UMaine, UMaine Machias and UMFK to help new and existing Mainers Finish Strong

The University of Maine’s flagship campus and its regional campus, the University of Maine at Machias, in partnership with the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) are stepping up to offer a new Finish Strong adult degree completion program that will launch in spring 2024. The program aims to bolster Maine’s economic future by empowering adult students to complete their college degrees, with the aid of financial support, scholarships and services tailored to a range of learners. It also will put students with Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees on a path toward earning their bachelor’s degrees.

“There are over 280,000 individuals in Maine who began their pursuit of a college degree but never completed their studies,” says Scott Marzilli, UMaine associate provost for student success and innovation. “Providing a pathway for these adults to complete their bachelor’s degrees would provide them with the specialized knowledge and skills they need to get promotions, advance their careers, and earn higher incomes.”

As added incentives, returning UMaine students enrolled in 2024 will receive an adult degree completion scholarship of up to $300. After registering for their first course, these students will qualify to receive their second course at no charge.

In addition to closing Maine’s educational attainment gap, the Finish Strong program will provide adults with access to other valuable credential programs, such as certificates. Funded by a $750,000 grant from the University of Maine System over two years, this program allows students to choose among online educational offerings from UMaine, UMaine Machias and UMFK or complete their studies in-person on any of these campuses. 

Online learning makes the process easier. It provides students with the flexibility needed to balance full-time professional and family obligations as they gain the skills needed to take their careers to the next level.

Targeting adult Mainers ages 25 and older with some college or no four-year degree, Finish Strong also focuses on supporting Maine’s immigrant communities, particularly refugees, those granted asylum and asylum seekers. There are more than 50,000 immigrants residing in the state who could benefit from the tailored enrollment and orientation services offered by this program. The responsive and culturally sensitive support system built into the Finish Strong program includes intensive English language training and academic assistance. To make the Finish Strong enrollment and education process as easy as possible, each student will be assigned a personal adviser. 

“The program aligns with our commitment to advancing education and workforce credentials in Maine. It not only supports adult learners’ aspirations but also contributes to a more diverse, inclusive, and economically resilient future for our state,” said John Volin, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of UMaine and UMaine Machias. “I hope adult learners will come back to UMaine. We can give them the education they need to make a better life for themselves and a better Maine.” 

The Finish Strong adult degree completion program aligns with the state’s educational and economic goals, supporting the state’s initiatives to increase the number of educated and credentialed Mainers. Deb Hedeen, president and provost of UMFK, said, “The Finish Strong program exemplifies our dedication to accessible and high-quality education for all. This collaborative effort will pave the way for adults to achieve their educational goals and, in turn, strengthen our communities.”

For more information about being a part of the inaugural class of Finish Strong students, visit the program’s webpage at

Contact: Eric Gordon,