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Updated: March 17, 2023

UMaine Augusta grant to support formerly incarcerated students

Campus photo Courtesy /University of Maine at Augusta The University of Maine at Augusta, part of the University of Maine System, has a current enrollment of around 5,700 students.
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The University of Maine at Augusta will use a $100,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation to provide support and re-entry services for students who were formerly incarcerated.

The school, which is part of the public University of Maine System, said it plans to use the grant in part to hire a student services coordinator dedicated to re-entry students in a one-year pilot position. The school is conducting a search for a person to fill that role.

UMA will also use the grant to fund laptops and school supplies for students upon release from jail or prison to boost their continued academic and professional success.

The pilot project aims to demonstrate that support for reentry improves student retention in Maine as well as recidivism while reducing the systemic inequities that formerly incarcerated students face. Currently, around 90% of UMA students released from prison mid-degree do not continue their education beyond one semester, so the aim is to reverse the trend.

For UMA Justice Studies student and Maine Department of Corrections debate team member Victoria Scott, those risky numbers were unacceptable. She collaborated with the UMA Prison Education Partnership staff, University of Maine System Research Development staff and others to conceptualize and write the grant proposal submitted to the Davis Family Foundation last fall.

UMaine Augusta has provided educational services to Maine State Prison residents for the past 17 years through the Prison Education Partnership Program.

Pam MacRae, dean of UMA’s College of Arts and Sciences and the school’s assistant provost. praised Scott for her role in securing the Davis Family Foundation Grant in a statement emailed to Mainebiz.

“The Prison Education Partnership at UMA is a strong program because of collaborative work like this between students, faculty and staff," she said, "and our partnership with the Maine Department of Corrections, and the efforts by numerous community organizations such as the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and Maine Prisoner Re-entry Network."


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