In a recent address to Maine’s 128th Legislature, University of Maine System Chancellor Dr. James Page, highlighted the importance of early college education.
“Just four years ago only about 700 high school students were engaged in some form of college-level education,” Chancellor Page said. “Today that number is almost 2500 from more than 100 schools across the state. I believe that properly resourced we can and should offer every Maine high school junior and senior – wherever they may be located – access to quality college-level courses.”
Students who participate in early college opportunities are able to take college-level classes at a significantly reduced cost. The University of Maine System supports early college courses because by giving all Maine students the opportunity to do college-level work, more students will pursue higher education.
“[Students who participate in early college] will be better prepared academically and more confident in their own abilities,” said Chancellor Page. “The savings, moreover, are substantial. This last fall alone, Maine high school students completed approximately 12,000 credit hours of college courses at little or no cost. Furthermore, early college students graduate more quickly and are ready to enter the workforce earlier and with less debt.”
Chancellor Page went on to cite a real-life example. When the expansion of early college began in 2011 with a pilot cohort of 20 students from Ft. Kent High School participating in the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Pleasant Street Academy, Brittany Theriault was a high school junior.
“[Ms. Theriault] entered that program with some trepidation and many questions,” Chancellor Page said. “But thanks to some great teachers and her own hard work, Brittany graduated from high school with 27 fully transferable college credits. She entered college essentially as a sophomore and went on to receive her BS in Nursing from Fort Kent in December of 2015. From high school junior to college graduate in 4 ½ years.”
One of the points Chancellor Page went on to make was that Theriault has elected to stay in Maine and put her public education to use in service to the Saint John Valley communities. Today Theriault is a fulltime nurse in the intensive care unit at Northern Maine Medical Center.
For more information about early college opportunities or the University of Maine at Fort Kent, please call 834-7500.