Frequently Asked Questions

Four happy students under a tree looking at books

1. What are the benefits of Early College?

High school students who enroll in early college courses are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and earn a college degree. As a result, students are more prepared and successful in their chosen career. 

For example:

  • Dual enrollment and Aspiration courses are tuition free for students (up to 12 credits per academic year). Students are responsible for fees and books in some EC programs.
  • Students can save up to $14,000 in tuition, fees, and other expenses (estimate is based on transferring up to 30 credits to UMaine).
  • Students can show college admissions officers that they are ready for more difficult coursework.
  • Students build a college transcript while still in high school. The college credits earned are transferable. While we hope students will attend one of Maine’s Public Universities or Community Colleges, these credits may be transferred to other colleges. Students will need to check with their institution about transferring credits when they enroll.
  • Early College programs can provide rigorous courses to enhance the high school curriculum.
  • Universities may offer a variety of courses not available at the high school. Some programs offer pathways to a career which can help students navigate through college to future employment, or explore interests before choosing a major.
  • Students who participate in Early College have better study skills, more academic confidence, and less anxiety about the transition to college.
  • Early College students who graduate from high school and enroll in a Maine Public University are more likely to enroll in college (persist) for a second year. For example, 91% of Academ-e students, 86% of Aspirations students, and 81% of Dual Enrollment students persist to their second year of college, versus 74% of students with no Early College courses.
  • Students who participate in Early College are less likely to need remedial courses in college. Remedial, or developmental courses, are courses for students who graduate from high school but are not yet ready for college. Students pay tuition, but do not receive college credit for these courses.
  • Students who enter college with Early College credits are more likely to earn a degree on time than students with no Early College credits.

The UMaine Early College Program is committed to providing:

  • Quality teaching and learning, college-level rigor and academic integrity
  • Access and support to under-resourced communities and first-generation students 
  • Multiple layers of support to ensure student success, including a comprehensive orientation experience and academic advising
  • Open access to world-class faculty through Maine’s flagship university
2. Who is Eligible?

A Student must:

  • Be a full-time high school student
  • Have recommendation from the high school guidance counselor
  • Have the consent of their parent or guardian
  • Have a B or better academic average or permission from the high school guidance counselor
  • Be a resident of the state of Maine
  • Meet academic course prerequisites, if any
  • Be attending a state-eligible secondary school or state-approved homeschool

Note: The Department of Education suggests students must maintain a minimum secondary school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent of a “B” average unless the University grants a waiver. Juniors and seniors with a GPA below 3.0 or “B” average may be granted a waiver with the support of the guidance counselor and Early College Coordinator. The Department of Education does allow qualified freshmen and sophomores to access Early College funding through the Aspirations Program. Maine’s Public Universities will follow DOE guidelines, but priority will be given to juniors and seniors.

3. Who pays the tuition?

The University of Maine will discount tuition by approximately 50% for six (6) credits per semester, and twelve (12) credit hours per academic year and will absorb some University-wide fees.  The Maine Legislature’s Aspirations Program, through the Maine Department of Education, covers the remaining tuition up to six (6) credits per semester and up to twelve (12) credit hours per year for students enrolled in the Early College program (Academ-e and Aspirations, combined). However, a student enrolling in more than six (6) credits per semester and twelve (12) credits per year must pay the cost of each additional credit.  For example, if you take five (5) courses that total (13) credit hours, you will be responsible for paying for (1) credit hour.

4. Will I be billed for anything?

You will receive a bill when you take more than the allowed number of credit hours in an academic year. The bill is mailed to the address noted on your application.  If you have questions about a bill please contact us first, we may be able to remedy the issue for you.

5. What happens if I am struggling in a course?

Our goal, as a team, is to help YOU be successful in your college course.
If you have trouble accessing or getting your book: Contact us
If you are struggling with the material: Check out our tutoring options and/or contact us.
If you are having difficulty figuring out how to balance your home, school, work and/or college responsibilities: Contact us!  We have support staff committed to helping you navigate these types of scenarios.
In short, if something comes up, we typically have a solution to help you but we can’t do this unless you contact us. This is so important. We are only a phone call, email, or text message away.

6. Is the grade I receive permanently on my record?

Yes, it is.  Because of this, it is imperative that you contact us by email if you need help. If you need to drop or withdraw from your course, please access your account on ExplorEC.

You will need to pay close attention to the drop date deadline of your course to be sure you are dropping before the last date that a W will appear on your transcript. You can find this date when you click on the calendar icon next to your course under “This Week’s Schedule” on your MaineStreet Student Center.

7. I am home schooled.  I don’t have a guidance counselor.  Can I still sign up?

Absolutely! Your parent/guardian is your guidance counselor in this case. You only need to submit the Student/Parent Application, and your parent will need to upload certain documents for the Department of Education’s purposes.

8. What is a Placement Exam and why do I have to take it?

If you choose any of the math or language courses, you are required to either take the UMaine Placement Exam or have completed the required previous course pre-requisite.  The exam indicates your readiness for the college-level course you chose. If the results reveal that another course would be more appropriate for you, we will contact you.

More Information on Placement Exams

9. How can I get a transcript of classes I have taken to give to my high school counselor?

This is very easy. Any student may obtain an unofficial transcript directly from MaineStreet.  Transcript Directions

Still have questions?

Contact Early College Programs at 207.581.8024 or email Office hours are Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.