MCCS Offering Flexible, Free Early College Options

As high school administrators grapple with the question of whether there are enough teachers or space to provide the usual range of courses, there is another option – supporting or encouraging students to sign up for free, online, community college courses through Maine’s Community College System (MCCS). Students get a great education, they have support through the community college, and schools can conserve building resources for the education only they can provide.

Because of COVID-19, all general education courses are offered online, so students can enroll in courses offered at any of the seven MCCS colleges across the state, not just one nearby. That means students have a wider range of courses available, at different times. The community colleges also offer late starts – convenient since most high schools are starting up later than usual. The community colleges’ late starts range from late September to early November, so there’s still time to sign up for courses this fall.

Each college has an early college specialist ready to help school administrators and students with picking out classes, making sure the credits transfer, or any questions that arise.

The benefit to your school and district is immediate.

  • FREE: Schools and districts do not pay anything for MCCS early college courses, unlike some remote learning programs offered by other higher education institutions, such as Brigham Young University.
  • COLLEGE CREDIT: Students earn college credit if they pass – without a high stakes test like the Advanced Placement test. (In 2018-19, 43 percent of the 15,056 Maine students who took an AP test did not get a 3 or higher, so they did not receive any college credit for their work.)
  • OPTIONS:  Algebra, English Comp, Intro to Psychology, Statistics, U.S. History, Economics, Biology, foreign languages – a very wide range of classes are available.
  • TIMING: There’s time to register for late start fall classes, or plan ahead for the spring semester.
  • OPPORTUNITY: Studies consistently show that students who take early college courses are more likely to go to college and succeed in college. For many students, early college courses are a great low-risk way for them and their families to realize they can be successful in college – removing one of the biggest barriers to college enrollment: self-doubt.
  • CREDITS TRANSFER: Maine’s community colleges have a block transfer agreement with the University of Maine System, so all general education credits will transfer there and to many other colleges.
  • SUPPORT: Finally, Maine’s community colleges are committed to their students succeeding. With COVID, tutoring has moved online along with early e navigators who can answer questions and help them pick out classes.

Find out more about the early college options at