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UMaine student begins freshman year with 81 credits already completed

Through AP courses and the UMaine Early College program, one student has jump-started his college career.

ORONO, Maine — College can be expensive, but there are many ways students can save or cut down on costs. One student at the University of Maine has found a way to get ahead of the game. 

Brady Barker just started his freshman year at UMaine this fall. Although it should be a time for acclimating to college life and college courses, Barker's circumstances are different. He's been taking college-level courses since his freshman year of high school, amassing a total of 81 credits, more than half of the amount he needs to graduate. 

Students need a total of 120 credits to earn an undergraduate degree at the university, with some programs needing more. 

"It kind of just fell on me. I just kept taking classes that would challenge me," Barker said. 

He has taken both AP and UMaine courses, thanks to offerings at his high school and the UMaine Early College program. Students can earn credits both in-person and online. 

When enrolled in the program, tuition is discounted by 50%, with the university covering both the remaining tuition and 12 credits per year. 

Early College Director Kari Suderley said classes are often tailored to students' interests and desired career paths and can be a great way to test out higher-level learning. 

"It gives students a sense of self-confidence that maybe they didn't have before. They're able to see what the rigor is like of a college course while they're still in high school," she explained. 

On top of being able to graduate early, Barker also saved more than $30,000 in the process. According to its website, UMaine's tuition this year is more than $27,000 for an in-state student like Barker. 

"I think it’s a great route to explore," Barker said. "I'll finish a lot sooner, and it'll give me a lot of options when I graduate if I want to go into grad school or if I want to go into a profession straight out of college."


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