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Maine eyes plans to make college more affordable

AUGUSTA (AP) -- Supporters of bills aimed at making college more affordable in Maine say doing so will boost degree completion and yield significant benefits for the state.

The Education and Cultural Affairs committee on Wednesday began examining a bill Wednesday that directs Maine schools to study a pilot program being developed in Oregon that makes college tuition free for students who agree to pay back the state after they graduate and get a job.

The bill's sponsor, Assistant Senate Republican Leader Roger Katz of Augusta, says one of the biggest questions that remains is how the state would pay for start-up costs.

Another bill would have the state develop a strategy for reducing higher education costs. Under the bill, the state would examine the Oregon model and others.