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Free College is here!

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Wondering if you can afford college? You can!

Starting immediately, recent high school graduates get free tuition at Maine’s community colleges. Best. Deal. Ever.

What is the Free College Scholarship?

The Free College Scholarship gives recent high school graduates a leg up on their next adventure as they enter the workforce in the wake of a global pandemic. High school graduates from the Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 all qualify for a Free College Scholarship that pays 100% of tuition and mandatory fees at any one of our seven colleges across the state.

Who is eligible for a Free College Scholarship?

If you graduated high school (or earned the equivalent of a high school diploma, like a GED or Hi-SET) in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023 – you’re eligible. It’s that simple. There are no income or age limits. All you have to do is enroll full time in a degree or certificate program and accept any state or federal aid you qualify for. That’s it – you’re in!

What does the Free College Scholarship cover?

This scholarship pays for up to two years of tuition and mandatory fees, after federal and state grant aid has been applied. Those students who qualify for maximum grant aid may use any additional grant funds to cover the cost of books, supplies, and other related educational expenses.

Sounds good to me! How do I sign up?

Apply to one of  Maine’s seven community colleges – or just fill out the form at the top of the page. We’ll assign you an advisor who will work with you to fill out an application, complete your financial aid application (aka the FAFSA), and pick out a program. We can do it over the phone, on Zoom, or in person. Whatever you need, we’ll help you get there.

Map of Maine
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Where can I study?

York County Community College:

  • Wells, 84-acre wooded campus
  • 632 students
  • 30+ programs of study
  • 7 different semester start times
  • Campus has culinary arts lab, corporate training room
  • Student government and clubs
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Unique programs include gerontology and veterinary technology

Southern Maine Community College:

  • South Portland, spectacular 80-acre campus overlooking Casco Bay, with two beaches, a lighthouse, and a pier
  • 6,384 students
  • 45+ programs of study
  • Campus housing available
  • Athletic teams, student clubs, and activities
  • Workforce training
  • Unique programs include biotechnology, marine science, and communications & new media

SMCC – Brunswick:

  • The Midcoast Campus of SMCC is located in Brunswick and opened in 2011
  • Facilities include classrooms, laboratories, a  coed residence hall, and a state-of-the-art technology and engineering center
  • Services include academic support, study space, registration and financial aid

Central Maine Community College:

  • Auburn, 132-acre campus on the shores of Lake Auburn
  • 3,068 students
  • Apartment-style residential housing
  • Off-campus center in Damariscotta
  • 40+ programs
  • Student activities and clubs
  • Athletic teams and Esports
  • Unique programs include forensic science and justice studies

CMCC – South Paris:

  • Located in the Western Maine University & Community College Center, next door to Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School
  • Services  include admissions, academic advising, transfer and placement, tutoring, test proctoring, quiet study space, laptop and internet use

CMCC – Damariscotta:

  • CMCC offers its entire nursing program at the LincolnHealth Education Center
  • Located at 66 Chapman St in Damariscotta
  • To enroll contact CMCC at 755-5273; enroll@cmcc.edu

Kennebec Valley Community College:

  • 70-acre campus in Fairfield
  • Second campus in Hinckley, a 600-acre campus with farm and chapel
  • Satellite locations in Augusta and Rockland
  • 2,473 students
  • 35+ programs of study
  • New welding center opened in fall 2020
  • Unique programs include electrical lineworker technology and sustainable construction

KVCC – Hinckley:

  • The Harold Alfond campus of KVCC is located in Hinckley
  • The campus has an academic building, recreation center, chapel and a 120-acre farm

Eastern Maine Community College:

  • Bangor, 72-acre campus conveniently located
  • 2,396 students
  • 40+ programs of study
  • Campus housing available
  • Student clubs and activities
  • Off-campus centers in East Millinocket and Dover-Foxcroft
  • Unique programs include diesel, truck & heavy equipment and digital graphic design

EMCC – Dover-Foxcroft:

  • Located in the Penquis Higher Education Center
  • On-site and online courses offered, along with customized workforce training programs
  • Services include admissions and financial aid counseling, academic and career counseling and full-service library access

EMCC – East Millinocket:

  • Located at the Katahdin Higher Education Center
  • Classes are available, along with admissions and financial aid counseling, course registration and academic advising and tutoring
  • Onsite childcare is available

Washington County Community College:

  • Calais, 400-acre campus overlooking the St. Croix River, next to Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
  • 380 students
  • 25+ programs of study
  • Campus housing available
  • Students get free equipment rentals at WCCC’s Outdoor Adventure Center, including camping, fishing, boating, back country and winter equipment
  • Outdoor Adventure Center has a ropes course, rock-climbing wall, disc golf course and more
  • Small class sizes
  • Unique programs include conservation law enforcement and outdoor adventure recreation & tourism

Northern Maine Community College:

  • Presque Isle, 87-acre campus on the grounds of the former Presque Isle Air Force Base
  • 1,153 students
  • 30+ programs of study
  • Campus housing available
  • Student clubs and activities, including Esports
  • Newly renovated Reed Dining Commons
  • Off-campus center in Houlton
  • Unique programs include water treatment technology and wind power technology

NMCC – Houlton:

  • Located at Houlton Higher Education Center
  • Hosts NMCC classes in business, allied health, and liberal studies

FAQs

How do I apply?

All you have to do is apply to one of Maine’s seven community colleges (you can fill out the form above to get started) and the college will reach out to award the scholarship. There’s no specific scholarship application you need to fill out. Just go ahead and apply to get started!

What can I study?

You can choose from any of our degree or certificate programs – there are literally hundreds of options.

What if I can’t go full time? Are there other options?

Absolutely! While the Free College Scholarship is for full-time students, part-time students still qualify for grant aid, which for many covers most or all of their tuition and fees. Maine’s community colleges also offer a number of tuition waiver or free college options, like free short-term workforce training. Just fill out the form above and we’ll get in touch to help you navigate your options.

I still don’t think I can afford college, what are my options?

No worries! You have plenty of options to help cover any additional costs or things getting in the way of your education. Just fill out the form above and an advisor will reach out to help you understand all the options!

What is the FAFSA and how do I complete it?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s the online form used by all schools to determine eligibility for federal and state financial aid. It might seem complicated, but most people can complete the FAFSA in less than 30 minutes!  To start the FAFSA, go to FAFSA.gov. If you need help, go to FAMEmaine.com/fafsa where you’ll find online resources and a link to free FAFSA Help sessions.

Are those who are not U.S. citizens eligible?

Yes! Noncitizens qualify for the scholarship.

Are GED/Hi-SET recipients eligible?

Yes! If you completed a GED or earned a Hi-SET diploma in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023, you are eligible for the scholarship.

How long does the Free College Scholarship last?

For as long as your program lasts – up to two years. You just need to stay on track for an on-time graduation.

I’m already a community college student. Do I qualify?

Yes! If you graduated from high school in 2020 or 2021 you qualify for free college, even if you’re already enrolled. You do not need to apply for the scholarship. The financial aid office at your college will work with you to award the scholarship.

Can I get a refund for previous semesters?

Unfortunately no – sorry! This scholarship is new and does not cover any retroactive costs.

Does the Free College Scholarship cover developmental classes?

Yes, it does.

How is the Free College Scholarship funded?

Maine Governor Janet Mills included the one-time $20 million allocation for free college in her 2022 supplemental budget.

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