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The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

Canadian students are helping offset an in-state enrollment drop at UMaine's Presque Isle campus

An increase in students from Canada and outside of Maine is helping to boost enrollment this fall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Loosened restrictions have made it easier for people to travel across the border. And UMPI President Ray Rice said beginning last year, the school launched a program offering in-state tuition rates to Canadian students. He said that's helped to bring more than 60 Canadian applicants to the school this fall — more than triple the number from 2018.

"I think that's drawing them back into the programs, as we're seeing more of an alignment of the tuition rates between the provinces and Maine once again," Rice said.

Many of those students, Rice said, are enrolled in the university's social work program, as well as its post-baccalaureate teacher education program.

"Just like we're seeing those same kinds of needs in the state of Maine and across New England, of course, but particularly those programs — education and social work — really seem to be drawing Canadian students," Rice said.

A declining number of students from within Maine is affecting campuses across the UMaine system.

Rice said the school has also seen increases in out-of-state enrollment, with particular growth in its self-paced, competency-based online programming.