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Maine Community College Offering Free Summer Course

Maine’s community colleges are offering a free college class this summer for high schoolers and incoming freshmen.

Mercedes Pour, the system’s director of college access, says because of the wide-ranging effects of the pandemic last year, many students dropped out before making it to the fall, or didn’t continue into the spring.

“And that was right, almost, in the bleakest part of the COVID shutdown, for Maine. So probably they got pulled, probably not to another college, they got pulled into life,” she says.

She hopes that by removing tuition and fees this summer, students who have faced a turbulent year will re-engage with school and be more prepared for the fall.

“We want to make sure that they’re engaged in that college experience early, supported through that summer, so they can realize some success, even before the fall semester starts,” she says.

The system is also planning to add more in-person classes this fall, which Pour hopes will make college more appealing for many students.

Under the new program, tuition and fees are waived but students are still responsible for books and materials.

Last year, community college enrollment fell by about 8% in Maine. Pour says she expects a planned return to more on-campus classes this fall will help keep more students engaged.

Universities and community colleges across the nation have seen enrollment declines during the pandemic.