University of Maine System aims to cover tuition, fees for 1,200-plus members of the Maine high school graduating class of 2020

UMS Chancellor Malloy to school counselors:  Affordability, debt reduction and
high-impact experiential learning are part of “Maine Values You” message to students and their families

PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Maine System (UMS) announced today that it aims to fully cover tuition and fees for more than 1,200 members of the Maine high school graduating class of 2020 as part of the kickoff of its new “Maine Values You” student outreach campaign.

University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy shared the new affordability initiative on the first stop of the System’s Maine school counselor tour. He also previewed how the System would be showcasing the quality, opportunities and experiences that contribute to the success of Maine’s public university students.

“The University of Maine System is backed by more than $400 million in public investment, research funding, and donors who give generously to support our institutions and students,” said Chancellor Malloy. “We can proudly offer Maine students unmatched affordability and access to the state’s most-highly-credentialed faculty and the most accredited academic programs and pathways to careers and advanced degrees.”

Maine Values Experience:  making high-impact experiential learning opportunities available to every student
The research and service missions of Maine’s public research university and connected public education institutions provide students with powerful and unique experiential learning opportunities. These experiences are valued by employers and better prepare students to be Maine’s next generation of inventors, innovators, and business and community leaders. The number and types of opportunities vary by program and campus, but thousands of students across the System engage in internships, field research projects and knowledge creation experiences every year.

University of Maine and University of Maine Machias pilot initiative on high-impact experiential learning:  Maine’s public universities aspire to make high-impact experiential learning opportunities available to every student to prepare the knowledge and innovation workforce for Maine (UMS Research and Development Plan, Goal Three).  Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine (UM) and its regional campus, the University of Maine at Machias (UMM), will be leading a pilot initiative for the System to expand and integrate experiential learning throughout the academic portfolio as a means to enrich the quality of academic programs and better prepare students for careers.

“Experience matters. Great efforts already being led by our faculty show that experiential learning improves the richness of study for our students and demonstrates to employers that our graduates are career-ready at the time of hire,” said President Ferrini-Mundy.

“With more than $100 million in research activity and a statewide service mission, the University of Maine System is already the state leader in providing students with high-impact experiential learning opportunities.

“Our commitment to preparing the knowledge and innovation workforce for Maine will include having the tools across the System to make an internship or a service, research or creation of knowledge experience available to every student.”

The pilot initiative at UMaine and UMM will complement the work already underway to strengthen curriculum and student learning opportunities at all the campuses.

In the 2018-19 academic year USM students completed nearly 1,500 internships for academic credit and amassed over 85,000 hours of experience with more than 200 employers. 61% of respondents to USM’s 2019 graduate survey reported participation in an internship, field experience or practicum while at the institution.

Pillars in USM’s academic Vision 2028include “A Future-Forward Curriculum” and “The Integration of Learning and Work.” The latest update on the vision discusses exemplary examples of programs expanding internships, clinical, applied learning, practice and field study offerings.

Maine Values Affordability:  aiming to cover tuition, fees for 1,200-plus members of the Maine high school class of 2020 A nation-leading commitment to affordability that has included a six-year tuition freeze, record investments in institutional financial aid, and donor generosity is making it possible for Maine’s public universities to aim to cover tuition and fees for more than 1,200 new Maine students next fall. The goal is being set pending a Fiscal Year 21 state allocation for the University of Maine System at funding levels recommended at the start of the state’s biennial budget process.

Apply for free to all seven Maine public universities:  The cost of college attendance includes more than tuition and fees. Financial aid eligibility and the cost of attendance vary by institution and for individual students. Students can learn more about Maine’s public universities and get started with their free undergraduate application to one or all seven institutions by visiting:


Four examples of affordability:  Maine’s public university commitment to affordability and financial aid investments are paying off for Maine students and their families:

4-in-10 first-year Maine students are attending with tuition and fee coverage:  More than 40% of first-time, degree-seeking Maine students (1,142) who filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) were able to attend Maine’s public universities last year with tuition and fees completely covered through a combination of state and federal grants, institutional gift aid and private scholarships.

$4,000 in first-year student loan savings:  First-time, full-time Maine students attending Maine’s public universities borrow an average of approximately $4,000 less than their peers who choose to attend the four private Maine institutions and four out-of-state institutions that enroll the most college-bound Maine high school graduates.

Maine residents attending Maine’s public universities borrowed an average of 38% less for their first year of college than peers attending these comparable Maine private institutions;

Four UMS institutions deliver a tuition and fee coverage promise:  In the Fall of 2018, the University of Maine System launched a promise initiative committing to covering the cost of tuition and fees for Maine students with the greatest financial need at four of its institutions. Click on these campus links to learn more about the promise initiative offerings at UMA, UMFK, UMM, and UMPI.

Tuition rates are four times lower at UMS institutions:  The average published tuition rate at Maine’s public universities is nearly four times lower than the average published tuition rate of the four in-state private institutions enrolling the most college-bound Maine high school graduates.

It is more than four times lower than the four out-of-state institutions enrolling the most college-bound Maine high school graduates.

$11 Million in Private Scholarships:  
USM President Glenn Cummings participated in the announcement noting that University of Maine System students receive more than $11 million in private scholarships every year, increasing the number of first-year Maine students whose tuition and fees are covered by grants and scholarships by about 20%. He credited alumni, civic organizations and philanthropists for their generosity on behalf of students.

“Maine’s public university students enjoy the support of the state’s largest network of alumni and stakeholders,” said President Cummings. “Private scholarships help keep the cost of college within the reach of thousands of our students and their families. We are very grateful.”

John Ryan, President of Wright-Ryan Construction in Portland and a member of the University of Southern Maine Foundation Board attended the luncheon. A member of the University of Maine System donor community, Ryan has a special interest in USM’s Promise Scholarship which helps Maine underserved young achievers with connections to local youth organizations overcome financial, academic, social and cultural barriers, remain in school and graduate in four years with little or no debt.

“Education is the best investment money can buy,” said Ryan. “That investment goes further at Maine’s public universities. The donor community is proud to support students across the System and initiatives like USM’s Promise Scholarship that help underserved young achievers from Maine get the chance they deserve to attend and graduate college with little or no student debt.”

$10 million left on the table by Maine college students in 2018
Earlier this week the Finance Authority of Maine shared that more than 2,500 Maine students left more than $10 million in federal Pell Grants on the table in the 2018-2019 academic year because they did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Only 63% of Maine high school seniors completed the FAFSA last year, the federal application that colleges, universities and trade schools use to determine student eligibility for federal financial aid. The FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for the Maine State Grant.

On Tuesday, October 1, 2019 the FAFSA for the 2020-2021 school year will be available to families at  The Finance Authority of Maine’spaying for college website is a comprehensive resource for families thinking about how to finance the cost of college.

“The University of Maine System has become a national leader in providing innovative and affordable access to post-secondary education,” said Martha Johnston, FAME Director of Education.  “We are pleased to work with the universities and all of our partners in post-secondary education to increase awareness about the financial aid process and the many resources that are available to help Maine students and their families pay for college.”

Distributed 10/2/19