Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget, which means recent Maine high school graduates now get 2 years of community college for free.

Is This For Real? What's the Catch?

Usually, we'd be warning you here that 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' But in this case, it's a fact. Maine is now offering free tuition for high school graduates, starting with the class of 2020, so they can attend a Maine community college for 2 years. Actually, you don't have to be a high school graduate. As long as you got your GED or Hi-Set during that same time period, you're also eligible. No catch attached.

Are There Any Restrictions to Who Can Get the Free Tuition?

The budget allows for $20 million in one-time General Fund dollars to anyone who completed their high school education in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 and enroll in a Maine community college full-time. According to the Maine Community College System website, the scholarship will cover all tuition costs and mandatory fees at any of their locations. Tuition at a Maine Community College averages about $3,700 a year. Plus you may also qualify for additional money (up to $5,500) for things like books, room and board, and other expenses.

There are no income restrictions to benefit from the scholarship program, so no one's going to say 'you make too much money to qualify.' However, you will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for any federal assistance. The program requires that you accept any and all state and federal financial aid monies available to you, and then the state will cover the rest.

How Do I Get Started?

It's easy. Fill out an application for a Maine Community College and you'll soon hear from an adviser at the school. They'll walk you through the process to get you enrolled and on your way to higher education for free. Maine's Community Colleges are located in Bangor, Auburn, Fairfield/Hinckley, Presque Isle, South Portland/Brunswick, Calais, and Wells.

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