Enrollment reached a record high for the fall 2022 semester with 3,375 students enrolled in credit-bearing courses. Total fall enrollment across the Maine Community College System is up 12 percent partially boosted by the Free College Scholarship that provides free tuition and fees for students in the graduating classes of 2020 through 2023. First-time enrollment at the College is up 19.7 percent over the previous year. The enrollment increase is in sharp contrast to a nationwide trend of declining enrollments at two-year public colleges over the last several years.
“It is a very exciting time on campus and you can feel the energy in the halls,” said Dr. Betsy Libby, president. “Through our certificate and associate degree programs, as well as with the short-term training programs in the division of Workforce and Professional Development, we are preparing more students than ever to meet Maine’s workforce needs.”
Under the Free College Scholarship program high school graduates from the Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, including those who earned their GED or HiSet, who enroll full time qualify for a scholarship that pays 100% of tuition and mandatory fees after grant aid has been applied. The Free College Scholarship engaged students who otherwise may not have considered college. The increased enrollment is good news for Maine’s workforce, as many of the programs offered at CMCC train students for high-demand fields.
Knowing the Free College Scholarship would be a big draw for recent graduates, Central Maine Community College launched a multi-media marketing campaign immediately after the program was announced. As students and their families learned about the Free College Scholarship, the CMCC admissions team found themselves busier than ever as the number of campus tours increased 200%. Admissions representatives have also been traveling throughout New England for college fairs, high school visits, and adult education centers.
The recruiting efforts have gone beyond recent high school graduates and have extended to adult learners. Over 45 percent of students enrolled for the Fall 2022 semester do not qualify for the Free College scholarship, which demonstrates that CMCC engages students of all ages who are looking to advance their education and position in the workforce.
“Recruiting, supporting, and guiding our new and returning students has been a campus-wide effort,” said Andrew Morong, associate dean of enrollment management. In addition to the students who are enrolled in degree programs, there are nearly 1,100 high school students enrolled through the Early College program. Some of these students will enroll at CMCC after high school graduation, but some will transfer the credit they earned to other colleges and universities saving time and money toward degree completion.