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Updated: July 12, 2021

Maine community colleges to keep tuition flat, help employers expand workforce training

SMCC campus showing Campus Center building and sign Photo / Renee Cordes Southern Maine Community College, whose South Portland campus is shown here, is part of the Maine Community College System.

Maine’s seven community colleges will keep in-state tuition flat for the coming academic year, the Maine Community College System announced on Friday.

Tuition for the 2021-22 academic year remains at $96 a credit hour for Maine residents, or $288 for a standard three-credit hour course. A full-time student taking 15 credits each semester would pay annual tuition of $2,880.

Thanks to a $10 million increase in funding from the legislature this session, the Maine State Grant award has increased from $1,500 to $2,500 for full-time students and from $750 to $1,250 for half- or three-quarter-time students. 

The Finance Authority of Maine, which administers the Maine State Grant, has also extended the deadline for people to apply for the grant for the 2021-22 academic year.

“There’s never been a better time to pursue an education at one of Maine’s community colleges,” said Maine Community College System President David Daigler in a news release. “Coming off a very hard year, when a lot of students put off going to college, this is exactly the kind of financial support and incentive needed to encourage students to pursue a college education.”

In addition to keeping tuition and fees flat, the community colleges have new and expanded student support programs that include tutoring, tech support, tech equipment loans, counseling and job search assistance.

Full-time, out-of-state students who do not qualify for the regional discount would pay around $5,760 per year, at $192 per credit hour.

The move to keep tuition flat for Maine residents follows a similar move by the University of Maine System, approved in a vote by trustees in late June. 

Expanded workforce training

In a separate announcement last Thursday, the Maine Community College System said it has agreements with more than 75 Maine businesses and industry associations that provide their employees with expanded workforce training opportunities and discounted tuition at the state’s seven community colleges.

The business partners, representing almost 100,000 workers, have signed the Maine Workforce Development Compact with Maine Quality Centers, the workforce training arm of the Maine Community College System. 

Partner companies include L.L.Bean Inc., Hannaford Supermarkets and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

“We are very excited to partner with Maine companies, industry associations and chambers of commerce that are literally signing on the dotted line to help their workers and members get fast, free, tailored training — and a shot at a low-cost college degree,” Daigler said.

Under the agreements, Maine Quality centers will provide employees of participating companies with entry-level and professional development training and with scholarships and discounted tuition towards college courses offered by a Maine community college.

Participating businesses will, in turn, support employees pursuing a college degree and collaborate with Maine Quality Centers by appointing a workplace liaison for the program, coordinating trainee support and advising the centers on future workforce training needs.

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