In this June 30, 2021, file photo, Gov. Janet Mills listens during a news conference in Augusta. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Gov. Janet Mills is expected to present a plan for free community college tuition at the State of State address on Thursday night.

The plan would designate $20 million to cover the cost of the first two years of tuition for about 8,000 high school graduates who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Mills is expected to reveal the plan as part of the supplemental budget that will outline and designate funds from the estimated $822 million that is initially expected during the current two-year budget cycle ending in mid-2023.

The plan would have to be approved by the Legislature, and would be distributed through a one-time allocation to the Maine Community College System, according to the Press Herald.

To qualify for the tuition coverage, a student who graduated high school in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 must enroll in community college full time. Students who graduated in 2020, 2021 and 2022 would be eligible for the program if they enrolled as a full time student in the fall, and those graduating next year would need to enroll by fall of 2023.

The student must also qualify for in-state tuition or commit to living and working in Maine and accept all federal and state grants, scholarships or any other funding sources, according to the Portland newspaper.

New and existing students would qualify for the program.

To be deemed a full time student, an enrolled student must earn 30 credits per year and pursue an associate degree or a one-year program.

Avatar photo

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.