They say that education is never wasted;and students are encouraged to pursue higher levels of education for the betterment of their futures and now high school students in rural parts of the state are able to get a jump start on that through a program called Rural U that was unveiled at UMFK today.
The program encompasses three early college education programs with the same goal: giving students a head start on a higher education. And although the programs have been around for a while, the concept of Rural U is brand new.
“Maine needs more college graduates and by giving students in high school the opportunity to try it before they graduate from high school and to attain some credits they’re saving money, they’re increasing their rigor while they’re in high school, and they’re getting a foot in the door to the college experience,” said Scott Voisine ,Dean of Community Education at UMFK.
The programs under Rural U include Early College, Dual enrollment and Fort Kent’s Pleasant Street Academy. High school students can either take classes at UMFK, online, or at their own school and earn both high school credit and college credit. Rural U has 22 high school partners from across the state and this Fall over 125 high school students enrolled.
“I feel like I know what to expect now,” said Fort Kent Community High School student Kendra Raymond.
Through the program, high school students can get college level general education requirements out of the way or take more career oriented classes.
“It makes college a little more familiar for them it makes it not just this big thing that’s looming after graduation we start, we get their feet wet,” Fort Fairfield Middle High School Director of Guidance, Jacquie Martin.
“It takes the fear out of the unknown, it’s cost effective for them, and it gets them a real good understanding before they become full time college students,” said Fort Kent Community High School Principal Dawn Dougan.
Any high school students that are interested in Rural U just need to talk to either their high school guidance counselor or principal to get enrolled.