WELLS —Maine’s community colleges are offering free classes this summer to re-engage Maine’s high school students in their educational journey.

Maine high school seniors graduating this spring and attending a community college this fall can take a free summer class under the new “Momentum from the Start” program. All tuition and fees are waived and students only pay for books or materials. More information about Momentum from the Start is available from the college admission offices (https://www.mccs.me.edu/admissions-tuition-aid/admissions/how-to-apply/.)

Maine students who are still in high school this summer can also take a free summer class under the state’s early college “Aspirations” program, which allows all high school students to take free college credits each academic year. Any student who has already earned the maximum number of free college credits for the year, or is not eligible for Aspirations, can still take a class at half-price under a special Early College rate. Students interested in this program should contact their high school counselor or apply directly at our new OnCourse portal (https://oncourse.mccs.me.edu/.)

Education experts across the country have noted a dip in high school student engagement during the pandemic, and these free classes make it easy for Maine students to re-engage with the educational opportunities around them. Courses are free, available online or in-person if there is a hands-on component, and with flexible start times to accommodate work and life schedules.

“This has been a very tough year for high school students, and we know many of them couldn’t take the classes they wanted — including Early College classes — for a number of reasons. This gives them a chance to catch up, re-engage on pursuing their interests and experience college-level instruction,” said Janet Sortor, vice president and chief academic officer of the Maine Community College System.

Studies show that students who take Early College courses are more likely to go to college after high school, and earn more money as adults. We don’t want anyone to miss out on that opportunity. It’s a great deal.”

“The Momentum from the Start program is also a great way to help incoming students get acclimated and get a free head start on their studies,” Sortor said. “Some students lose their initiative to attend college over the summer — it’s known as “summer melt” — and we don’t want that to happen to a single person.”

filed under: