UMFK

University of Maine System investing $3 million in early college scholarships, initiatives

AUGUSTA, Maine — Enrollment in Maine public university early college programming reached 2,985 in the 2017-2018 academic year, a 5-year, 110-percent increase as campuses continue to promote coordination with Maine high schools to expand access to free and low-cost opportunities to earn college credits.

Students from nearly 100 Maine high schools enrolled in 17,577 credit hours this year.  The March 2018 report on high school student enrollment in University of Maine System early college programs can be accessed online at this link.  

The University of Maine System, with strong support from the Maine Legislature, is investing $3 million to build on existing progress and create a coordinated, statewide early college program that strengthens the partnership between secondary and higher education, increases degree attainment, and reduces the debt load on Maine college graduates.  

“Thanks to $3 million in targeted state support advanced by Gov. LePage and the Maine Legislature, the University is able to make the investments needed to build a high-quality, coordinated early college program,” said James H. Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Working with our local school partners across the state we aspire to provide every Maine high school student a chance to experience college-level work and get an affordable start on degree programs that lead directly to opportunity in the Maine workforce.”   

High school students who participate in early college are more likely to graduate from high school, attend and persist in college, and achieve tuition savings that can lower the student loan debt burden on graduates.

The University of Maine System is advancing its early college program through a number of investments, new partnerships, and the appointment of a new Early College Lead Coordinator.  

“It is incredibly exciting to see the entire University of Maine System place so much emphasis on early college,” said Scott Voisine, dean of community education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the administrator responsible for UMFK’s Rural U early college program. “ UMFK’s Rural U program has grown exponentially over the past five years and programs on other campuses have also seen growth.  Early college is a great opportunity to increase college aspirations, reduce the cost of college, and improve college success. The campuses in the UMS are now working together to best leverage the resources of all campuses to make early college a reality for even more high school students in Maine.”

$385,000 for scholarships

The University of Maine System is investing $385,000 over two years in early college scholarships at its campuses to applicants who participated in the university’s early college programs. The awards provide another potential financial benefit for Maine high school students who enroll in early college programs.

The scholarships also provide prospective students with an economic incentive to matriculate in public universities committed to providing high school graduates with strong and affordable pathways to high-value credentials and Maine careers.  Each of the campuses of the University of Maine System will be awarding approximately $20,000 in early college scholarships for students who took early college classes in high school and intend to enroll at one of the seven campuses in the Fall 2018.

“The best way to keep college-bound young people in Maine is to enroll them in our public universities,” said Robert Neely, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the University of Maine System.   “Our early college scholarship program is a strategic investment that will help keep Maine students here at home and making affordable progress to promising opportunities in the Maine workforce.”

UMS names lead coordinator

Dr. Amy Hubbard has been appointed the early college lead coordinator for the University of Maine System. Hubbard began her education career as a biology teacher and science department chairperson at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, where she promoted and taught early college courses and supported partnerships with local colleges and universities. Hubbard is a graduate of the University of Maine’s higher education doctoral program. Her dissertation research focused on early college programs within the Maine Community College System.

“I​ enrolled in the higher education doctoral program at the University of Maine to focus on bridging the gap between high schools and colleges,” said Hubbard.  “I fulfilled each program requirement by focusing on various aspects of early college programs. I am excited about this position because the approach that the University of Maine System is taking aligns with the findings and recommendations outlined in my dissertation. Expanding partnerships to offer high-quality early college courses can have a transformative, positive impact on Maine’s students.”

Hubbard’s duties will include the facilitation of an early college quality oversight team of campus-based early college coordinators and other constituents.  She will serve as a the system early college liaison with state agencies and partners, and assist the campuses with the development of assessment and expansion initiatives.

Local school officials with questions about the University of Maine System’s early college work may email Dr. Hubbard at Amy.L.Hubbard@maine.edu

Partnership building

The University of Maine System is planning and funding regional professional development meetings to improve coordination with Maine’s local schools and to expand access for students.  Workshops are being scheduled now and will include high school guidance counselors and teachers and university program leaders and faculty.

The system will also be launching an early college pathway to a Maine career pilot in the fall of 2018 at several institutions that would provide high school students with access to programming that aligns with areas of campus strategic focus and Maine workforce needs.  

Academic quality will be an emphasis of the system’s early college coordination.  Planned investments will include training for local high school teachers and technology designed to improve program management.  

Submitted by the University of Maine System Public Affairs office.

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