Commentary

UMaine Flagship Match Program Brings Over 700 New Students to Maine

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As a college senior preparing for graduation and the real world (yikes!), I know firsthand how expensive college can be. I also know what an incredible four years it’s been, and I want as many young people to have the opportunity to experience college as possible. Spending four years in the state of Maine for college has been an invaluable experience. During my time here, I got to experience Maine’s natural beauty as well as fun up-and-coming cities and towns such as Portland, Lewiston-Auburn, Freeport and Orono.

As a student who came to Maine to study, I would recommend college in Maine to any high school junior and senior. It is encouraging to see UMaine taking steps to become a competitive choice for certain out-of-state students. While I don’t attend UMaine, I know people that do, and they just can’t say enough about their fellow Black Bears and the high quality of the institution.

The Flagship Match program, while still brand new, is already proving to be a success. UMaine already has 22 percent more students committed to attend the campus in the fall, and 45 percent of those students are from out-of-state. That is the equivalent of 731 new students from neighboring states due to this program.

The program allows students from MA, NH, VT, CT, NJ and PA to attend UMaine for the same tuition and fees as they would if they attended their home state’s flagship school rather than pay the higher out-of-state tuition. This is a great plan because, for many students and their families, the difference in cost can make or break a decision to go to a certain school.

This new program is beneficial for both students and the university. It will also provide a tremendous boost to the economy as these students make Maine their new home for (at least) the next four years.

High school graduates from Massachusetts have especially taken advantage of the new perks of the program. The Boston Globe reported that “The number of students from Massachusetts planning to attend UMaine has skyrocketed, going from 286 at this time last year to 518, for an 81 percent increase.” If that trend continues throughout the coming years, UMaine will see a rather large increase in applications.

Finally, the Flagship Match program is a brilliant idea because it will have a significant positive impact on Maine’s economy. According to UMaine provost Jeffrey Hecker, “These students contribute to Maine’s economy while enrolled, and over the past several years, over 20 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from UMaine stay in the state to work and make their careers…That’s good for the state of Maine, which needs a younger, better-educated workforce.’’

It’s safe to say the state has a shortage of young working professionals. College graduates in New England typically flock to places like Boston because it’s a well-known place to get a job and start a career. Imagine how the UMaine flagship program will help show millennials the incredible professional and personal opportunities that Maine has to offer. After all, Maine is the Way Life Should Be.

About Lauren Stimpert

Lauren is a senior at Bates College. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Bates College Republicans as well as the Secretary for the Maine Federation of College Republicans. She is a New Hampshire native and self-identified political junkie.

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