Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. Credit: Paula Brewer / The Star-Herald

PORTLAND, Maine — An increase in enrollment at Maine’s community colleges has motivated lawmakers to consider the possibility of offering on-campus housing at the schools.

On-campus housing isn’t common at community colleges, but there’s an increasing trend toward it around the country. A proposal introduced by Democratic Rep. Daniel Hobbs of Wells would direct the Maine Community College System to study providing housing on its campuses.

Enrollment in Maine’s community colleges is up 12 percent since the state created a free tuition program. That has brought with it a greater demand for housing in an increasingly expensive rental market, Hobbs said.

Hobbs said on-campus housing “should be more accessible to all students, so that finding off-campus housing is not added to the list of challenges students already face.”

Maine’s community college system has seven colleges and serves about 17,000 students.

Finding living arrangements has become a struggle for many colleges students around the country due to rent hikes and housing shortages.