Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Does Early College for ME offer?
Early College for ME offers students three things:
1. A $2,000 scholarship for a two-year program at a Maine
community college or
$1,000 for a one-year program.
2. If your high school approves and courses are available, up to two Maine community
college courses during your senior year in high school, with tuition, fees, and books
paid for by the program.
3. Support from Early College
for ME staff from your junior year of high school
through your second year of college or
for as long as you are in the program.
How do I qualify for Early College for ME?
Schools select students to apply for the scholarship program. However, if you are
interested, you should contact your high school guidance office. To qualify, you must
be a junior attending a publicly funded high school thats participating in Early
College for ME. You must be on track to graduate with your class and be in good
standing. You must be a Maine resident and have not (yet) made plans
for college. In choosing applicants, schools may consider financial need and whether
students would be the first in their family to go to college.
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Why should I go to a Maine community college
after high school?
Education or training beyond high school gives you more choices and opportunities
in the job market as well as higher earning power. A Maine
community college is an
affordable, accessible option for college that will prepare you for a career or for
transfer to a four-year college or university. Of Maines community college
graduates, 91 percent land jobs or continue their education
after earning a degree.
Can I go to any Maine community college?
Yes. Most students go to the community college nearest their home; however, you may
apply to any of the seven colleges, and if accepted, choose which college to attend.
Colleges vary in their programs of study, so youre wise to look at programs, not
just college location. In high school you receive support from the Early College
for ME staff person representing the college nearest you. If you attend a college outside
your region and you receive a scholarship, the support wont change, only the person
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What support does Early College for ME staff provide?
Our staff serve as your bridge to college. Staff begin working with you in the spring
of your junior year in high school, soon after you complete your Early College for ME
application. Staff continue to work with you through your senior year to help you with
the college admissions process and the federal financial aid application. Early College
for ME staff keep in touch with you over the summer, and if you receive a scholarship,
continue to support you in college
for as long as you receive the scholarship.
What does the scholarship cover?
Scholarship students receive $500 per semester:
up to $2,000 for a
two-year program or
$1,000 for a one-year program. Scholarship funds can be used for community college tuition and fees, books, program-required equipment (with approval),
and on-campus housing. Scholarship funds are applied to students college account;
no amount is paid or refunded to the student.
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What if I need financial aid in addition to this scholarship?
Early College for ME staff help you and your parent or guardian complete
the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Filing this application is
an Early College for ME requirement. However, applying for financial aid does not mean you have to
accept it. Filing this application allows the college to consider you for financial aid,
and if you qualify, have it ready for the start of your semester. The FAFSA
must be filed by May 1. Students who meet that deadline and certain financial-need requirements may be eligible for a
$1,000 Maine State Grant.
How is an Early College for ME scholarship awarded?
Applicants are notified about their scholarship by their high school during
their senior year. You will be told whether you have been selected as a scholarship
nominee or as an alternate. Scholarships are awarded to nominees who
1) have filed for federal financial aid (see FAFSA in the
previoushave question), 2) are accepted into
a Maine community college program of study for the fall term following high school
graduation, and 3) enroll in a minimum of 12
credit hours each
semester for consecutive semesters.
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Does a scholarship alternate ever get a scholarship?
Yes. Therefore, Early College for ME staff helps both nominees and alternates apply
for federal financial aid and college. Take full advantage of this help, because plans may
change—sometimes at the last minute—and when a nominee drops out, an alternate moves up
to take that place. Your high school decides in what order alternates can become nominees.
However, receiving a scholarship depends on
filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial
Aid) and being accepted into a Maine
community college. Even if you dont receive an ECforME scholarship, there are
other scholarships and financial aid programs available; our college
financial aid staff can help you identify these resources.
Can I take an early
college course through Early College for ME, and if so, how does that work?
Students may request to take one or two
early college courses in their senior year. ECforME pays for
course tuition, fees, and books. Depending on course availability,
schools decide which students may take an
early college course. Courses must carry 3 college credits,
and students must be able to meet all course requirements. Therefore, most students take an introductory course.
Our staff assists with course selection and registration, getting books, and answering questions. Courses may
be offered both on campus and at a college outreach center and may be scheduled during the week, in the
evenings, or on weekends. Students may take a course online, if they have school approval, computer access,
and the school will provide technical support. Students are advised not to take a course at college
they need for high school graduation.
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Can I get high school as well as college credit for an
early college course?
Your high school decides whether your Maine community college course will qualify for high
school credit. However, you should not take a college course to meet a high school graduation
What if I dont want to take a college course as a high school senior or
dont have approval for a course?
Whether or not you take a college course in high school does not affect your eligibility
for this scholarship. As available, college courses are offered to students whose Accuplacer
(college placement test) scores and high school recommendation indicate academic readiness to
take a college course as a high school senior. Students participating in Early College for ME take
the Accuplacer in their junior year. If scores point to a skills gap in a particular area, it
may be better to concentrate on enhancing those skills and doing well academically in the last
year of high school. That will help you be ready for college-level work when you get to college.
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