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UMPI and RSU 39 sign expansive dual credit agreement

Partnership creates one of the most comprehensive dual credit opportunities between a County university and school district

Students at Caribou High School and Caribou Regional Technology Center will be able to earn credit toward both a high school degree and a Bachelor’s degree for nearly two dozen courses they take thanks to a unique new dual credit agreement signed by RSU 39 and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. With the ability for students to earn up to 63 credits toward a college degree, this partnership is one of the most comprehensive dual credit opportunities to be established between a University and a school district in Aroostook County.

“We’ve been working very hard at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to provide very significant and cost-saving early college access to Maine students,” UMPI President Linda Schott said. “We are delighted to provide such an excellent head start on college for students at Caribou High School and Caribou Regional Technology Center and a very affordable path toward a Bachelor’s degree.”

Similar to the agreement that the University signed with the Maine School of Science and Mathematics this spring, students will be able to take advantage of these courses for just $15 per credit—a savings of more than 90% over the traditional cost for a Maine resident attending UMPI. This new dual credit opportunity will be available to students beginning in Fall 2015.

“The dual credit agreement between UMPI and Caribou High School is an exceptional opportunity for all Caribou High School Students to advance toward a college degree with a substantial financial savings,” Mark Jones, Principal of Caribou High School, said. “I believe it will ease the transition to college for students and will have a positive impact on the percentage of students who ultimately earn a college degree. This partnership speaks to the spirit of cooperation between UMPI and Caribou High School and the rigor of our curriculum and expertise of our teaching staff.”

The agreement between UMPI and RSU 39 allows students to be concurrently enrolled in high school and college. University and school officials have worked closely to identify 21 courses as part of this agreement, so students who successfully complete AP Psychology, for example, will receive college credit for its course equivalency at UMPI, Psychology 100. In addition, those who complete a year-long course such as Senior English will receive two semesters’ worth of college credit, in this case both UMPI’s English 101 and English 151.

An important aspect of this agreement is that Caribou dual credit students will have access to all college academic and student support services at UMPI including, but not limited to, libraries, electronic library resources, writing centers, tutorial services, assessment, admissions, and academic advisement.

“The tuition savings that this agreement affords families is substantial, but the real beauty of this partnership is the collaboration between faculty at both campuses to align curriculum and to work together on student projects,” Tracy Corbin, with Caribou Regional Technology Center’s Student Services, said. “This truly provides students with a sense of their potential for success in a college classroom.”

In addition to the upfront financial savings, this agreement is expected to have a significant impact on students’ future loan indebtedness as they earn college credit through a public university system that leads the nation in commitment to affordability. Officials hope the agreement also will strengthen efforts to keep more young people in Maine and increase the state’s four-year degree completion rate.

“Caribou High School and UMPI faculty have a long history of educational partnerships and collaborations, so this is, in many ways, the culmination of a great many efforts from many outstanding individuals, all of which have aimed at providing better and more successful pathways to higher education for all students,” Ray Rice, UMPI Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, said. “This agreement will provide Caribou students a true Early College experience, with potentially half of the credit hours necessary for a four-year degree. Just as importantly, the cost to parents is minimal, all of this coursework will transfer to all University of Maine System institutions, and Caribou students can get this credit while working directly with their own teachers and guidance counselors—the people who know them best.”

To learn more about dual credit opportunities at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, please call 207-768-9520.