PORTLAND, Maine — Officials at the University of Southern Maine say they’re rolling out a $15 million plan to help provide a four-year college education for disadvantaged students in the state.

USM President Glenn Cummings says the “Promise Scholars” program is a major piece of the university’s future. The school says it will fund half the tuition and expenses of its scholars.

USM says it wants to eventually broaden the program to help 100 students per year. The Portland university touted the initiative with an Oct. 2 announcement and says it has raised nearly $4 million toward the $15 million goal so far along with the USM Foundation.

USM says the program is accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year.

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