In response to the Nov. 21 story about the University of Maine System titled “Out-of-state enrollments jump at two universities” (Page B1):

Why was this described to the trustees of the university system as an “unexpected jump” (in staff writer Noel K. Gallagher’s paraphrasing)?

In May 2016, Inside Higher Ed described the Maine marketing effort to high school seniors as follows:

“… Maine offered merit awards for out-of-state students in amounts pegged to rates at other states’ flagships. For example, Maine, with its out-of-state tuition and fees listed at $28,880 per year for 2015-16, would offer Flagship Match awards worth $14,709 for Massachusetts seniors who had a high school grade point average of at least 3.0 and SAT scores of at least 1050. That would bring the cost of attending Maine in line with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s quoted in-state tuition and fees of $14,171. Prorated awards were also offered for students not meeting criteria for the headline award.”

Billboards were installed in key locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, touting this windfall to attend Maine: “Go To UMaine For The In-State Cost of UConn,” for example.

The so-called Flagship Match program was a great marketing effort and shouldn’t be considered a surprise at all. It is, after all, what was expected. Kids heading to college are smart consumers, too!

Pamela Smith

North Yarmouth