PORTLAND, Maine — A big move for University of Maine system was announced on Wednesday. Officials released a statement that they are going to cover the full cost of tuition and fees for more than 1,200 students who graduate from Maine high schools next year.

"Many students will come to our system without accumulating debt," said Chancellor Dannel Malloy.

But it won't be automatic. Chancellor Dannel Malloy said to qualify, students have to apply for the free tuition. Then, the admissions office will review the eligibility of each student, and match them with as much financial aid as possible.

"If you look at the dollars the state puts in along with research dollars, we're talking about a four-hundred-million-dollar per year commitment," said Malloy.

Last fall, the system served more than twenty-three-thousand in-state students, both graduate and undergraduate. While going to school tuition-free would be a bonus, Chancellor Malloy said now is the time for students and their parents to apply for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). He says nearly 40% of University of Maine System students never fill out the forms, leaving $10 million on the table.

According to a press release by the system, "The research and service missions of Maine’s public research university and connected public education institutions provide students with powerful and unique experiential learning opportunities. These experiences are valued by employers and better prepare students to be Maine’s next generation of inventors, innovators, and business and community leaders. The number and types of opportunities vary by program and campus, but thousands of students across the System engage in internships, field research projects and knowledge creation experiences every year."

The system says more than $10 million in federal pell grants were not claimed by Maine students. If you or your child would like to take part in the FAFSA program, visit FAFSA.gov website.   

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