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First-year student featured on 'Maine Calling' program discussing college readiness

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A first-year University of Southern Maine (USM) student was featured in a Maine Public broadcast discussing college readiness among Maine students.

Sabrina Freeman, a first-year social work student and USM Promise Scholar, called into the station’s “Maine Calling" show to discuss her experience as a new student at USM and the programs that helped get her where she is today.

She said the Promise Scholarship program — which works with youth development organizations across Maine to help disadvantaged youth afford college — is more than just a scholarship.

“It’s more of a program … we have volunteer opportunities and we meet with our advisors more often,” she said of the $15 million initiative, launched in fall 2017. “We talk about writing resumes and connecting with job opportunities.”

Recently, Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz lauded the Promise Scholarship as one of many ways USM is committed to helping students from all backgrounds afford a college education.

Freeman, who runs Track and Field for the USM Huskies and hopes to be a social worker to work with underprivileged children, also credited her college success to early college classes taken at the University of Maine at Augusta.

“I took some college classes at UMA, and I think those really helped me because I was able to take two at a time. It gave me the opportunity to have a little bit of a taste but I wasn’t overwhelmed,” Freeman said.

Other college success programs highlighted in the broadcast include TRIO, one of the oldest programs in the country to prepare low-income kids for college.  

There are currently 28 TRIO programs in Maine, including Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) based on the USM campus. VUB is federally-funded pre-college program that provides assistance, at no cost to eligible veterans who wish to pursue a college degree.

Currently, 50 veterans are currently enrolled in the program at USM, the only such program located in Maine and only one of two in New England.

Listen to the full broadcast at Maine Public.