Lewiston student saving thousands off college costs

LEWISTON — Tim Stretton, 18, a college freshman at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, has shaved thousands of dollars off the cost of his college education.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Tim Stretton, 18, of Lewiston is a full year ahead at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, thanks to the college classes he took during high school.

He's putting himself through college with loans and by working full time at Burger King. While a Lewiston High School student, Stretton took part in Early College, which allows juniors and seniors to take college classes for free while in high school.

Stretton took eight college courses in high school, racking up 24 college credits, enough to make him a sophomore and allow him to graduate in three years instead of four.

The Early College program pays for one college class for high school juniors and seniors per semester, or four during the two years.

Stretton did twice that, paying for four of the eight college classes himself. Even with that, he's saving about $5,000 on his tuition.

"I always wanted to go to college," Stretton said. "I figured doing it this way it would save me a lot of money."

Stretton heard about Early College when he was a high school freshman. "I had to wait until I was a junior," he said.

In the fall of his junior year, he took his first college class at Central Maine Community College. The class was psychology. He was 16.

He remembers the first day. The professor asked each student to stand, say their name and their major.
"I said, 'Hi. I'm Tim. I'm a junior at Lewiston High School.' All the heads turned."

It was an awkward, intimidating moment.

"But the other students were really cool and really interested" why he was in that class. "Some of my professors were, too."

In the spring semester of his junior year he took another CMCC class. That summer he took another.

In the fall of his senior year, he took one Early College class at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College, plus three classes at CMCC, which he paid for himself.

He succeeded with that load because "the only high school classes I needed to graduate were English and government." He took those classes, plus math and physics. Attending classes at Lewiston High, the L-A College and CMCC was a bit much, he acknowledges.

"It was rough," he said. "Plus I did an internship with the mayor." He also served on the Lewiston Youth Council and worked 20 hours a week at Burger King.

"There were some sleepless nights with homework, especially at the end of semesters with papers." While doing homework, sometimes he wanted to stop. He motivated himself to keep working by telling himself he couldn't stop until he finished that page. "As I finished the page I thought, 'I can do one more.' I really pushed myself."

Sometimes his college classes enhanced his high school learning. "My junior year I took 'America in the Cold War' college class. That went right along with my history class. In my senior year I took political science classes. That went with my high school government class."

Stretton is thinking about a career in political science and international studies, or maybe public administration, or maybe teaching.

Joan Macri, the former aspirations lab coordinator at Lewiston High School, praised Stretton for recognizing he could begin his college career as a high school student and taking advantage of the opportunity.

"He took cool courses like 'The Media and Politics,' which are not offered in high school," Macri said. "And he saved a ton of money."


For more information on Early College, contact a high school guidance counselor, or if your high school is in Androscoggin County, contact Joan Macri at 753-6625, or go to http://collegeformeandroscoggin.org/pdfs/EarlyCollegeClassesBrochure2009...

Macri coordinates the Early College for ME-Androscoggin, working with nine high schools: Lewiston, Edward Little, Oak Hill, Lisbon, Poland, Buckfield, Leavitt, Vineyard Christian and Livermore Falls.

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Michael Hobbs's picture

College expensive here? I am

College expensive here? I am currently in college and it's costing me a whole 3 maybe 4 grand at most. Just like Florida residents if they went to a Florida college. So, your theory on smaller population equals higher cost is false.

Keith Dutton's picture

Well Candacanne, your

Well Candacanne, your experience is NOT typical in the state of Florida, which is ranked 46th in school spending. We previously had our three children in the Leon County (Tallahassee) system. When we moved to Illinois in 2002, our kids had to take courses to catch up because they were so far behind.

You kill your own argument in your first paragraph. Of course there is no comparison between highly-populated and congested Florida and Maine.

I'm glad your daughter has succeeded despite your pessimism.

Michael Hobbs's picture

Not to bash Florida or

Not to bash Florida or anything, I lived there for a while and everyone thought Maine was part of Canada.? If they are so "advanced" and what not then someone needs to teach the more geography. Also, my ex-girlfriend was in an advanced class high school class, but the odd thing is I had already taken the same class 2 years earlier in Maine.

 's picture

Oh honey please! ANYBODY

Oh honey please! ANYBODY can get into the University of Phoenix. LOL! Get over yourself...


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