Early College for Maine High School Students


Why UMM?

The Maine Department of Education and the University of Maine at Machias seek to provide greater access to early college opportunities for qualified high school students.  Courses are taught by UMM faculty in a traditional classroom setting at the Machias campus or online anywhere in the state.
Tuition is free for qualifying students for 12 credits per year (see eligibility below). The Maine Department of Education, through the Aspirations program, pays for half the tuition, and UMM grants a scholarship for the other half.  Students and their parents/guardians (or high schools in some cases) are responsible for any course fees and books.  Beginning in Fall 2020, UMM will not be charging general fees (i.e. unified fees, online fees, distance fees, etc)  Course-specific fees may be charged for on-campus science, art, music, and/or scuba courses.  Textbooks can be purchased online through our campus bookstore.  Students have the choice of buying or renting textbooks or e-books.
Students can take any courses offered by the UMM as long as they meet the prerequisite requirements. Course lists are available online or emailed upon request.
Students that complete an early college course will have grades placed on an official UMM transcript.

IMPORTANT:  For Aspirations billing purposes the academic year runs from July 1st to June 30th.  Students who choose to take more than 12 credits or students who go over their 12 credits will be charged the early college tuition rate of $138.25 per credit.  It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of the number of credits they are taking per year.  This total includes any courses taken from any UMaine System schools as well as the Community College System regardless of whether they are online, on campus, or at a student’s high school.


  • Free tuition (up to 12 credits per year for qualifying students)
  • All general fees will be waived.
  • Only pay for textbooks and course-specific fees.
  • Scholarships for textbooks and course-specific fees If you receive free/reduced lunch OR are facing an economic hardship.  This form must be filled out by a school professional.



Complete an early college course with a grade of a C or above and you will get a scholarship if you matriculate at UMM directly after your high school graduation.  2020 awards were $1,000 per student.  Apply by filling out this application.

If you earn an Early College Certificate and enroll at UMM for the fall semester following your high school graduation then you can:

  • Apply for exclusive scholarships. (Awards may vary based on funding and need; Early College Certificate earners in 2020 were awarded $2500 each.)
  • Apply for a FREE room for your first year at UMM (a $4600 value)
  • Be recognized at Honors Convocation
  • Participate in UMM Commencement
  • Receive a special cord to be worn at your high school graduation.


Access to resources!

All Early College students will receive Clipper ID cards upon request and will have full access to the following for FREE:

  • Access to a special fast-track Early College Scholar admissions application.
  • Murdock Fitness and Aquatics Center– exercise room, pool, and gym
  • Career Services
  • Merrill Library 
  • Academic advising
  • 10% discount at participating local businesses 
  • Transportation assistance for Washington County students who need help getting to campus


Maine public high school students (also referred to as secondary students) must meet certain qualifying requirements to be eligible to participate in the Aspirations Program. High School (Secondary), public school students and qualifying home-schooled students may be considered eligible to participate if they meet the following:

  • Minimum high school grade point average of at least a 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0), or the equivalent of a “B” average or, in lieu of a 3.0, they are recommended for participation by a school unit’s administration (see exception statement below)
  • The eligible institution has determined that the student has satisfactorily completed any course prerequisites;
  • The school unit approves;
  • The student’s parent or caregiver approves; and
  • The eligible institution has space available for the secondary student

Exception – Student Eligibility

A secondary public school or home-schooled student who does not meet the grade point eligibility requirements, or is a first or second-year student (freshman or sophomore), is eligible to participate if:

  • The student has received a recommendation to participate from the student’s school administration or teacher following an assessment of the student by the school administration; and
  • The student has been approved for participation by an eligible institution.

The Aspirations Program is funded by the Maine Legislature and authorized under Title 20-A, Chapter 208-A. The program is administered by the Maine Department of Education.

IMPORTANT:  International students and private school students who pay tuition to attend a private school or 60/40 high school are not covered by the Aspirations program.  However, they can take courses at a special early college reduced tuition rate.  

To learn more about the UMaine System access policy for Early College download our Student Access PDF.