Information for Students & Parents

Why should I take an early college course?

There are wonderful advantages to taking a college course while still in high school. You may be able to explore a topic not available at your high school, advance through a level of math or language in a summer semester, experience a college environment, or earn credits that may transfer to your ultimate destination.

Students who participate in early college opportunities are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and do well once they get there.

And, the State of Maine will help make sure that this opportunity is available tuition-free to most public and homeschool students. See Aspirations & Reduced-Tuition Eligibility for more details.

All that said, this is a personal decision. You should talk about this with your family, school counselor, and perhaps a high school teacher who knows you. Ultimately, you have to have the time and the support to tackle this challenge along with all your other school and life responsibilities.

Are college credits actually useful to high school students?

College course credits may help you in two ways:

  • Your high school may count the credits towards either core or elective graduation requirements. You should speak to your school counselor before enrolling so you understand how your high school will count the credits. This may help you either take something else at high school you may not have been able to fit in your schedule or create time for extracurricular activites or college application season.
  • These credits may also transfer to the institutional you attend after high school. This may help you move through course prerequisites early or take a lighter load your first year. Importantly, only the receiving institution can say whether or not courses will transfer, but an MCCS early college navigator will help you choose courses that meet your goals.
How do I know I am ready for and qualify for an early college course?

Dual enrollment is important in our mission of equitable access and opportunity. These programs and partnerships across the state bring college experiences to Maine’s students and help them transition successfully from their high schools and CTEs to post-secondary choices.

For that reason, Maine’s community colleges have agreed to use the following measures to place high school students in dual enrollment and early college courses:

  1. Courses without specific pre- or co-requisites are open to all who can benefit.
  2. or courses with specific pre- or co-requisites (typically English, math, and science courses):
    a. The primary assessment will be college-level PSAT/SAT scores
    b. For students who either do not have PSAT/SAT scores or have not met readiness benchmarks yet and are still enrolled in high school:
    »School official/counselor/teacher recommendation of readiness and motivation AND
    • Minimum high school GPA of 2.7 and/or
    •Demonstrated mastery in relevant high school courses
  3. The Department of Education does allow qualified freshmen and sophomores to access Early College funding through the Aspirations Program. Maine’s Community Colleges will follow DOE guidelines, but priority will be given to juniors and seniors.
How much does an early college course cost?

No Cost to You:

  • You are a public school or homeschool students who qualifies for the Maine Department of Education Aspirations Program (See Aspirations & Reduced-Tuition), and
  • You are using On Course at School to take a course inside your high school or CTE.

Pay for Textbook/Materials Only:

  • You are a public school or homeschool students who qualifies for the Maine Department of Education Aspirations Program; and
  • You are using On Course for College to take a course either online or at one of our campuses.

Pay for Reduced Rate Tuition and Textbook/Materials

  • You do not qualify for the Maine Department of Education Aspirations Program or you have exceeded your 12 credit per year limit
  • All Maine high school students qualify for a special high school rate of 50% tuition; fees waived. Limit two courses per year at this rate. (See Aspirations & Reduced-Tuition Eligibility)