Under a new program, first year Maine students could be tuition free. Those who qualify for the need-based federal Pell grant will be eligible for elimination of out of pocket tuition and fees across four campuses in the University of Maine system.

The program will be available on campuses in Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Augusta, and Machias. According to centralmaine.com, students still have to pay for room and board, books and other costs, but they qualify for work-study programs and other aid to help with those expenses. This program will provide about 124 students an average of $1,800 to $1,900 per year for about 125 students, costing UMPI about $225,000 per year, according to Chris Bell, director of student financial services. The program arrives on the heels of the first U Maine tuition increase in six years.

About 1,000 students will be eligible.