At UMFK, there are several alternative ways to earn credits or degrees. A student may earn credits or a degree through the collaborative courses and programs offered by the University of Maine at Presque Isle; a student may earn credits through Rural University programs such as Early College Maine Aspirations, Early College Plus, Concurrent Enrollment, Valley U, Rural U Workforce, and AP4ME and a student may earn credits through the following modalities: Cooperative Education, Prior Experiential Learning, Directed Study, and Independent Study.
University of Maine at Presque Isle
The University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) collaborates with The University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), located at 181 Main St, Presque Isle, Maine, to deliver both programs and courses. Students on the UMFK campus may attend courses on the UMFK campus delivered by UMPI or enroll in online courses delivered by UMPI. For those courses being offered by UMPI, the student will register through the UMPI campus. The enrollment will be recorded on the student’s transcript at UMPI, and on the student’s UMFK transcript as transfer credit once the course is successfully completed.
Rural U Early College and Concurrent Enrollment Program
Rural U is the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s early college and concurrent enrollment program. Throughout the evolution of early college initiatives in Maine, UMFK has become a leader in providing quality early college and concurrent enrollment experiences. What started in the campus backyard has expanded to more than 100 high schools in the state. There are six programs under Rural U: Early College Maine Aspirations, Early College Plus, Concurrent Enrollment, Valley U, Rural U Workforce, and AP4ME.
By providing a variety of early college options to students and their schools, Rural U ventures to bring that sense of pride and academic spotlight to other small communities around Maine through streamlining operations, ensuring academic quality and integrity, and providing appropriate student supports for success in their early college endeavors. Incorporating live courses in schools, video technology, and on-line/asynchronous classes, Rural U strives to:
- Increase academic rigor for students in rural communities
- Provide an affordable pathway to college
- Provide opportunities for rural high school students to experience college learning
- Provide opportunities for rural high school students to earn college credits
- Increase post-secondary aspirations for rural Maine students.
- Increase high school and university collaborations, efficiency, and alignment
Early College (Maine Aspirations)
Early College (Maine Aspirations) is a program in which students take live or online courses for college credit. This program is not exclusive to UMFK, but the University does work with school partners to ensure that appropriate student and academic support structures, both at school and on campus, are in place. Maine Aspirations students can earn up to 12 credits per year.
Tuition is free for students. The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Aspirations program, pays the early college tuition rate at UMFK for up to 12 credits per year. There are no fees for early college classes (except for the occasional course fee). Students and their parents/guardians are responsible for course materials and books.
Students that complete a Rural U course will have grades placed on an official UMFK transcript, which can be added to if the student attends UMFK or can be transferred to another college of choice. For ease of transferability students are encouraged to take General Education courses.
Early College Plus
Early College Plus is the same as Early College (Maine Aspirations) except for one difference. In Early College (Maine Aspirations) individual students take early college classes. In Early College Plus, a cohort of high school students in one school are grouped and are enrolled in the same online class with the oversight and assistance of a school appointed learning manager who is in regular contact with the UMFK faculty member teaching the class.
Concurrent Enrollment is defined as UMFK courses being taught at partner high schools by high school teachers qualified and approved as UMFK adjunct faculty. The courses are taught during the regular school day and can last one semester (3 credits) or a full year (3-6 credits).
Courses are aligned with courses already being taught at the high school. Course curriculum must be the same and be aligned with all of UMFK’s learning outcomes, rigor, and assessment. Teachers are also required to regularly provide evidence of rigor, assessment, and sample student work.
Tuition is free for students. The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Aspirations program, pays the early college tuition rate at UMFK for up to 12 credits per year. There are no fees for concurrent enrollment classes (except for the occasional course fee). Students and their parents/guardians are responsible for course materials and books.
Students that complete a concurrent enrollment course will have grades placed on an official UMFK transcript, which can be added if the student attends UMFK, or can be transferred to another college of choice.
Valley U (Formerly Pleasant Street Academy)
Valley U is Maine’s first early college high school model. Established in 2011, it is a partnership between the University and Fort Kent Community High School. Students enroll as juniors and seniors and have the opportunity to earn up to 33 credits by graduation. Courses are taught both at the high school via concurrent enrollment, on the UMFK campus, or online. Classes count toward both core high school requirements and UMFK general education requirements.
Students that complete a Valley U course will have grades placed on an official UMFK transcript, which can be added to if the student attends UMFK, or can be transferred to another college of choice.
Valley U is funded in the same manner described above in the sections on Maine Aspirations Early College and Concurrent Enrollment.
Rural U Workforce Early College Pathways
Rural U Workforce is a program that provides early college students the opportunity to pursue a “first semester’s worth” of credit in a specific major and career area while still in high school. There are Rural U Workforce pathways available in Nursing/Healthcare, Business, Forestry, Environmental/Biological Sciences, Criminal Justice, Behavioral Science, and Computer Science.
AP4ME (Formerly AP4ALL)
AP4ME, formerly known as AP4ALL, provides online Advanced Placement courses to any Maine public high school student. Established over a decade ago by the Maine Department of Education, AP4ME is now under the auspices of the University of Maine System and is administered by UMFK.
AP4ALL courses are all taught online by qualified instructors. Course curriculum must meet all of The College Board’s learning outcomes and requirements. AP4ME offers up to 16 AP classes per year. AP4ME classes are free and all course materials are free, online open-source materials.
Cooperative Education is the integration of classroom theory with practical experience. In the program, students have specified periods of attendance at the University and specific periods of employment in industry, business, government, or service agencies.
Academic credit for Cooperative Education will be awarded for job-related learning, which can be documented and measured. The amount of credit to be given will depend on three criteria: nature of the work, length of the work experience, and academic value of that work experience. Before the beginning of each new semester, the student must prepare a proposed study plan and submit it to the faculty advisor within the major and to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The proposal should include concise statements on the course area, topic, or problem on which the student will focus; reasons for doing this particular study, and how this will increase the professional expertise in relation to career objectives. Criteria will be established by the student and the instructor in terms of how performance is to be judged and how those criteria will be met by concrete evidence of accomplishment.
The maximum amount of credit that may be earned for one semester of full-time work experience is eight (8) Cooperative Education credits (based on the formula that 80 hours of full-time supervised work = one academic credit). No more than eight Cooperative Education credits may be earned in the same type of work experience.
A maximum of eight credits earned in Cooperative Education may be applied, with the approval of the chair of the appropriate division and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, to the student’s major. Four Cooperative Education credits may be applied, with the same approvals, to the student’s minor.
A maximum of sixteen Cooperative Education credits may be applied toward requirements for a baccalaureate degree, and a maximum of eight Cooperative Education work experience credits may be applied toward requirements for an associate degree.
Each student must get advance approval of the request from the chair of the appropriate division and from the Vice President for Academic Affairs to apply Cooperative Education work experience credits toward satisfaction of requirements for major or minor studies.
Eligibility and Employer Requirements
The Cooperative Education option is open to all students who meet the following minimum requirements:
- Have attained a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 overall or 3.0 in major.
- Are recommended by the appropriate faculty advisor.
- Have completed a minimum of 45 semester hours of university credit or an associate degree.
- The final determination of eligibility will rest with the employer. A student must be interviewed and accepted by a potential employer to become a participant in the Cooperative Education program.
Credit by Examination
CLEP and DSST are credit-by-examination programs conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and administered through Student Support Services that provide an opportunity for UMFK students to receive credit for their education required in non-traditional environments. A maximum of 60 credits may be earned through a combination of these available challenge exams, to be completed before the student begins their junior year. Students may not receive credit-by-examination for courses they have previously attempted. Students who have successfully passed higher level courses in a subject may not take challenge exams for additional credit in that subject. Exceptions to the indicated policy may be approved by the Director of Student Support Services.
However, students may take foreign language exams to satisfy degree requirements, demonstrate proficiency, and receive credit beyond the junior-year cutoff if they have not completed courses in the language at UMFK.
Transfer students may take challenge exams, CLEP, DSST during the first three semesters of matriculation at UMFK regardless of previously completed course work.
The charge for DSST is $80 per test. The charge for CLEP is $77 per test. A nonrefundable deposit of $10 is required with registration for each test. The remaining $77/$80 must be paid at the time the test is administered by check or credit card. Additional information may be obtained through Student Support Services. Testing will be conducted on an ongoing basis. Students must register 48 hours in advance.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
The University of Maine at Fort Kent recognizes that enrolled students may have developed knowledge and skills from previous employment, experiences, training, or through degrees/diplomas, licenses, or certification from other agencies. Where possible, UMFK attempts to honor a student’s past experiences by granting credit for these prior learning experiences.
Prior Learning Credit Guidelines:
- Be currently matriculated and enrolled at UMFK
- Be within the first two semesters of being admitted or readmitted to UMFK
- Have a minimum current cumulative grade point average of 2.0, and
- Be willing to demonstrate, upon request, the knowledge or skills appropriate to the course for which the individual is seeking credit.
*Please note that credits awarded through the PLA process are nonresident credits and do not satisfy the minimum credit hour residency requirements for graduation.
The Four Different Pillars of Prior Learning Assessment are described as follows:
- Standardized Tests - UMFK offers 31 CLEP and 14 DSST exams conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). These exams are administered through Student Support Services located in the Learning Center. There is an $80 exam fee plus a $10 non-refundable registration fee per test. UMFK’s Nursing Division offers Challenge Exams in Nutrition, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology. Contact Denise Potvin at 207-834-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register and make arrangements at a test site near your home. A $35 exam fee will be charged to your student account after completing a challenge exam. UMFK accepts Advanced Placement (AP) exams with a score of 3 or higher. AP exams are administered by the American College Board with the official results sent directly to Registrar’s Office.
- Military Training & Experience - UMFK will award credit for learning that occurred during US military service based on the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines. Please submit your military transcript to the Registrar’s Office.
- Credential Review - Specific credentials, licenses, and/or training may equate to college credit. For further information on Credential Review contact the PLA coordinator at 834-8647.
- Academic Portfolio - The portfolio is a mechanism used to validate the acquisition of knowledge and skills congruent with course expectations and student learning outcomes. The review process is available to students who believe that they can meet the learning outcomes/competencies required of a specific course. Each application for the evaluation of artifacts should be limited to courses in one discipline that can be evaluated by one faculty member in that discipline. If a student wishes to get PLA credits for multiple courses across multiple disciplines, which would require the expertise of more than one faculty, the student must divide the courses into separate applications such that an individual faculty member can process each application.
- A student’s portfolio provides objective evidence that they have acquired content and skills through prior learning and/or practice experience. The decision to accept the documentation provided is based on a determination of the equivalency of this prior knowledge and skill which a student would be expected to demonstrate at the completion of a specific course.
Components of the PLA portfolio are:
- Letter of Intent
- Resume/Chronological Work History
- Course Syllabi
- Narrative Description
- Support Evidence
- Credit for Past and Experiential Learning Application
If a student feels they have experienced college-level learning outside of a higher education institution and would like to discuss potential options, may contact the PLA coordinator at 834-8647 or speak to their advisor for further instruction.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio Eligibility Review and Decision Process
The University of Maine at Fort Kent enrolls many students who have developed knowledge & skills from their own reading programs, work, and other experiences, or through licenses or certification from other agencies. Where possible UMFK attempts to honor prior learning by reviewing and granting credit for these types of learning. The process involves a good deal of work for both the applicant and the evaluator. The process should therefore not be seen as an easy way to get credit.
- Applicants must be currently matriculated and enrolled at UMFK.
- Applicants must have a current cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
- Applicants must be in the first or second semester following admittance or re-admittance to UMFK.
- Applicants who have earned a certificate, license, or completed a rigorous training program must present official certifications or documents from the institution at which the credential was earned for evaluation. The student should write a letter of intent and enclose it with official documentation.
- Students petitioning for Prior Learning Assessment portfolio evaluation of academically qualifiable work experience must follow the PLA portfolio standards and work closely with the PLA coordinator.
- Students must identify the course(s) for which they are seeking credit and the number of credit hours they believe the experience is equivalent to. Where possible, the University recommends the student attempt to equate the experience with an existing course(s). Students may obtain copies of UMFK course syllabi from the Academic Affairs office, faculty, or PLA coordinator.
Review and Decision Process
- Once all steps of the Prior Learning Assessment process are completed by the student it will be presented to the reviewing faculty member and/or Division Dean for review. Students will be charged a $75.00 review fee for all Prior Learning Assessment reviews.
- The portfolio will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis and the learning demonstrated must be considered 70% or higher.
- The reviewing faculty and/or Division Dean may recommend one of the following three options:
- Award Full Credit: Evaluators can award the full amount of credit petitioned by the student, with rationale for awarding credit.
- Deny Credit: Evaluators can deny credit completely, with rationale for awarding credit. The student may request to appeal the decision and complete the appeal process.
- Request an addendum or interview: Evaluator may request additional information or an interview before making a final credit determination. After the addendum material is submitted with the original portfolio or an interview is completed, the evaluator has the option of either awarding or denying credit. If credit is denied the student may request to appeal the decision and complete the appeal process.
- Recommendations will be submitted to the Academic Affairs and final determination of the credit hours to be granted will be the responsibility of the Academic Affairs office.
- Once the student’s PLA request is approved for credit it will be assessed a $50.00 per credit charge.
- The Academic Affairs office will submit approved PLA requests to the Registrar’s office for required action.
If the reviewing faculty member and/or Division Dean denies the student’s PLA request the student may request in writing, within 10 business days of the denial, to appeal the reviewing faculty and/or Division Dean’s decision. The student should ask for an explanation of the denial and clarification of the information missing from the request. Once the reviewing faculty and/or Division Dean receives the request they must provide the student with the requested information within 10 business days and provide the student with a PLA portfolio resubmission due date in which the student must complete the requests of the reviewing faculty member and/or Division Dean and resubmitted required information by this date in order to have their portfolio re-reviewed (with no additional review fee charged).
Under the direction of a faculty sponsor, a Directed Study provides students the opportunity to complete an unavailable course that is required for timely graduation (e.g. course not being taught, course canceled due to low enrollment). The material covered in a Directed Study is the same as the material covered in the traditional course. Directed Study differs from Independent Study in that the faculty sponsor provides the direction for the student’s work, and that the course is one that is traditionally taught at UMFK. Students should always take required courses when traditionally offered; Directed Study is never a substitute for a UMFK offered course and is an exception due to extenuating circumstances. Procedures to be followed are:
- The interested student and faculty member complete the Directed Study proposal form. Learning outcomes, work to be completed, and methods of evaluation must be included. (Forms are available at www.umfk.maine.edu/forms.)
- The proposal is then submitted to Division Dean for approval. Approval is granted if the proposal meets all requirements (see below).
- The student begins and completes the project during the indicated academic term on the form. The faculty sponsor must assign a grade at the end of the indicated term of the directed study form.
Directed Study is open to all students who meet the following minimum requirements:
- Students must be either juniors or seniors in baccalaureate programs or sophomores in associate programs.
- Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
- No other available course within the time-to-graduation timeframe satisfies the requirement and/or may be used as a substitution.
- Students generally will not receive approval for a Directed Study if the requested course is being traditionally taught during the requested term of the Directed Study or within the timeframe to graduation, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Additional information concerning Directed Study is available from the Registrar or the Academic Affairs office.
In an Independent Study, with the supervision and guidance of a faculty sponsor, a student develops a course of special interest, research project, field study, practicum, or special readings proposal which centers on an area of study not included in the UMFK regular course offerings. Independent Study is never a substitute for an offered course or for a course not successfully completed. Credit for the proposal must be recommended by the faculty sponsor at the time the study is presented by the student. Credit will vary between one semester hour and four semester hours. A student may enroll for one course of independent study at a time with a maximum of 20 hours applicable towards a baccalaureate degree.
Independent Study presupposes a developed competency and maturity; consequently, participation in the program is restricted to students who have accrued a cumulative point average of 2.5 or a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the student’s major. A student who does not meet the qualifying criteria, but develops a proposal that merits Independent Study status, should consult with a prospective faculty sponsor to assess the possibilities for successful completion of the project. Procedures to be followed are:
- The interested student and sponsoring faculty member completes the Independent Study Form. Measurable objectives, work to be completed, and methods of evaluation must be included. (Forms are available at www.umfk.maine.edu/forms.)
- The proposal is submitted to the Division Dean for approval.