Free College

Free College for Recent High School Graduates

Did you graduate from high school in 2022, 2023, or 2024 or will be graduating in 2025? Then you may qualify for the Free College Scholarship at EMCC!

If you have already applied – great! No need to reapply, admissions will tag your application if you qualify. Email if you have any questions about an existing application.

If you have not filled out an application yet

How do I qualify for Free College?

To qualify, you must:

  • Graduate from high school or earn a HiSet/GED in 2022, 2023, 2024, or 2025. There are no income or age limits as long as you graduated during these years
  • Live in Maine at the time of enrollment and while enrolled in the program.
  • Pursue an associate degree or certificate.
  • Complete your associate degree or certificate program within 200% of the stated completion time.
  • Apply for the FAFSA
  • Accept all grants and scholarships you are offered.
  • Complete our free, online application.
What do I need to do?
  • New Students who have never applied to EMCC:
    • Fill out an admissions application.
    • Complete a FAFSA (if eligible.)
    • Live in Maine at the time of enrollment and while enrolled in the program.
  • Students who have already applied and have been accepted:
    • Complete your FAFSA.
    • We’ll take care of the rest! There’s no need to reapply.
  • Current students:
    • Complete your FAFSA.
    • We’ll take care of the rest! There’s no need to reapply.
What is included in the Free College Scholarship?

The scholarship pays for up to two years of tuition and mandatory fees. It does not cover room and board or additional items required by some programs, such as uniforms or special equipment.

Do I have to be full time?

Funding will continue as long as you make satisfactory progress and complete your degree within 200% of the stated completion time. For example, if a program is expected to be completed in two years, you would need to complete it within four years to maintain eligibility. Part time is an option!

We offer flexible course schedules to help you meet this goal, with classes available in the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, we provide classes during abbreviated summer and winter terms to help you complete your degree or certificate on time!

What are the residency requirements?

The scholarship requires students to live in Maine at the time of enrollment and while enrolled in the program. Living on campus counts as living in Maine. The first day of enrollment is considered the first day of class.

What if I am not eligible for state or federal grant aid?

You still qualify for the free college scholarship. If you are not eligible to file a FAFSA due to citizenship status, the Free College Scholarship will automatically be applied to your account.

Do I have to start right away?

There is flexibility with your start date. You must be enrolled in a certificate or associate degree program before the following timeframes;

  • 2022 grads – No later than Fall 2024, Spring 2025, or Summer 2025
  • 2023 grads – No later than Fall 2025, Spring 2026, or Summer 2026
  • 2024 grads – No later than Fall 2026, Spring 2027, or Summer 2027
  • 2025 grads – No later than Fall 2027, Spring 2028 or Summer 2028
Are there other ways to get free college?
  • Free Early College: any high school student can take up to 12 free college credits at any community college in Maine. Even if you exceed 12 credits, tuition is half-price. Talk to your guidance counselor or email to learn more!
  • Free Short-term Workforce training: With Maine Quality Center funds, Maine Jobs & Recovery funds, and a mix of private investments, EMCC offers free short-term training programs to thousands of workers every year. Visit to learn more or email to get on our mailing list.
  • Free college through State and Federal Grants: Community college is already free for many students, you just don’t know it! About half of all degree-seeking students at Maine Community Colleges receive enough grant aid to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees. 74% get some form of grant aid, lowering the total cost of enrollment. The Pell Grant is one of the most common. To find out if you qualify for the Pell Grant, fill out your FAFSA.
  • Existing Tuition Waiver policies:
    • Adult Education students
    • Service members or Veterans
    • Students from Foster Care
    • Native Americans from regional tribes
    • Low-income parents via HOPE Program (DHHS – Higher opportunity Pathways to Employment) and PaS Program (TANF – Parents as scholars)
    • Children or spouses of Maine public servants killed in the line of duty
    • Senior Citizens