7 Best Community Colleges in Maine-Study For Free

Community Colleges in Maine
Community Colleges in Maine

There are 7 community colleges in Maine, and most of them are among the lowest-cost community colleges in New England.

Maine offers more than fall colours and epic winters, it features plentiful lobster and huge blueberries and most importantly it is the only state to border just one other state.

In this article, we will be looking at the community colleges in Maine and some of the reasons why you should study in Maine.

Why Study in Maine?

Of all the New England states, there are so many excellent reasons to choose Maine as a place to study, work, and live.

Educational Opportunities

Maine’s community colleges cost less than most others in New England. They offer a variety of courses and over 70% of their students receive some kind of financial aid.

Their programs provide discounts for students who are from surrounding states in New England, which allows them to pay just slightly more than Maine residents.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Maine varies greatly by location. This is defined by the Median home price difference, but overall, the cost of living in Maine remains lower than in the rest of the country as a whole and markedly lower than in surrounding New England states.

Climate

Long, snowy winters and mild summers define Maine’s climate. The state owes both climates to its far northern location, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and the position it holds in the storm track.

Both Fall and Spring delight visitors and residents of the Pine Tree State and this is due to the abundance of non-evergreen varieties of trees in its forests.

Does Maine offer free community college?

All seven of Maine’s Community Colleges are offering free tuition for up to two years to qualifying students.

Starting this summer, Maine’s community colleges will offer free tuition to students who graduated or will graduate high school between 2020 and 2023.

The funding was made possible under the new Free College initiative in the supplemental budget, which was signed by Gov. Janet Mills.

The  Maine Community College System has been allocated a total of $20 million.

The free tuition is for students who meet the qualifications and that include:

  • Having a high school diploma or equivalent from 2020 to 2023;
  • Enrolling full-time in an associate degree program or one-year credential;
  • Living in Maine while enrolled as a student; and
  • Accepting all federal and state grants, scholarships, and other funding sources. 

The community college system reports the average yearly cost of tuition is $3,700. It is obvious that a lot of college students have a lot of priorities in their lives and most often are working part-time or full-time.

The free tuition policy will help remove the burden of the cost of college and give them a relaxed mind as they work towards their goals in a quicker manner.

The List of Community Colleges in Maine

  • Washington County Community College, Calais
  • Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield/Hinckley
  • Central Maine Community College, Auburn
  • Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor
  • Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle
  • Southern Maine Community College, South Portland/Brunswick
  • York County Community College, Wells


Washington County Community College, Calais

  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Tuition: $3908

Washington County Community College, Calais is one of the community colleges in Maine that serves around 500 students and offers certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees in more than 20 study areas.

In this community college, students can complete a two-year liberal studies program that can enable them to transfer to a college upon completion.

That’s not all, they also offer a comprehensive support service for students from all backgrounds.

Their Student Support Services provide academic advertising and counselling for low-income students as well as first-generation students.

In this community college, career counselling, degree planning, transfer assistance, financial aid counselling, disability services, technical support and academic tutoring are all available.


Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield/Hinckley

  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Tuition: $9323

Kennebec Valley Community has campuses in Fairfield and Hinckley.

This is one of the top community colleges in Maine that is serving over 2,400 students annually.

The college offers academic and professional programs in more than 30 areas of study that include allied health, nursing, biological science, mental health and psychology, early childhood education, trades and technology.

This community college gives students the opportunity to pursue a professional certificate or degree to be able to enter the workforce as quickly as possible.

Students upon completion of their program can transfer to a four-year college.

This institution also has online programs in marketing, early childhood education, accounting, liberal studies, and mental health.

Their liberal studies programs functions as a transfer degree that enables students to transfer their degree to a four-year college.

The other four programs award associate of applied science degrees and prepare graduates to pursue entry-level jobs.

Mental health students can also earn a mental health rehabilitation technical/community certificate.

Central Maine Community College, Auburn

  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Tuition: $8052

Central Maine Community College, Auburn annually enrols over 2,700 students on their campus in Alburn.

It is one of the largest community colleges in Maine where students have the opportunity to choose from various certificate programs and associate degrees in areas of study like forensic science, e-sport management, physical fitness, and life sciences.

Students with professional experience are eligible to earn credit based on prior learning which enables them to complete a degree or certificate faster.

This is also one of the community colleges in Maine that offers distance education and hybrid programs for their students and that includes online degrees in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, human services, general studies, and medical coding/electronic health records. 

The program mentioned above requires no campus visit because they use a  fully asynchronous format with no required class login times.

Online learners receive many of the same support services as on-campus students do.

Academic advising, liberal resources, tutoring, and financial aid are all available to students.


Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle

  • Graduation rate: 45%
  • Tuition: $8527

Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle is also one of the top community colleges in Maine that serve around 1000 students through their campus-based learning.

Being one of the top community colleges in Maine, they offer a large selection of degrees and certificates through several academic and professional departments, including arts and sciences, business technology, trade and technical occupations, nursing and allied health, as well as emergency medical services.

Courses in this community college can be completed from a distance, though the community college does not offer online degrees.

When it comes to supporting services, they can assist you throughout your education, from enrollment to after graduation.

Another benefit of attending this school is the fact that students have access to individual and group tutoring, as well as support for academic writing.

The student services in this institution provide academic advising, homework help, placement testing, admission process support, financial aid support, and general student counselling.


York County Community College, Wells

  • Graduation rate: 18%
  • Tuition: $8797

York County Community College, Wells was established in the year 1994 and now serves around 1,700 students annually through an assortment of on-campus and distance education programs.

This is one of the community colleges in Maine that offers dozens of professionally focused degree and certificate programs in popular fields such as animal care and management, computer science, culinary arts, digital media, and hospitality and tourism management.

Also, students can pursue three fully online gerontology certificates, as well as certificates in help desk, user support and web development.

This community college also has fully online associate degree programs:

  • Behavioral health studies
  • Gerontology
  • Information technology
  • Liberal studies

The liberal studies program is a transfer degree which is designed for students to transfer to liberal arts degree at any four-year college.

The other three programs award associate of applied science degrees and are intended to prepare students to enter the workforce.

All four degrees require about two years of full-time study, require no campus visits, and most importantly, they use an asynchronous delivery format.


Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor

Tuition & Fees:

  • Maine Resident Tuition: $96.00 per credit hour
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $192.00 per credit hour
  • NERSP (“Apple” Program) Participants: $144.00 per credit hour

  •  EMCC acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 31%

Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor provides the highest quality post-secondary technical, career, and transfer education while serving as a community and economic development resource.

They offer over 30 one- and two-year program options, as well as short term and specialized training and retraining courses for business, industry, and community.

They award associate degrees in applied science, science, and arts; certificates; diplomas; and documents of completion for customized, short-term programs and courses.

At EMCC, they prepare technicians and skilled workers for careers in mechanical, engineering, and construction industries; allied health professions; and business occupations. We develop programs of study in cooperation with experts currently working in representative areas of technology and business.

Eastern Maine Community College is a publicly supported, post-secondary institution, fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, which is the primary accrediting agency for schools and colleges in New England.


Southern Maine Community College, South Portland/Brunswick

Southern Maine Community College, South Portland/Brunswick is one of the community colleges in Maine that has a total enrollment of 5,852.

It is one of the community colleges with an open enrollment policy. The in-state tuition and fees for 2018-2019 were $3,770, and out-of-state tuition and fees were $6,590. The application fee is $20.

This community college offers degrees and certificates in 18 different fields, which include Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Health Professions and Related Programs, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services.

Community Colleges in Portland Maine

Southern Maine Community College, South Portland/Brunswick is a community college in Portland.

SMCC is a dynamic learning environment with two campuses.

They have offsite and online courses with more than 40 academic programs.

There are also credit and noncredit offerings and about 6,000 students have limitless opportunities.

Community colleges near Portland

There are about 43 community and junior colleges within 200 miles of Portland enrolling a total of 151,416 students.

The nearest community college is Southern Maine Community College which is in South Portland, 2.3 miles from Portland.

The largest college near Portland is Community College of Rhode Island, which enrols 13,684 students. Other community colleges near Portland are:

  • Southern Maine Community College South Portland, Maine
  • York County Community College Wells, Maine
  • Central Maine Community College Auburn, Maine
  • Great Bay Community College Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Lakes Region Community College Laconia, New Hampshire
  • Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, Maine

See other community colleges HERE.

The Employment Outlook in Maine

Maine boasts a low unemployment rate and growth at or above the national average in many areas. While construction and government jobs have declined, other fields like healthcare and education are in high demand.

Leisure and hospitality show the fastest growth, as the Maine tourism economy recovers and strengthens.

Financial services of all types and a growing manufacturing sector follow closely behind.

All in all, Maine weathered the COVID-19 crisis better than neighbouring New England states and continues to recover quickly.

The jobs that are in demand in Maine

  • Paralegal and Legal Assistants
  • Mechanical Drafters
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Civil Engineering Technicians

Paralegal and Legal Assistants

A paralegal can influence public policy by assisting attorneys with research and preparation for briefs, trials, and appeals. Working as a paralegal can also serve as a gateway to other growing legal professions.

A paralegal can start with a relevant associate degree and gain experience from there.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $49,500
  • Job Growth Projection: 12%

About 43,000 openings for paralegals and legal assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labour force, such as to retire.

As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants.

In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers.

Mechanical Drafters

Drafters use software and other tools to take the ideas of engineers and architects and turn them into technical diagrams that can be used in the design and construction process.

Most mechanical drafters work in offices full time, but some may occasionally work on job sites in the field.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $57,960
  • Job Growth Projection: -2%

Despite declining employment, about 17,500 openings for drafters are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists work in dental offices and perform cleanings and minor procedures. They also educate patients on oral care and conduct examinations for dental diseases like gingivitis.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $77,090
  • Job Growth Projection: 11%

About 15,600 openings for dental hygienists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Some of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.

Demand for dental services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and as people keep more of their original teeth than in previous generations.

Studies linking oral health and general health, along with efforts to expand access to oral hygiene services, will continue to drive demand for preventive dental services, including those performed by hygienists. 

In addition, demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow as state laws increasingly allow dental hygienists to work at the top of their training.


Radiologic Technologist

These professionals use imaging equipment to examine ill or injured patients.

Usually, a physician then receives the information and makes a final diagnosis.

Radiologic technicians work either in doctor’s offices or hospitals and generally work full time.

The job requires an associate degree and, in Maine, professional licensure.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $63,710
  • Job Growth Projection: 9%

Overall employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to grow 9 per cent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 20,800 openings for radiologic and MRI technologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Civil Engineering Technicians

Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers in designing and planning infrastructure projects.

They often help in the building process as well. They spend most of their time in offices, but they occasionally work on construction job sites when required.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $54,080
  • Job Growth Projection: 2%

Employment of civil engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 2 per cent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 6,500 openings for civil engineering technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The need to preserve, repair, and upgrade the country’s infrastructure continues to increase.

Bridges, roads, levees, airports, and dams will need to be rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced. Also, a growing population means that water systems must be maintained in order to reduce or eliminate the loss of drinkable water.

In addition, more waste treatment plants will be needed to help clean the nation’s waterways. 

Civil engineers must plan, design, and oversee this work, and civil engineering technologists and technicians will be needed to assist the engineers in these projects.

Civil engineering technologists and technicians also will find work assisting civil engineers with renewable-energy projects.

For example, these technologists and technicians may assist in the development of a wind farm by helping engineers devise solutions to minimize project costs while accommodating the sizeable dimensions and weight of wind turbines.

Editor’s Pick

Footnote: https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/best-community-colleges-in-maine/

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