Subject: Early College Student Processing

Effective 07/01/2020


This Administrative Practice Letter (APL) will cover the handling and processing for Early College students within the University of Maine System. All campuses should process and handle Early College students the same.


Early College Student – Any student at the high school level enrolled in a college course.

High School Aspirations Reimbursement Program – Program administered by the Maine Department of Education that reimburses University of Maine System campuses a set rate for each credit hour taken by eligible Early College students. See below for eligibility requirements. The Aspirations program includes the following course modalities:

  • Concurrent Enrollment – College courses that are taught by college-approved high school teachers on the high school campus.
  • Aspirations- College courses that provide an opportunity for high school students to enroll in courses that take place on a college campus or online. Courses are taught by a college professor and include both high school and college students.

Bridge Academy – The Bridge Academy program combines college courses with Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways. Students progress through in a cohort with the potential to earn 24 college credits as well as additional credits and career-based credentials through their CTE program. Bridge Academy has a separate funding source and model, and is not included in the High School Aspirations program.

Bridge Academy students are billed at a rate of $40.00 per credit hour for their Bridge courses at their high school. Bills will be mailed once the add/drop period has passed. Only Bridge students are eligible for funding through the Competitive Skills Scholarship (CSSP). Those approved through the Department of Labor (DOL) will not receive bills from the university.

In some cases, students will take online courses through the university system to round out their Bridge requirements. Those courses will be processed through the Aspirations funds and subject to the limits set forth by DOE.

Aspirations Eligibility:

Maine State Statute outlines eligibility requirements for students enrolling under the High School Aspirations Reimbursement Program.

Eligible students are those that meet the following:

  • Attending publicly funded high school.
  • Students who attend a high school or academy classified as a Private School that is approved for the receipt of public funds and who are not paying tuition to the school.
  • Homeschooled students who have registered with their local school district and the Maine Department of Education.
  • International students who are living with a host family, attending school per a Superintendents agreement, and are not paying tuition to that school.

Students not eligible for the High School Aspirations Reimbursement Program fall into the categories below:

  • Students who attend private schools and pay tuition.
  • International students who are paying tuition to a public or private high school.
  • Any Maine student who is paying tuition to attend a public or private high school.
  • Any out of state student.
  • Homeschooled students who do not register with the Maine Department of Education.


Enrollment will be handled by the ExploreEC portal and processed by the Early College staff at each campus. All Early College students will be placed in the Non Degree Early College program code NDEC at University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maine at Fork Kent, University of Maine at Machias, University of Maine and University of Maine at Presque Isle. Early College student will be placed in the Non Degree Early College program code NECN at University of Southern Maine.

Students eligible for the High School Aspirations Program will be allowed up to 12 credit hours per fiscal year beginning with the summer semester to be covered by Department of Education (DOE) reimbursement. Credit hour eligibility coverage will be based on the date and time stamp of the student application in ExploreEC.

Any additional credit hours taken by the student will be billed to the student at the Early College tuition rate.

Tuition Rates:

The In-State tuition rate for Early College (EC) students will be set to match the rate of reimbursement by the DOE. This rate is determined annually by the Board of Trustees (BOT), though may not change every year, and is equal to 50% of the average in-state tuition rate for the highest and lowest rates established by the BOT.

Students who are not eligible for the Aspirations Reimbursement program (as described above), but are attending a High School or Academy within the State of Maine will be considered In-State and charged the EC tuition rate.

Students attending a High School or Academy outside of the State of Maine will be considered Out-Of-State and charged the rate set forth by the campus.

Charging of Fees:

Starting with the Fall 2020 term the only fees charged to EC students will be those that are course specific materials, travel/housing fees or digital book fees. Examples of these fees are lab fees, art supply fees, field trip fees, required room and board fees, required digital book costs.


Billing to the Maine DOE will be done each term and submitted on or prior to the due date. The due date is set each year by the DOE. Typically the date for the combined bill for summer and fall semesters is mid-October, and Spring semester is mid-March. Maine DOE will only be billed for those students eligible for the reimbursement as described above. All other charges on a students’ account will be billed directly to the student.

Early College students will be treated as all other students in the area of holds for non-payment.

Financial Withdrawal:

(Students who drop during the add/drop period will not be charged tuition.)

The financial add/drop and withdrawal policy for Early College students will be different than the academic drop/withdrawal (WD) policies at each campus.

For year-long courses – the deadline for financial withdrawal will be the fall census (October 15)

For fall and spring semester-long courses the deadline will be the established census date of the given semester.

For summer sessions, specialized courses, and mini-sessions (any session less than 11 weeks)- students will have the number of days into each session equal to the length of that session (e.g. 3 week course, students have 3 days, 6 week course, students have 6 days).

Students enrolled in courses at the time of these deadlines will be responsible for tuition charges. Billing will be to the state if the student is eligible. If the student is not eligible for state monies the student will be billed directly.

There will be no tuition adjustments or percent refunds calculated for EC withdrawals. Students who remain on the roster at the deadlines listed above will be charged the full EC tuition rate.

Approved by the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer on 7/1/2020

Revised on 6/5/2023 to clarify summer session billing and to reflect changes in DOE billing process.

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