AUGUSTA, ME — Boosted by a new Free College scholarship for recent high school graduates, fall enrollment at Maine’s community colleges is up 12 percent, according to early enrollment figures.
Preliminary fall enrollment was 12,765 students as of August 25, up from 11,359 students last year on the same date. Several thousand more early college students are expected to enroll in the next several weeks. Final fall enrollment figures are tallied on October 15.
Enrollment remains open at all seven colleges and students still have time to enroll for this fall.
Of the total fall enrollment, 42 percent – 5,399 students – qualify for the Free College scholarship.
“This increase in enrollment shows how important the promise of a great education is to Maine residents. Getting the skills needed for jobs in today’s economy is close at hand, affordable, and vitally important to landing a great job with good pay,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System.
“We deeply appreciate the state’s support in providing the funding for Free College, and we are eager to see these students, who otherwise may not have continued their education, thrive and succeed in pursuing their goals,” Daigler said.
The Free College Scholarship, announced in April, covers all tuition and mandatory fees for full-time students who graduated from high school or passed an equivalency exam in 2020-23. The Free College scholarship was funded with a one-time $20 million state allocation.
The fall semester begins Monday, August 29, at five of the seven colleges (Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, and York County Community College in Wells.) Washington County Community College in Calais start August 31, and Kennebec Valley Community College starts September 6.
The average cost of tuition and mandatory fees at Maine’s community colleges is $3,700 a year. The colleges offer a broad range of two-year degree programs, one-year certificate programs, and short-term workforce training courses that take between a few weeks and less than a year to complete.