Enrollment in Early College has been steadily increasing over the past five years, but has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.This unexpected demand has nearly exhausted the $4 million (shared by The University of Maine System and Maine Community College System) the Maine Department of Education was appropriated to support the program for the period between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. The Maine Department of Education reimburses the University of Maine System (UMS) for approximately one-half of the credit hour tuition cost and UMS waives the remaining tuition and fees. Governor Janet Mills unveiled an FY21 supplemental budget proposal that includes an additional $2.5 million for early college spring courses. This proposal does still need approval by the Legislature. These are one-time funds that will only support spring.
- Due to limited funding, for the summer ‘21, the Department of Education will not pay for any summer classes through the Aspirations program.
- The University of Maine System and Maine Community College System (MCCS) will cover the cost of one free class (up to four credits/class) per Aspirations qualified student for summer ‘21. Students may take one free class (total), regardless of which system they are enrolled in.
- This one class will count towards the 12 credit limit per state statute and is based on course enrollment date.
- Courses that start before July 1 count towards the 2021 school year.
- Courses that start after July 1 count towards the 2022 school year.
- Regular Aspirations policies and processing still apply, even though The University of Maine System and Maine Community College System are paying for the course. Examples:
- If a student exceeds the 12 credit limit for fiscal year 2021, and enrolls in a course that starts before July 1, they will pay for their summer course at the early college tuition rate. That student would be eligible for a free summer course with a start date after July 1.
- If a student takes a four credit course with a start date after July 1, they will only have eight credits remaining through the Aspirations program for fiscal year 2022.
- Regardless of course start date, where the course is taken (MCCS or UMS), or which year the course falls within, students may not take more than one summer class for free. Students may pay for additional courses.
- Students who take more than one summer course, or who are not eligible for the Aspirations program will be billed at the early college tuition rate. MCCS and UMS do not charge any additional fees (other than course specific fees), but students are responsible for the cost of their textbooks.
- If a student pays for a course then it does not count toward their 12 credits of free Aspirations courses for 2022.
- Class of 2021 (graduating seniors) will be eligible for one free course if the course start date is before June 14th, and if they have not already reached their 12 credit limit for the school year. We are not using the individual high school graduation date this year to determine the cutoff, but instead using the June 14th date.
If you have questions about the new Early College Summer 2021 Enrollment Guidelines please contact the Early College Administrator at your campus.