University of Maine System Gives Free Tuition to Those Impacted by Lewiston Shooting

The Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver will benefit over 80 survivors and family members of those who died in the October mass shooting. Recipients can use the waiver at any University of Maine System school.
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Published on December 1, 2023
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  • The waiver will benefit those injured in the shooting and the spouses, children, and stepchildren of those who died.
  • The Lewiston Strong Scholarship Fund will go toward covering other college expenses, with priority given to waiver recipients.
  • Earlier this year, Gov. Janet Mills signed a new budget giving high school graduates two years of free community college.

The University of Maine System (UMS) is giving free tuition and fees to people injured in an Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. Family members of those killed in the shooting are also eligible.

The gunman, 40-year-old Robert Card, killed 18 people and injured 13 others at a bowling alley and bar before killing himself, according to NPR.

Gov. Janet Mills, UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy, and the board of trustees announced Nov. 29 that those who were physically injured and surviving family members of those who died in the shooting can earn bachelor's degrees tuition-free at any of the seven UMS schools through the Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver.

"I thank the University of Maine System for establishing the Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver and Scholarship Fund, which will ensure that the cost of higher education will never be a barrier for those directly impacted by the tragedy in Lewiston," Mills said in the press release.

"Through their boundless generosity, Maine people are demonstrating that our state will stand by those who were injured and the families of those who were killed in the months, years and decades to come."

The tuition waiver will benefit over 80 individuals, including those injured in the shooting and spouses, children, and stepchildren of those who were killed. Recipients 20 and older can also complete the University of Maine at Presque Isle's YourPace online degree program for free.

UMS also established the Lewiston Strong Scholarship Fund for those impacted by the shooting to help with other college costs with preference given to people eligible for the waiver.

"Beyond unimaginable grief, we know there is also overwhelming anxiety about financial and other responsibilities for those directly impacted, especially for those who are suddenly single parents or who were physically injured because of this horrific mass shooting," Malloy said.

"Our hope is that by committing to cover these college costs, it will alleviate one of the many burdens these families are now unfortunately facing and make it easier for them to rebuild their lives and our community."

Earlier this year, Mills signed a new state budget that gave high school students graduating in 2024 and 2025 access to two years of free community college. The original program began for students who graduated between 2020 and 2023 to combat workforce shortages in high-demand areas and boost student access to higher education.