PORTLAND (AP) — A new agreement between the University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College is making it easier for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism.

The two schools signed an agreement Monday that allows students who earn an associate’s degree in hospitality management at SMCC to transfer the credits seamlessly toward USM’s new tourism and hospitality program.

The agreement goes into effect this fall and marks another step toward aligning programs between schools in Maine’s university system and those in the community college system.

Tourism is Maine’s largest industry.

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