Early College Programs

FAQs

For Students & Parents

  • Early Study Aspirations: Students must apply for Early Study Aspirations courses through the ExplorEC portal. To learn more about the ExplorEC portal, visit the University of Maine System Early College website.
    If you are unable to access the ExplorEC portal, please contact Jamie Austin, Early College and Program Coordinator at USM.  
  • Concurrent Enrollment and Project ASPIRE: Visit the ExplorEC portal to register for a Concurrent Enrollment or Project ASPIRE course. If you have used ExplorEC previously, please use your original log-in information. If you are new to ExplorEC, please create an account.

Visit the Apply page on this website for registration and application instructions for all programs. 

The cost of a USM course taken through Early Study Aspirations or Concurrent Enrollment is less than the standard cost of a course for a USM student.

  • Early Study Aspirations tuition costs are calculated by credit hour, plus mandatory additional fees. 
  • Concurrent Enrollment courses are tuition-free for Maine high school students. Some courses may have additional fees. Some students will be required to purchase their textbooks as well.
  • Visit the University of Maine System Early College website to learn more about the costs of Early Study Aspirations and Concurrent Enrollment courses.

Some high schools will cover partial or full additional costs (such as the cost of textbooks) of USM Early Study Aspirations, Concurrent Enrollment, or Project ASPIRE courses. Students are encouraged to contact their high school counselor to find out whether their school covers Early College charges and fees.

Non-Maine residents (whether out-of-state or international students) are permitted to participate in the Early Study Aspirations, Concurrent Enrollment, and Project ASPIRE courses. However, non-resident students do not qualify for State of Maine funding for Early College programs. Non-resident students are responsible for the full costs of Early Study Aspirations, Concurrent Enrollment, and Project ASPIRE courses. All course costs must be paid in order for course credit to be issued. 

University of Maine System: Early Study Aspirations, Concurrent Enrollment, and Project ASPIRE course credits will transfer to other University of Maine System institutions, as long as the student’s final grade for the course was a C- or above.
Outside the University of Maine System: Students seeking to transfer Early College credits to institutions outside of the University of Maine System should consult with the Registrar and/or Transfer Affairs office at the university to which they are transferring. Use this credit transfer tool to see if certain colleges and universities will accept and award transfer credit for USM Early College courses.

To request your official transcript from USM, please submit a complete Transcript Request Form to the Office of the Registrar.

All USM courses available to Early Study Aspirations students can be viewed using the USM online course search tool.

Students may also view courses by logging in to the ExplorEC Portal. Once a student is logged in, they will see a link to search for courses at the University of Southern Maine. Please note that the course search feature shows all 100, 200, and 300 level courses offered by our campuses to ensure a wide variety of options to meet the needs of all students.

Students can take any class for which they meet the prerequisite or co-requisite requirements. It is recommended students focus on General Education courses are they are easiest to transfer across the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System.

Here is a list of USM courses frequently taken by Early Study Aspirations students. 

Students should contact their high school counselor to learn which Concurrent Enrollment and Project ASPIRE courses are available at their school.

Students have access to services and resources on all three USM campuses, including tutoring services, libraries, student activities, and more. 

Visit the Early Study Aspirations - What to Expect and Concurrent Enrollment - What to Expect pages for details on USM resources.  

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires that institutions receiving funds from programs and for which the U.S. Commissioner of Education has administrative responsibility must obtain consent before releasing educational records of students (or partial identifiable information contained therein) except to specified parties or in specified situations. The act intends to protect the privacy of students with regard to access of records, release of such records, and the opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records should they be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate.

FERPA gives students and parents/guardians certain rights with respect to students' education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or enrolls at a postsecondary institution. This includes students enrolled through USM’s Early College program.

When a student signs the waiver and returns it to the USM Early College and Program Coordinator, it means they are giving their parents permission to receive information about their USM grades, including the student's transcript. 

For students in the Early Study Aspirations program, IEPs and 504 Plan information is not automatically shared with USM. To receive disability-related accommodations at USM, students must register with the Disability Services Center (DSC). The DSC provides a wide range of services to qualified students with sensory, mobility, physical, psychological, learning and attentional disabilities enrolled in USM courses and programs. 

For students in Concurrent Enrollment and Project ASPIRE courses, information and requests for disability accommodations will be managed by students' high school counselors and high school disability accommodations offices.

NetTutor is a 24/7 online tutoring service available to all USM Early College students. Students can use NetTutor to get help on a particular homework question or to receive feedback on writing assignments. Early College students also have access to the USM Learning Commons services, but are encouraged to use NetTutor when the Learning Commons are closed or when they need quick, immediate learning support. 

Early Study Aspirations students can access NetTutor through their Brightspace accounts. Concurrent Enrollmentand Project ASPIRE students can also access NetTutor through Brightspace, but they must first activate their University of Maine System (UMS) account. Students receive an email during the first few weeks of their Concurrent Enrollment course with instructions on how to activate their UMS account. 

 

For High School Teachers and Administrators

High school teachers seeking to teach Concurrent Enrollment courses must submit to USM a CV, being sure to include all graduate-level work undertaken (whether a degree was completed or not) and other discipline-relevant information such as positions held, certifications earned, and/or active membership in professional or discipline-specific associations. The academic department from which the Concurrent Enrollment course and credit generates will review the CV and any additional materials submitted to determine who can deliver course credit on their behalf. Interested teachers may contact Meghan Cadwallader, Director of Education Partnerships for more information about starting this process. 

Teachers interested in teaching Project ASPIRE Mathematics courses should contact Laurie Woodman, Lecturer of Mathematics and Early College Faculty Facilitator to learn more about Project ASPIRE instructor eligibility. 

Each Concurrent Enrollment or Project ASPIRE instructor works with a USM faculty member, who helps plan courses and supports instructors. Faculty liaisons and Concurrent Enrollment instructors communicate regularly throughout the academic year about the progress of Concurrent Enrollment courses being delivered and planning for future courses.

If you are already in contact with a USM faculty member in your field, please contact them and Meghan Cadwallader, Director of Educational Partnerships about establishing a Concurrent Enrollment course in your subject area at your high school. All inquiries about teaching Project ASPIRE courses should be directed to Laurie Woodman, Lecturer of Mathematics and Early College Faculty Facilitator.

Please contact Laurie Woodman, Lecturer of Mathematics and Early College Faculty Facilitator for information about delivering Project ASPIRE at your high school.