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Colleges around The County have programs that give students a chance to earn some college credits while in high school

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:20 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -There were 47.9 million student borrowers with an average student loan debt of more than $35 thousand dollars each in 2020. That’s according to education.org. However, colleges around The County have programs that give students a chance to earn some college credits while in high school. In the first of her two part series, Megan Cole looks at what those programs are.

College is a big expense that many can’t afford out of pocket, so they take out student loans, which can become expensive. That’s why colleges around the county are offering early college credit education for high school students.

“We offer what is called concurrent enrollment where high school students can get college credit while they’re seated taking classes at their local high school. These courses have been deemed equivalent. The instructors have been approved as UMPI concurrent enrollment faculty and they can get credit in both high school and college. The other program that we offer titled aspirations is where high school students would actually come on campus and sit in the college class or they would take college classes online with other college students,” said Terri St.Pierre, Director of early college for the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

“Rural U Workforce is a bit of a subset of the overall Rural U program. What Rural U Workforce does is it provides high school students throughout Maine in public schools the opportunity to explore a number of different pathways that are directly related to our majors here on campus. So in the past Rural U has and it is still is the basic Rural U early college program encouraged students to take general education classes they could take anywhere. This really is an opportunity for students to choose some specific pathways,” said Scott Voisine, Dean of Community Education for the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

“So students in The County can access college courses at NMCC basically in two ways either at their local career and technical education center or by enrolling in classes directly with us at NMCC. And then these credits can usually can be transferred to any college that the student might attend after they graduate,” said Sarah Stackhouse, on course for college coordinator for Northern Maine Community College.

Terri St. Pierre, director of early college for the university of Maine at Presque Isle, says there is a certain number of credits students can take for free.

“Right now the state of Maine is offering 12 free 12 credit hours free for the academic year so they can take 12 credits for free between the university of maine system and the maine community college system. After that their still eligible for courses at a reduced rate of $138.25 per course. Which is about half of the tuition rate a typical student would pay.”

All say this is a great way for students to not only save money, but also gives them an idea of what college is like.

“It has more positive impacts with people that take early college and are successful in early college are more likely to persist to a degree, their more likely have higher GPAs in college and their more likely to enroll in college at the get go.”

“The opportunity for high school kids to jump into the challenge of college level learning but also to start understanding what college level learning is all about. They’re gonna understand how professors teach maybe different from high school teachers, their gonna understand some of the terminology of college and they’ll understand some of the self direction and focus you need as a college student to be successful.”

“I think students are also getting a head start by just experiencing college early there may be students who really aren’t sure what it’s going to be like, aren’t sure it’s for them and if they’re able to try a class early, get some confidence, get some success, some credits on a transcript, I think that just serves them really well.”

Tomorrow we will hear from students who have benefitted from taking early college courses.

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