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Community colleges in Maine see a rise in fall enrollment

One community college saw an increase as high as 26 percent.

MAINE, USA — Community colleges across Maine have experienced an increase in enrollment. A combination of seven of Maine’s community colleges averaged an early fall enrollment increase of 18 percent. Eastern Maine Community College saw a 20 percent growth increasing its head count from 1,666 students to 2,003 students.

“In recent years, particularly this year, what we are seeing is that we have a younger demographic pursuing higher education,” Liz Russell, Eastern Maine Community College President, said. 

This increase in enrollees, specifically a younger demographic of enrollees, is influenced by Governor Mills' approval of subsidized community college.

There is a connection between Maine’s community colleges and the state’s larger four-year institutions.

“The free college program wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have strong partnerships with the University of Maine system,” Russell said.

University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy continues to welcome students coming from the state’s community colleges.

“And we have a number of articulation and partnership agreements with the state’s community colleges in several different majors,” Ferrini-Mundy said.

Eastern Maine Community College has seen a spike in students from rural areas such as East Millinocket and Pittsfield.

Expanding access to community colleges isn’t just a pathway to a four-year university. East Maine Community College also has a focus on the strengthening of Maine’s skilled workforce.

“Our workforce development programs which are shorter term programs and they are doing that because they want to get out into the workforce as quickly as possible,” Russell said.

The subsidized community college program was extended until 2025.

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