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Maine's community colleges will forgive up to $2,000 in debt for former students who return to campus

Maine's community college system is hoping that a new debt forgiveness program will help more students return to finish their degrees.

The system announced on Wednesday that it would forgive up to $2,000 worth of student debt for former students who return to study at one of its seven campuses.

President David Daigler said that many colleges have had informal debt forgiveness agreements in the past, but the system wanted to formalize this one to encourage more students to return, especially since many were affected by unemployment and other challenges during the pandemic.

"And so increasingly, those struggles have manifested themselves in students who owe the institution money. And then because of the way the policies work, you have to pay your bill before you can register for your next class," Daigler said.

Student must have been away for at least two years to qualify, and must enroll in at least six credits. The college will forgive half of their debt — up to $1,000 — at the end of their first semester. It will pay the second half after the second semester.