Book icon Historical Maine Education Research


Previously, our research has supported our mission by providing data to inform policymakers and public opinion about college enrollment, persistence, and completion in Maine, and policies and practices that can expand Maine students’ access to and success in college. Although this policy-oriented approach has faded, we continue to collect a wealth of information on the formulas for college success that we make available for the benefit of all. Past research partners include Educate Maine, Great Schools Partnership, the MELMAC Education Foundation, the Maine Department of Education, and the University of Southern Maine.

College Aspirations Research

For past generations of Mainers, a high school diploma and strong work ethic were often enough to achieve a comfortable lifestyle and economic stability. Today, that is no longer the case. As the job market has shifted away from manufacturing toward a knowledge-based economy, post-secondary education has become the key to individual prosperity and reliable economic security.

In partnership with several organizations, including MELMAC, Maine Community Foundation, and the Great Schools Partnership, we have conducted several surveys of student and educator perceptions of college-going.

Maine College Enrollment Data Project

In partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse, the Mitchell Institute distributed detailed reports on recent graduates’ college enrollment trends to all Maine public high schools. This aggregated data also allowed for state and regional estimates to provide context and inform policymakers and the public about these trends.

Maine Education Indicators

From 2011 through 2014, we helped to collect and calculate data for Educate Maine’s annual Indicators report. In earlier years, we collaborated on indicators research with the Maine Compact for Higher Education, one of Educate Maine’s precursor organizations.

Early College

The Mitchell Institute has conducted several studies of early college course-taking opportunities for Maine high school students. Our report from January 2008, Early College in Maine: Expanding Opportunities, summarized student outcomes from the Access College Early program, which was supported by the National Governor’s Association from 2005 to 2007. An extended report, with more detail on models and implementation, is also available via the link at right.

Other Education Research

The Mitchell Institute also conducted a variety of other Maine education research. Examples include evaluating the college enrollment patterns of participants in the Maine College Transitions adult education program and a white paper on higher education policy issues, which was commissioned by the Maine Community Foundation.