The leaders of the Community University in Maine are presenting an increase in calls, emails and requests from possible students after the launch of a free program of community schools aimed at students in the state that graduated from high school during high school during Pandemia.

"We are overwhelmed with work at this time due to this program, but it is a wonderful job," said Joseph Cassidy, president of Southern Maine Community College. "And people are happy to see that they meet students and that they are putting them in the pipe."

He said the staff is struggling to keep the pace.

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"Our people are exhausted and working very hard, but it's really positive," said Cassidy.

The program, which enters into force this summer as students request autumn, will cover two years of enrollment in Maine community schools for anyone who graduated or is scheduled to graduate from school Secondary in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023, including current students and students of the Community University that obtained a GED. Registration and rates in the seven community schools of the State cost $ 3,700 on average. The program will cover the costs not covered by state and federal financial aid or other scholarships. Participants must be full -time students in an associate title or a one -year credential program and live in Maine while they are registered to qualify.

Governor Janet Mills, who initially proposed the program, signed a complementary state budget in April that included $ 20 million in unique funds to create the program. The funds will be available next month.

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“With the strong bipartisan support of the Legislature, we ensure that high school students whose higher education aspirations are affected by the pandemic have the opportunity to obtain a free education free education and enter Maine's workforce With a reliable and well paid and work in demand, ”said Mills in a press release. It is estimated that 8,000 people in the state could be eligible for the program, according to the statement.

Doug Ross, co -founder of the campaign for free university enrollment, said that state university programs have grown in popularity since the pandemic. For example, Michigan launched Futures For Frontliners, a free university program for people who work in face to face during the pandemic, and Michigan is reconnected, a similar program for older adults without titles in 2021. He believes that free university programs are proliferating because industries face the acute shortage of employees and states have more funds to begin these programs due to federal money of Covid-19 relief.

The pandemic "lent some additional energy to the free registration movement," said Ross, who is also a partner at the Equity Project diploma and served as the main advisor for prosperity under the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer . The combination of an influx of funds and the need for qualified workers "has been a wind in the back of this movement."

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