Early College Programs

Early College Programs

Aspirations is a program co-sponsored by the Maine Department of Education and Maine’s Public Universities and Community Colleges that allows students to take 100 – 200 level college courses while still in high school.  High school students may take up to 6 credits per semester, (12 credits per academic year limit), on a college campus, at an out-reach center, or online with no tuition charge.

Students must be:

  • Be a full-time high school student
  • Have recommendation from the high school counselor
  • Have the consent of their parent or guardian
  • Have a B or better academic average or permission from the high school guidance counselor
  • Be a resident of the state of Maine
  • Meet academic course prerequisites, if any
  • Be attending a state-eligible secondary school or state-approved homeschool

Aspirations allows high school students to begin college and establish a University transcript, prove that they are capable of college-level work, and save hundreds of dollars in tuition expense.  To find out about applying for an Aspirations class talk with your school counselor.  To register for an Aspirations course you will need to create an account or sign in to an existing account through the registration portal ExplorEC.

Looking for your textbooks? Click here.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Aspirations FAQ

How do I sign up for Aspirations courses?

Please talk with your school counselor to see if Aspirations is right for you.  To register for an Aspirations course you will need to create an account or sign in to an existing account through the registration portal ExplorEC

What is ExplorEC?

ExplorEC is the online (paperless) registration portal for both Aspirations and dual enrollment courses.

I don't live in Presque Isle, can I still take Aspirations courses?

Yes, Maine high school students can take Aspirations courses regardless of your location in Maine. We offer courses on-site in Presque Isle, at the Houlton Center, and online.

Can I take any class?

You can take any 100 or 200 level academic course for which you have met the course prerequisites as long as there is space available.  Please remember the credit hour limits for free tuition.

How much do Aspirations courses cost?

The State of Maine Department of Education and The University of Maine at Presque Isle waive tuition charges for up to 6 credit hours for fall semesters and 6 credit hours for spring, up to a maximum of 12 per year.  The 12 hour limit applies to all early college courses combined across the University of Maine System campuses as well as the Maine Community College System.

IMPORTANT: If you sign up for more than 6 hours total from all early college courses in a semester you may receive a bill.  Early College students that choose to take over 6 credit hours in a semester receive approximately 50% discount on tuition costs from UMPI.  Please see the chart below.

Credit Hours taken in one semester Tuition Cost Fees Total **
1-6 Free $20 per credit hour $20-$120
7 $134.75 $20 per credit hour $274.75
8 $269.50 $20 per credit hour $429.50
9 $404.25 $20 per credit hour $584.25

There may be additional costs such as course fees, materials, and textbooks.

**Tuition calculations for eligible students in this chart do not include some course fees (if applicable) or cost of textbooks that are not covered by the tuition waiver program.

When do I have to sign up for my class?

For Aspirations courses you need to sign up for your classes during the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester. View the Academic Calendar.  For dual enrollment courses please check with your school counselor.

What is the difference between Aspirations and Dual Enrollment?

Aspirations courses are taught by UMPI faculty through the UMPI campus or online.  Dual enrollment are courses taught at high schools by UMPI-approved high school teachers. These courses cost $20/academic credit. They count toward your high school diploma AND toward the University of Maine at Presque Isle transcript. You can take Aspirations through the Presque Isle campus, Houlton Center, or Online.

Dual Enrollment, also known as concurrent enrollment, offer both the UMPI course and high school course all rolled into one.  These courses are taught at our partner high schools by high school faculty in the high school that have university credentials. Successful completion of such a course allows students to earn both high school credit toward their high school diploma as well as college credit from UMPI that can be put toward a college degree.

Why is Early College important?

A college degree or certificate has become increasingly important for the jobs of your future.  These jobs have much higher earning power on average, and over the course of your life, this could be in excess of a million dollars!  When you get an early start to college not only will you earn more sooner but you will spend a lot less to get there.

Will these courses transfer?

Aspirations courses that you take through UMPI will transfer to all other University of Maine System institutions, as well as to numerous private colleges. For specifics, talk to your school counselor.

How do I pay my bill?

Students taking an Aspirations course will receive a bill. 

If my bill is incorrect who should I contact?

Please contact Student Financial Services in Preble Hall or at (207) 768-9510 if your bill is incorrect.  If you have enrolled in too many courses contact the Early College office.

When do I have to sign up for my class?

Aspirations students must sign up by the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.  View the Academic Calendar.

How do I drop/withdraw from a course?

To drop/withdraw from a course, please contact the Early College office. Please be aware of the add/drop and withdrawal dates during the semester. Withdrawal dates also affect dual enrollment students, please check with your school counselor.

Where do I purchase my textbooks?

You can purchase your textbooks right through the campus store online.

What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing from a course?

Dropping a course and withdrawing from a course are essentially the same thing.  Both of these will officially remove you from the course. There is a set time period called add/drop at the beginning of the semester where you can drop a course and it will not be noted on your college transcript.

Withdrawing from a course is essentially dropping the course after the add/drop period ends. If you withdraw from a course, a “W” designation will be listed on your official college transcript.  The “W” simply means that you have withdrawn from the course and is not a grade or that you failed.  There are specific deadlines for both dropping and withdrawing from a course that vary from semester to semester. View the Academic Calendar.  For dual enrollment courses please talk with your school counselor.

What services are available to me?

You have all the same services available to you as a traditional UMPI students. These include tutoring, the Writing Center, and Student Support Services.

I need a tutor but I can't go to campus

Aspirations and dual enrollment students will have access to online tutoring through Net Tutor.  Net Tutor offers several ways to connect for help including live conversations with knowledgeable tutors.  This serviced is accessed through your MaineStreet account once you are registered.  If you would like to schedule a tutoring appointment with UMPI tutors, please contact the UMPI Tutoring Center.

Why am I still being charged for a course even though I withdrew?

You are charged for any courses that you withdraw from after the add/drop period.

As a parent, can I talk to my student's instructor about grades?

UMPI is legally required to protect student information, even with parents and guardians.  If your student is in an Aspiration(s) course, they may complete one of our FERPA consent forms in order for you to receive information about their grades.   This is possible through the ExplorEC portal.

More information about FERPA and links to download the forms are available on the Registrar’s website.

Can I attend campus events?

Yes! As an Aspirations student, you can attend any campus event with the exception of UMPI dances. Most events are free and open to the public.