Partnership means more options for college credit

     AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Education and the University of Maine at Fort Kent have announced a first-of-a-kind partnership to expand the number of options Maine students have to earn college credit while still in high school. This partnership was celebrated Sept. 23, 2015 at the State House.

     Starting this fall, high school students enrolled in 17 advanced placement (AP) courses throughout the state via the Maine DOE’s online AP4ALL program will have the option to be dually enrolled in those courses via UMFK’s Rural U program.  

     Dual enrollment is defined as the opportunity to earn college credit for a high school course, with an approved course syllabus meeting college course standards and a teacher approved as a college adjunct instructor. By adding the dual enrollment option to eligible AP4ALL courses, high school juniors and seniors can choose to earn credit by passing the final AP exam and receiving a grade for the course from UMFK, becoming part of an official college transcript. 

     “We need to start looking ahead; I don’t want to lose the kids,” said Governor Paul R. LePage as he hosted the two educational entities.  The Governor was joined by retired UMFK President Wilson Hess, who said, “There are two extraordinary components to this agreement. One is breaking barriers to costs and loan debt and the other is this partnership is designed for the most remote and rural and any size population.”

     UMFK’s Rural U program serves nearly 500 students in 78 Maine high schools, and Maine DOE’s AP4ALL program serves approximately 400 students. By joining UMFK’s Rural U, this partnership creates additional opportunities for students who are geographically dispersed across the state.  

     Early college, AP and dual enrollment have been proven to improve college aspirations, to provide a more affordable pathway to a college degree, and to improve students’ success once in college. Scott Voisine, UMFK’s Dean of Community Education and administrator of Rural U, said, “We are pleased to be partnering with AP4ALL to expand opportunities for Maine’s rural high school population.”

     In 2007, Maine DOE launched AP4ALL, providing digital learning opportunities free of charge to Maine students residing in a school district who are educated at the public expense. Now with this partnership, these students can begin their college career.

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