The state of Maine is making progress toward administering single accreditation for all schools that are a part of the University of Maine System. The accreditation will accommodate all of the University of Maine locations at Farmington, Orono, Augusta, Fort Kent, Machias and Presque Isle, and will include the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
Currently, each university receives a different accreditation given to them by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), regardless of the fact that they are all part of the University of Maine System. For a university to have and maintain an accreditation signifies to the NECHE that they have acquired a certain quality level. Eesha Pendharkar of the Bangor Daily News describes accreditation as “essentially a stamp of approval that shows it meets a benchmark of equality.”
The Chancellor of the University of Maine System Dannel Malloy proposed a recommendation for a state-wide single accreditation which was approved by the board of trustees. Pendharkar writes how this improvement has the potential to benefit the 300,000 students in the system, as well as the educational institutions themselves because it means each of the universities will be working together more closely.
The single accreditation will benefit students who are taking courses at other universities because it helps to ensure that most, if not all of the classes taken, will be transferable between campuses. Additionally, high school students deciding to take advantage of the UMaine courses offered at many high schools around Maine will be ensured the credits will be applicable at any of the UMaine locations.
Furthermore, UMaine is trying to increase its numbers of high school students taking courses at the university. The credit high schoolers earn through the University of Maine System can be transferable, and in the past has been applicable to any of the UMaine institutions. Often, these courses stand in place of traditional Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which require students to take an assessment at the end of the year. If the student is not able to score a three or above on the AP test, they often will not earn any transferable credits from that semester’s work.
Students who have taken classes in high school through the college system find it very beneficial once they reach a university. Jasper Sommer, a third-year student, took advantage of the opportunity to gain college credit while still in high school. Sommer had taken courses at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland throughout his high school career and earned college credits in psychology, multiple calculus courses and statistics.
“Taking these courses at USM really helped me along with my degree at UMaine before I even knew it. All the courses I took transferred here which has sped my progress along. I would strongly recommend it to any and every high school student to take advantage of this opportunity,” Sommer said.
Bethany Rozzi, a second year, also took classes through UMaine while still in high school. Rozzi, who took a math class online through the university, is grateful for the opportunity to get ahead in her college credits.
“It was definitely a financially smart move to take math in high school. I have the credit now, and it’s one less course I have to take in the future,” Rozzi said.