The Star-Herald

University of Maine System awards nearly $1.8 million to help adults get a college degree

AUGUSTA, Maine —  The University of Maine System’s Adult Degree Completion Scholarship still has funds available for Maine adults who want to resume their work toward a college degree this Fall.  Scholarship aid combined with expanded credit transfer among Maine’s universities and community colleges as well as prior learning credit for work experience and military service could make the path to a college degree surprisingly fast and affordable.  

Approximately 200,000 stranded adult Maine learners  have invested time and money into a college education without earning a credential or college degree. The University of Maine System Adult Degree Completion Scholarship provides up to $4,000 annually to help adults with demonstrated financial need resume their course work and earn a career-advancing college degree at any of Maine’s public universities.  

Applications will be accepted and considered through the start of the fall 2018 semester.   

Interested adults are encouraged to visit for www.maine.edu/adult for application materials and additional information or call 207-621-3428 to get connected to student support specialists who are trained in helping adult learners find a path to a degree, including online courses that can be accessed from anywhere, that accommodates the professional and family obligations of busy working adults.  

Any Maine resident who has earned at least 30 college credits toward a first baccalaureate degree and been away from class for at least three years could be eligible for financial support to resume coursework through any of Maine’s public universities.  The Adult Degree Completion Scholarship, which does not need to be paid back, is awarded based on financial need and course load. Up to $4,000 in aid is available annually.

“I know it’s scary, but take it in small steps,” advises Amy Smith, a UMaine college navigator who returned to college herself at the age of 36.  “Make the call, send the email, or stop in — one action has the potential to change your life, as it did mine.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

The nation’s oldest state, Maine industries and communities face critical workforce challenges that must be overcome as a wave of Maine workers approach retirement.  Maine’s public universities are a leading partner in the effort to prepare the 158,000 credentialed workers that will be needed to sustain the workforce and the state’s economy through the end of the next decade.   Learn more by visiting MaineSpark.me.     

Since its launch in the Fall of 2014 the University of Maine System Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Program has awarded nearly $1.8 million in scholarship aid, helping more than 450 adult learners get back on track toward a degree.  In the last academic year alone the scholarship helped fund 366 semesters of college completion work with an average award of $1,386 per semester. To date 117 Maine adults have achieved their goal of earning a college degree with the help of Maine’s Adult Degree Completion Scholarship.  

Online programming and access points provided by UMA’s centers and sites eliminate proximity-to-campus as a barrier to earning a degree.  Last year’s 190 individual recipients resided in 120 different Maine communities.   

“Far too many Mainers have invested time and money into an education but had to stop short of their goal of graduating with a college degree. Fortunately, it is never too late to finish that degree,” said James H. Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Adult learners account for one-third of our students at Maine’s public universities where we make it a priority to provide lifelong, affordable access to public higher education as part of our work to build a stronger Maine workforce.”

ADULT LEARNER FAST FACTS

  • 30% of all University of Maine System students are 25 and older (adult learners);
  • 66% of System adult learners are women;
  • At a GPA of 3.12, part-time adult learners get the highest grades in the System;
  • 13% of adult learners are enrolled in nursing, the largest enrollment segment; and,
  • 6.5 years is the average time to completion of a bachelor’s degree for an adult learner

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