UMF drops application fee

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FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has eliminated a $40 application fee for all prospective students.

“I really like it any time any financial burden to college access is taken away,” Ben Milster, guidance director at Mt. Blue High School, said. “Even a little bit helps.”

This initiative, in combination with UMF’s program Be Home at UMF, shows UMF is working hard to live up to its charge as a Maine liberal arts college that is student oriented and student centered, he said.

The Be Home at UMF program offers freshmen students from Franklin County free on-campus housing for their first year.

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Some elite schools have dropped the fee, he said.  Years ago, colleges started waiving the fee for those who applied online.

“For a Maine public school to say they just want to get a look at you for no charge is real nice,” Milster said.

Farmington is the only college in the University of Maine System that offers free applications.

“We want to make sure that students interested in applying to UMF and benefiting from the UMF experience have every opportunity to do so without barriers,” Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, said in a release. “Reducing costs for students and their families demonstrates UMF’s continuing historic mission to preserve affordable access to higher education for all applicants.”

Nearly 500 U.S. colleges have application fees of $50 or more, according to the UMF release. 

“While many colleges waive the fee for students applying online or with special circumstances or financial need, applicants still pay between $10 and $75 per school when submitting a traditional application, according to U.S. News,” the release stated.

While school counselors encourage students to apply only to schools they are interested in attending, some schools do market heavily, Milster said.  Some students, when asked why they applied to a particular school, tell him they did because “they asked me to,” he said.

This is a loss of revenue for UMF but the gain hopefully goes beyond the loss of application fees, he said.

The new policy takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, and applies retroactively to any first-year, transfer or international students who applied for admission to UMF for the 2015 spring and fall semesters.

For more information on applying, visit www.umf.maine.edu.

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