Think 30 program helps reduce student loan debt

Think 30, an initiative at the University of Maine that encourages students to complete 30 credits per year, aims to help students graduate in four years while saving money and reducing their debt.

The Think 30 initiative began as an outgrowth of the Provost’s 2014 Action Plan for Retention and Graduation.  

“The University of Maine is very committed to helping students graduate in a timely manner and thus lower their student debt. We know that the average student debt for a typical UMaine student increases by 36 percent when they finish in five years, and by 52 percent when they finish in six years, as opposed to four years. So, if students can plan their schedules carefully and graduate in four years, they can save thousands of dollars,” Monique LaRocque, the Associate Provost for the Division of Lifelong Learning, said.

According to the UMaine Office of Institutional Research, the average student’d debt upon graduation is $21,696 if they graduated in four years, $30,022 if they graduated in five years and $33,004 if they graduated in six years.

Think 30 promotes a Winter Session, Summer University and year-round online courses that helps students meet their graduation goals. The Winter Session is a three-week session that offers approximately 20 high-need courses for undergraduate degrees.

Summer University begins during May Term and accommodates students’ busy work schedules and need for high-demand courses.

They also have online classes that are offered year-round.

“Conflicts in schedule can be a barrier for students looking to get the right courses they needs [sic] towards graduation,” LaRocque said. “UMaine is committed to reducing barriers and opening up the schedule to allow more flexibility, so students get the courses they need year-round. We encourage students to take advantage of Winter and Summer sessions, as well as online courses year-round.”

University-wide, the four-year graduation rate is 38 percent. The five and six-year graduation rate is about 55 percent. Think 30 offers general elective courses as well as upper-level major courses to help students get the courses they need to graduate in four years.

This past Winter Session had a final enrollment of 678 students. “We were pleased with the number of students who took advantage of Winter Session and we expect that number to grow next year,” LaRocque said.

Over 3,200 students took advantage of Summer University courses this past summer.

You can find the course catalogs and more information about the sessions on their website,

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