UMaine Early College program gives HS students a head start

Through AP courses and the UMaine Early College program, a student has launched their college career.

ORONO, Maine — College can be expensive, but there are several ways students can save or cut costs. A student from the University of Maine has found a way to get ahead.

Brady Barker just started his freshman year at UMaine this fall. While this should be a time to acclimate to college life and college classes, Barker’s situation is different. He’s been taking college-level courses since his junior year of high school, amassing a total of 81 credits, more than half the amount he needs to graduate.

Students need a total of 120 credits to complete an undergraduate degree in college, with some programs requiring more.

“It kind of fell on me. I just kept taking classes that challenged me,” Barker said.

He took the AP and UMaine courses, thanks to offers from his high school and the UMaine Early College program. Students can earn credits in person and online.

Once enrolled in the program, tuition is reduced by 50%, with the university covering both the remaining tuition and 12 credits per year.

Early College director Kari Suderley said courses are often tailored to student interests and desired career paths and can be a great way to test out higher-level learning.

“It gives students a sense of self-confidence that they may not have had before. They are able to see what the rigor of a college course is like while they are still in high school,” a- she explained.

In addition to being able to graduate early, Barker also saved over $30,000 in the process. According to its website, UMaine tuition this year is over $27,000 for an out-of-state student like Barker.

“I think that’s a great avenue to explore,” Barker said. “I’ll be finishing a lot sooner, and that will give me a lot of options when I graduate if I want to go to graduate school or if I want to get into a profession right out of college.”

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