We are excited to announce that MaineCAN's College Access Directory is now available for public use! This directory will allow individuals to connect with college access organizations and resources available to them in their area. We welcome your feedback as we continue to provide this valuable resource for Maine residents. 

If your college access program or organization is not represented in this directory, please complete the directory survey

First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative in 2011. The initiative is intended to inspire all students in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university. Reach Higher is part of the President’s North Star Initiative to once again lead the world and have the highest proportion of college graduates. America currently ranks 12th globally.  The Reach Higher Initiative strives to show all students the action steps needed to complete their education, including:

  • Exposing students to college and career opportunities
  • Understanding financial aid eligibility that can make college affordability a reality
  • Encouraging academic planning and summer learning opportunities
  • Supporting high school counselors who can help more kids get into college

Maine is in the process of forming a Coalition for College Completion Team. We are currently working to bring together partners from the state to discuss how to best help achieve the goals outlined above. The Coalition for College Completion Team will be meeting soon to begin discussions regarding ways to increase the number of Maine students that are career and college ready by the time they graduate from high school. If you'd like to be a part of this team, please email Nikki Vachon at For more information about the goals of this team, click here

In an effort to keep people informed about what is happening nationally to support college access, we've created a weekly paper containing national college access updates. This weekly paper will be posted to MaineCAN's Facebook page or you can subscribe on the home page of the latest edition.

We'd love to hear your feedback about this new way to distribute information. Please email us with comments and suggestions.  

On Friday, March 4, 2016, four high school teams competed at the Portland campus of UNUM for the opportunity to represent Maine in the national LifeSmarts competition! United Technologies Center of Bangor, Mt Ararat High School (SAD 75) from Topsham, Waynflete School of Portland, and Woodland High School from Baileyville participated in a round robin competition with the winning team receiving an all-expense paid trip to the LifeSmarts final competition in Denver on April 9-12.  Students were quizzed on five key areas: personal finance, consumer rights and responsibilities, health and safety, the environment, and technology. The four finalist teams achieved the highest scores on a LifeSmarts online test.

As we've seen in year's past, the final match was a nail biter, with United Technologies Center emerging as the victor. The team put together a great public service announcement around their LifeSmarts experience. Click here to enjoy this clip.  Congrats to the team and their coach, Amanda Peterson. Best of luck at nationals! 

To learn more about LifeSmarts, visit
Representatives from GEAR UP Maine were in attendance at the State House Hall of Flags.  They spoke to many senators and informed those in attendance about GEAR UP Maine. To see more about this day, and hear about the other participating organizations click here.  
The MELMAC Education Foundation held it's MELMAC University conference at the Samoset in Rockland on March 8th, 9th, and 10th. The approximately 325 college access professionals in attendance heard from distinguished speakers, Senator Brian Langley, USM President Glenn Cummings, and Commissioner Bill Beardsley (pictured here with MELMAC Education Foundation's Executive Director, Wendy Ault). Speaker focused on the work that is being done in the legislature and within our higher education institutions to help support Maine students to aspire to and through post-secondary education. 

Additionally, attendees also heard about statewide financial aid resources and college access programing available to school professionals. Many attendees remarked on the wealth of information and best practices presented to them and commented on how excited they are to return to their schools to continue their work.  
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has released the results of its Maine State Grant College Completion Study, which was undertaken as a result of a grant it received from the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). The report measured a variety of student criteria, including college completion rates, financial need, institutional enrollment, and ages of grantees. The study was authored by Lisa Plimpton of Plimpton Research and is available to view and/or download here.
Webinar: The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success

March 17, 2016 
3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Join this webinar to learn how Pell Grant recipients fare at over 1,000 public and non-profit four year universities. First of its kind research from the Education Trust highlights best practices of institutions serving Pell Grant recipients well. Additionally, see a demonstration of the Pell Grant Graduation Rate Tool, which advisors can use to see the Pell Grant recipient graduation rate for each of these institutions. The tool includes state by state comparison charts as well. Presenter: Andrew Nichols, Ph.D., Director of Higher Education Research and Data Analytics at The Education Trust.  
If you have a resource, opportunity, or great news to share and would like to see it included in MaineCAN's eNews, please contact Kate Leveille at
The Maine State GEAR UP program is funded through a grant (reference #P3345050037; James Davis, Project Officer) from the U.S. Department of Education to University of Maine at Farmington managed by Syntiro.