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March 8, 2020

USM offers free college credit to Gorham High students

Aerial view of University of Southern Maine in Portland File photo courtesy / University of Southern Maine The University of Southern Maine, whose main campus is in Portland, is planning to launch an undergraduate degree program in certified financial planning.

Gorham High School students will be able to earn free college credit at University of Southern Maine under a partnership unveiled by the two institutions last week.

In courses coordinated by their teachers and USM professors, Gorham High school juniors and seniors will have the chance to earn college credit in nursing and health sciences, law and liberal arts, and engineering.

Those who complete one of the three pathways will save more than $10,000 in tuition and fees and a full year of college, allowing them to enter the workforce in needed professions sooner  and with less debt on their shoulders.

“The USM-Gorham High School early college pathways agreement delivers on exactly what students and families tell us they are seeking: high quality programs that lead to promising  career pathways, and that are an affordable alternative to the soaring cost of the larger higher education landscape,” said Jared Cash, USM’s vice president for enrollment management and marketing. “This program delivers on all three of those factors in a big way.”

Getting a chance to do college-level work and succeed is already drawing Gorham students to existing programs. That includes senior Abby O’Brien, who signed up for a Gorham High statistics class knowing that she would earn credit for the concurrent enrollment class throughout the University of Maine System.

“It definitely makes me feel more prepared for college,” said O’Brien, who may attend USM in the fall. “I am earning real credits.” 

Gorham High School Principal Brian Jandreau highlighted greater confidence among students as an intangible benefit of earning college credit, along with the free cost, adding: “It may keep kids in Maine.”

The partnership was announced at a an event last week for Gorham High’s incoming ninth graders and their parents.

“USM and the Gorham Schools have always been strong partners, but this new agreement brings a whole new level of cooperation between USM and the Gorham School Department,” said Superintendent Heather Perry.  

“This agreement means we can show our students early on in their educational careers that they can succeed in college," she added. "It also saves money for families and may even possibly help to reduce debt incurred by our families as their children pursue higher education.”




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