Early College

Information for
Students & Parents

Frequently Asked Questions:

High school students who enroll in early college courses are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and earn a college degree. As a result, students are more prepared and successful in college.

For example:

  • Concurrent Enrollment and Aspiration courses are tuition free for students (6 credits per semester, up to 12 credits per academic year). Students are responsible for fees and books in some EC programs.
  • Early College students have more options for their high school curriculum, gain academic confidence, and develop better study skills.
  • Nationally, Early College students are seven times more likely to attend college.
  • Early College students who graduate from high school and enroll in a Maine Public University are more likely to enroll in college (persist) for a second year. 80.7% of Early College students persist to a second year, versus 72.7% for students who did not participate in Early College.
  • Students have the potential to reduce their college debt burden, as those who participate in Early College enter college with an average of 11 earned credit hours.
  • Students who enter college with Early College credits are more likely to earn a degree on time than students with no Early College.
  • Students can show college admissions officers that they are ready for more difficult coursework.
  • Students build a college transcript while still in high school. The college credits earned are transferable. While we hope students will attend one of Maine’s Public Universities or Community Colleges, these credits may be transferred to other colleges. Students will need to check with their institution about transferring credits when they enroll.
  • Early College students can explore majors and career options, or get a jump start in a field through one of our many pathway programs, such as Aviation – Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Business, Computer Science & Cyber Security, Criminal Justice, Dental Assisting, Forestry, Human Services, Nursing & Health Professions, Psychology, Recreation, STEM Careers, and Teaching.

Printable PDF of Benefits of Early College (Opens in a new window.)

Learn more about Early College Programs at each of Maine’s Public Universities.

Sources for the above data can be found here.

Course offerings vary by university, high school, and Early College program. Students may enroll in courses that fulfill general education requirements, explore potential majors, or enroll in specific course sequences to guide students towards career pathways.  Popular courses include college writing, introduction to literature, college algebra, US history, introduction to statistics, and calculus.

Students should start with our ExplorEC Portal webpage for student directions and a link to register and search for classes on the ExplorEC Portal. Please note that the course search feature shows all 100, 200, and 300 level courses offered by our campuses to ensure a wide variety of options to meet the needs of all students. This does not necessarily mean all students will eligible to take all courses listed.The student must meet the prerequisites of the course to enroll. 

Students should start with our ExplorEC Portal webpage for student directions and a link to register and search for classes on ExplorEC Portal. Please note that the course search feature shows all 100, 200, and 300 level courses offered by our campuses to ensure a wide variety of options to meet the needs of all students. This does not necessarily mean all students will eligible to take all courses listed. The student must meet the prerequisites of the course to enroll. 

The Department of Education suggests students must maintain a minimum secondary school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent of a “B” average unless the University grants a waiver. Juniors and seniors with a GPA below 3.0 or “B” average may be granted a waiver with the support of the guidance counselor and Early College Coordinator. The Department of Education does allow qualified freshmen and sophomores to access Early College funding through the Aspirations Program. Maine’s Public Universities will follow DOE guidelines, but priority will be given to juniors and seniors.

To learn more about our full revised eligibility policy for Early College download our Student Access Document.

A great place to begin is our Early College webpage, which has general information on the different programs offered by Maine’s Public Universities.

Each of Maine’s Public Universities has an Early College Administrator who works closely with high school counselors to ensure students are placed in the college courses that best suit their needs.

Early College courses are tuition free for Maine high school students, up to 6 credits per semester (12 credits per year). Note: Bridge Academy has different tuition costs. Please visit their website for more information. Students are responsible for fees and books in some EC programs. The University of Maine System is working towards consistency in fees. In the meantime, we have posted a summary of course fees for each program on the ExplorEC Portal webpage.

For additional help or information please contact your University’s Early College Coordinator.

To apply for Early College courses at Maine’s Public University you will need to create an account on the ExplorEC Portal at explorec.maine.edu. For video tutorials, downloadable text tutorials (.docx), and additional information visit our How to Register page.

For additional help or information please contact your University’s Early College Coordinator.

Back to Early College Homepage

UMaine-Logo
UMA-Logo
UMF-Logo
UMFK-Logo
UMM-Logo
UMPI-Logo
USM-Logo