I want to thank the Press Herald for recognizing the University of Maine System’s leadership in supporting students and their families to make informed college choices (“Our View: Getting into college is tough enough,” May 12).

As this paper noted, following the federal government’s rocky rollout of the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid, our institutions, with May 1 deposit deadlines, extended those to June 1, including the University of Maine and its Machias regional campus, the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Farmington. However, confirmations by then are only essential to ensure enrollment in preferred programs, courses and campus housing.

Given our commitment to access, the University of Maine at Augusta, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle have long had rolling admissions, and all of Maine’s public universities will accept students right up to the start of the semester.

As frustrating as the FAFSA process has been this year, I strongly urge prospective students to stick with it – and their pursuit of door-opening postsecondary education.

Nearly all (86%) of UMS undergraduates receive financial assistance, and before loans, their average award amount last year was a record $9,006. While aid is up, student debt is down, as is the inflation-adjusted cost of system tuition.

Meanwhile, UMaine alumni earn more than double the state’s average median income, and college graduates are also healthier, happier and live longer.

Now that’s a return on investment.

Dannel Malloy
chancellor, University of Maine System

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