ORONO, Maine (AP) — Applications for first-year admission to the University of Maine System among students in the state are down 13% from a year ago, the school reported.

The system said in a statement Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic has upended the typical college search process, which usually includes fairs, tours and visits. Applications from in-state students have declined more than twice as fast as out-of-state applications, the system said.

The Finance Authority of Maine has also reported a 6% year-over-year dip in Free Application for Federal Student Aid completions by Maine's high school seniors.

The University of Maine System, the finance authority and the Maine Department of Education said they are working on new pathways to help students make decisions about college.

The university system said in a statement that the new One Track for College campaign “will deliver a dozen instant, individualized, and all-inclusive college counseling and decision-making events promoted regionally across Maine in partnership with local school counselors and educators.”

In other pandemic news in Maine:



The positivity rate in Maine has held steady over the past two weeks.

The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 7.02%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine rose over the past two weeks from 6.89% on Dec. 31 to 7.02% on Jan. 14.

Public health authorities in Maine have recorded more than 32,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The state has also recorded 477 deaths.



Maine's congressional delegation said the state has been awarded about $90 million to help with distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

The funding is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The money will also be used to support testing, contact tracing and mitigation efforts, the delegation said.

“In the midst of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis, it is critical for Mainers to be able to access COVID-19 vaccines and testing,” the delegation said in a statement.

The state has reported more than 70,000 total vaccinations in the state. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, received her first dose of the vaccine on Friday, state officials said.