AUGUSTA – The University of Maine at Augusta will play a key role Saturday in a nationwide discussion about the U.S. debt.

The 5,000-student college is one of 18 sites across the country that will host a national town meeting about the $13 trillion in debt the United States owes.

The 18 sites will be connected by satellite and Internet. UMA’s end of the town meeting will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Richard Randall Student Center.

Other discussion sites include Portsmouth, N.H.; Philadelphia; Richmond, Va.; Dallas; Des Moines, Iowa; Albuquerque, N.M.; Detroit; and Portland, Ore.

The discussion is sponsored by AmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C.

“The United States is on an unsustainable path and the fiscal challenges facing our nation stand out as issues that will require compromise from the left and right in order to address the scale of the problems we face,” Carolyn Lukensmeyer, AmericaSpeaks’ founder and president, said in a statement.

UMA is collaborating with the Maine Center for Economic Policy, the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, and the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine to invite participants to the event.

Participants can register online at www.USABudgetDiscussion.org.

More information about the nationwide discussion is also available at that website.