FORT KENT, Maine — Starting next fall, students at the Maine Connections Academy, the state’s first virtual charter school, can earn early college credits through a partnership announced Thursday with the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

The Maine Connections Academy juniors and seniors will be eligible to receive college credit for introductory-level college courses taught by academy teachers who meet UMaine at Fort Kent faculty criteria.

UMaine at Fort Kent already partners with 65 high schools from Fort Kent to Portland to offer college credits to juniors and seniors through the university’s Rural U program.

Rural U is aimed at helping high school students who want to get an early jump on college through enrollment in live or online UMaine at Fort Kent courses.

“We are pleased to offer Maine Connections Academy students the opportunity to earn college credits through our university while attending virtual high school,” said Scott Voisine, UMaine at Fort Kent dean of community education. “Together, we are preparing Maine students for higher education, but also for their future.”

The college credits earned by the Maine Connections Academy students in the Rural U program will transfer to any college in the University of Maine System, the state community college system or even some private colleges in Maine, according to Voisine.

“Maine Connections Academy is very excited to have forged a strong partnership with the University of Maine at Fort Kent and its system in our first year of operation,” said Maine Connections Academy Principal Karl Francis. “We share in a strong commitment to educating in a way that works best for each individual learner.”

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.