Maine’s plan to provide two years of free community college is going into effect.

The Maine Legislature approved a plan backed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills to provide free community college to students who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program applies to high school graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The community college system said in a statement that the program also applies to students who recently earned the equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a High School Equivalency Test. It pays for up to two years of tuition and fees at Maine’s seven community colleges after federal and state grant aid has been applied.

The system said students who qualify for maximum grant aid are allowed to use additional grant money to pay for expenses such as books and supplies.

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