Maine considers textbook assistance plan for some students

January 26, 2022 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine might create a state fund to help students enrolled in early college courses afford their textbooks.

Democratic Rep. Maggie O’Neil has proposed a bill that would create the Textbook Cost Assistance Fund within the Maine Department of Education. O’Neil said she made the proposal after Saco students said textbook costs can be a barrier to accessing the state’s early college program.

The early college program allows students to earn credits through community colleges and public universities in the state. They then start college with credits already in hand.

The proposal was the subject of a hearing before the Maine Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The Maine Principals’ Association testified, but did not take a stance for or against it. The association said in its testimony that it was concerned about the vagueness of the bill, and wanted to know who would cover the cost for students in need of assistance.

The legislative committee is slated to hold a work session on the proposal in the weeks ahead.