High school students can take courses at University of Southern Maine (USM) for free through the Early Study Aspirations program. The courses award four full college credits and many meet in the afternoons and evenings, at times that generally work with high school schedules. Adults aged 65 and older are also allowed to enroll for free.

Offerings include heritage language classes, such as Arabic, French, Somali, and Spanish. Fluency in these languages can help students compete in fields like international business, diplomacy, and health care, according to Claire Holman, lecturer and dual enrollment coordinator in the Department of Linguistics at USM. In addition, Maine has a huge need for world language teachers.

Enrollment is ongoing, and students are encouraged to apply before August 13, because some courses need more enrollment to run, such as Somali, and August 13 is the day administrators make decisions about classes.

For information: https://usm.maine.edu/early-college/early-study-aspirations-eligibility.

Visit the University of Maine System’s Early College Webpage for information about the online ExplorEC application. See “Training Materials” for step-by-step instructions on how to set up an ExplorEC account and search for classes. Or email:

[email protected].