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How 283 students are attending Maine universities for free this fall

To Claire Hemphill, it’s as important to graduate from college debt-free as it is to be the first member of her immediate family to attend college.

The 18-year-old from Fort Fairfield started at the University of Maine Presque Isle this fall and is attending for free with the help of a new University of Maine System initiative aimed at lower-income students at four of Maine’s seven public universities.

“If I continue with this program, I’ll be able to graduate college debt-free,” she said. “To be able to avoid debt is a huge opportunity.”

Hemphill is one of 283 first-year University of Maine System students attending college this fall for free with the help of what the university system is calling its promise initiative. The initiative covers the portion of students’ tuition and fees on four of the university system’s seven campuses that aren’t covered by other grants or scholarships they receive. In order to be eligible, students must have qualified for a federal Pell grant.

In addition to Presque Isle, the participating University of Maine System campuses are the University of Maine at Augusta, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Machias.

To read the rest of “How 283 students are attending Maine universities for free this fall,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Eesha Pendharkar, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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