Maine’s Free Community College scholarship extended two more years

AUGUSTA, ME (MCCS/SMCC) –Tuition-free community college in Maine was extended to two more graduating high school classes under the budget passed by the legislature and signed today by Governor Janet Mills.

The $15 million investment will allow students graduating from high school or its equivalent in 2024 and 2025 to attend any Maine community college without paying any tuition or mandatory fees – a value of more than $3,800 a year.

“Extending this generational opportunity of tuition-free community college to Maine high school graduates for two additional years is a clear sign we are investing in Maine’s future,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “This program helps to reduce the financial burden that often comes with pursuing higher education, allowing students to focus on their studies and prepare for their future. By providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, this program will also help to strengthen the workforce in Maine and support the growth of the state’s economy. We’re privileged to play our role in helping to build a better community.”

“The scholarship means students won’t have to work multiple jobs while they study or take just one or two classes at a time because they can’t afford more,” Maine Community College System (MCCS) President David Daigler said. “They’ll have time to focus on learning a trade or becoming a nurse or a police officer or a chef, or pursuing any of the hundreds of degrees or one-year certificates we offer. And they’ll graduate as the kind of skilled workers Maine desperately needs right now and for years into the future. It’s a bold move that benefits workers, employers, and the entire state of Maine.”

Following a proposal from Governor Mills, Maine launched the Free Community College program in April 2022 with a one-time state investment of $20 million, benefiting the pandemic-era high school graduates from 2020-2023. In the first year, 6,400 students attended community college tuition-free.

Earlier this year, some students told lawmakers what a difference the program made for them. Maya Eichorn, now a top student at York County Community College, said she wasn’t even considering college.

“One year ago … I was dropping out (of high school) to take the HiSET exam,” she said. “Today, I am a full-time college student with a 4.0. Without the Maine Free College program, I would be aimlessly moving through life.”

For more information about the Free College Scholarship, visit our website at