A new partnership between the University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College aims to strengthen the busy route from the community college to the university with new agreements and a chance for a limited number of USM-bound SMCC students to live in the soon-to-open Portland Commons dormitory.
It’s called Southern Maine Pathways.
On June 8, USM President Jacqueline Edmondson and SMCC President Joe Cassidy signed the formal memorandum that included articulation agreements — streamlining the process of transferring credits into related baccalaureate programs — and allowing the students to live on the USM campus.
“This agreement deepens USM’s already formidable partnership with the Maine Community College System and our joint aim of offering quality higher education to the people of Maine,” USM President Jacqueline Edmondson said. “The Portland Commons’ ability to ease the housing concerns for our students while also giving some relief to the demand for housing in greater Portland only highlights the strength of this project.”
Portland Commons is a new, nearly 218,000 sq. ft hall built to transform USM’s Portland campus that includes 580 beds and a mix of single-occupancy rooms, studio apartments, and larger apartments with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.
“SMCC couldn’t be more excited to continue to deepen our partnership with USM, allowing SMCC students to achieve their academic goals and providing them with the necessary support to succeed,” SMCC President Joe Cassidy said. “The new agreements will enable SMCC students to pursue their unique educational objectives while also preparing them to meet the workforce demands in Maine. SMCC students will get an incredible opportunity to experience the Husky culture and support while they take advantage of the new living accommodations. Our students get the best of both campuses at once.”
Additionally, the SMCC administration will work with students living at USM to create a class schedule aimed at reducing travel between the campuses. A percentage of SMCC students can purchase USM parking permits at regular USM pricing of $610 per permit. SMCC and USM encourage SMCC students to take advantage of the METRO service free of charge with their SMCC ID. There are several METRO stops within walking distance of Portland Commons.
“We are dedicated to ensuring our students have access to resources and support at both campuses as an essential piece of this new agreement,” said Jason Saucier, SMCC’s interim dean of students. “We want to ensure our students have all the experiences and tools they will be able to use to complete their successful transfer to USM when their time at SMCC is done.”