The federal Department of Education is giving nearly $800,000 to Maine public universities to provide help for low-income and first-generation students who want to go to college.

The agency is awarding the money through the Talent Search Program and it will be used to help students graduate high school with academic support and get financial counseling for college.

The education department is giving more than $500,000 to the University of Maine System and more than $200,000 to the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

The University of Maine System says it expects the Talent Search Program will provide services to more than 1,000 students in grades six through twelve. The Presque Isle university expects to serve 500 more in targeted rural school districts here in northern Maine.