Maine legislators want college prep program funding back

December 6, 2021 GMT

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) — Legislators from Maine are pushing back against a federal decision to reject a public university’s application for a college prep program grant.

The four members of Maine’s congressional delegation said the U.S. Department of Education shot down University of Maine Farmington’s request for the college prep grant for the first time in more than 20 years. The university runs the program in Maine with Readfield-based company Syntiro and has used it to help thousands of students prepare for college.

The legislators said the rejection leaves the college prep program in Maine with no funding to continue. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, is a federal grant program and the lack of funding would leave Maine as one of seven states in the country with no money for it, the delegation said.

UMaine Farmington President Edward Serna said GEAR UP “has transformed the futures of thousands of Maine students by raising their aspirations and preparing them to affordably attend and complete college.”

The U.S. Department of Education did not respond to a call seeking comment.