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Maine will give free college tuition to Lewiston mass shooting victims, families

Maine offers free state university tuition to shooting survivors and victims' relatives
Maine offers free state university tuition to shooting survivors and victims' relatives 00:26

LEWISTON, Maine - Maine is offering free college tuition to those wounded in the Lewiston mass shooting, as well as to the families of the people who were killed.

"Those who were physically injured and surviving family members of those killed in the Lewiston mass shooting last month will be able to attend the University of Maine System for free," school officials said in a statement Wednesday.  

Maine has seven public universities, and the average cost of tuition is just over $10,000. The school system is also setting up a donation fund to cover the non-tuition college costs of anyone affected.

UMS believes over 80 people impacted by the tragedy could qualify to have their tuition and fees waived, including spouses and the biological children, adopted children and stepchildren of those killed. The Maine Attorney General will help determine eligibility.

"By all accounts, those who were tragically killed were deeply devoted to their families and working hard to provide them a strong future. While nothing will bring them back, the University of Maine System believes that the best way we can honor the memories of those taken too soon is to ensure their loved ones can easily access postsecondary education and opportunity," Chancellor Dannel Malloy said in a statement. 

The Lewison Strong Tuition Waiver

Malloy said the "Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver" was developed after Gov. Janet Mills requested a scholarship fund for those most impacted by the shooting.

"I thank the University of Maine System for establishing the Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver and Scholarship Fund, which will ensure that the cost of higher education will never be a barrier for those directly impacted by the tragedy in Lewiston," Mills said in a statement. "Through their boundless generosity, Maine people are demonstrating that our state will stand by those who were injured and the families of those who were killed in the months, years and decades to come."  

Eighteen people were killed and 13 more were injured at a bowling alley and restaurant in the deadliest shooting in Maine history on October 25. The killer, identified by police as 40-year-old Robert Card, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a two-day manhunt. 

Two weeks ago, one of the youngest survivors of the shooting was released from a Boston hospital. Gavin Robitaille, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, was shot in the arm at the bowling alley. 

The 16-year-old was wounded in the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine on October 25, 2023. Mass General Hospital

Robitaille's family said he still needs more surgeries but is lucky to continue his recovery at home. 

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