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New Effort Aims To Reverse Declining Applications To Maine Colleges

Maine education officials are launching a new effort to try to reverse declines in college applications to Maine’s public universities.

School administrators and counselors say that the college application process has been a lot harder for many students this fall, as the pandemic has led schools to cancel college tours and made it more difficult to help students.

On Wednesday, Chancellor Dannel Malloy announced the system will be hosting weekly virtual events over the spring to guide students through the college application and financial aid process.

“What steps they need to take as soon as possible, to be eligible for as much aid as possible. And, quite frankly, tell people much more rapidly, what we can do for them,” he said.

The new initiative will offer students one-on-one support to help them select a college and determine if they can afford it.

“Whether it’s getting the financial aid — the FAFSA — completed. That’s on the front end, for students who are just starting out. But for students who are trying to decide which college to choose, if it’s right for me, if I can afford it, we’ll have financial aid counselors on the phone who can look at the numbers and give them a sense of what they’ll qualify for, and how we can support their college needs,” says University of Maine System spokesperson Dan Demeritt.

The UMaine System says first-year applications from Maine students are down by 13% compared to last fall.