Much has been made recently regarding the University of Southern Maine’s and Maine Maritime Academy’s rankings by the U.S. Department of Education among the most expensive public four-year colleges for in-state students.

In her July 2 article (“Two Maine public colleges make list of nation’s most expensive”), Jennifer Van Allen shared many statistics and perspectives, including Scott Jaschik’s notion that the Northeast better tolerates higher costs for higher education than elsewhere.

The PPH Editorial Board then followed, asserting Maine must show greater financial support toward college students and their families (“Our View: USM’s place on list of most-expensive schools shows lack of state commitment,” July 4).

However, these statements tighten the noose around the necks of Maine people rather than promoting the needed paradigm shift in college costs and state responsibility.

Current high school students and their parents ought to support proficiency-based diplomas and consider less expensive, more realistic college options before rushing into educational relationships they truly can’t afford and/or sustain. Consider the dual enrollment efforts made at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and through the state’s Bridge Year Program.

Few would debate the merits of an educated society or a community’s investment in its people. Must we sell out children and ourselves into financial slavery to make such futures accessible? No, we should consider the words of Saint Paul College President Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd: “Community colleges are a sound investment. … And living within our means is a good thing.”

Perhaps we could take a ride over the “Million Dollar Bridge” to South Portland, look out beyond Willard Beach to the deep blue waters of Casco Bay and pay $88 a credit hour at Southern Maine Community College for a year or two before we know exactly what we want to do and how much we wish to pay for it.

Darren L. Redman

adjunct faculty member, Southern Maine Community College

Long Island