AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Community College System trustees have voted to increase tuition by 2.4 percent at the state’s seven community colleges next fall.

Confronting a potential $2.3 million deficit, trustees said Monday that they sought to minimize the first tuition increase in two years. They said the increase amounts to $2 per credit hour, or $60 for a full-time Maine student taking 30 credit hours.

John Fitzsimmons, system president, said students’ ability to pay is limited, with three-quarters of full-time students likely to quality for some amount of financial aid.

Maine’s seven community colleges serve nearly 18,000 credit-seeking students. The system has seen a 76 percent increase in enrollment since 2003.

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