate of 97%. By comparison, the average student retention rate for Maryland institutions overall is 71%.

SmartAsset gave a 25% weighting each to starting salary, tuition and living costs. They weighted 12.5% to scholarships and grants, and 12.5% to retention rate.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at