Maine scholarships and grants can help students pay for college. Many are only for Maine residents attending Maine colleges, but some Maine financial aid can be used at other state’s schools as well. Here are just a few of the scholarships and grants available to Maine students:
- State of Maine Grant Program
This grant program is for undergraduate students and is based on financial need. To apply, students must fill out the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov before May 1st. Students must be enrolled at least half time at an eligible institution. Each year, the maximum Expected Family Contribution for this award is changed, so you must not exceed the maximum EFC if you are to receive the grant. In 2011-2012, for instance, the maximum EFC was $2,000. You will get your EFC calculation after filing the FAFSA, and if you are expected to contribute less than the maximum EFC, you will be eligible for some level of the State of Maine Grants.
These grants come down through specific colleges and universities, so questions should be directed to the financial aid office of your college or university. The eligible universities are in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. Award amounts vary, with the largest going to full-time students at Maine’s private universities and institutions. Awards can range from $250 for part-time students at out-of-state colleges to $1,250 for full-time students at private Maine colleges.
- Educators for Maine Program
This program is a merit-based forgivable loan program meant to help keep great teachers in Maine. Students pursuing careers in teaching, speech pathology, child development, and childcare can all apply for this award. Students who are graduating seniors, undergraduates, and graduates already accepted into postsecondary programs can apply for this award. Students must be pursuing their initial certification for teaching, speech pathology, or childcare to apply for this award. Also, students must be Maine residents with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
To apply, students must fill out the FAME application by May 1st. The applications include information about academic performance, awards and honors, activities related to teaching, and an essay. This award is renewable so long as the student continues to maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 and fills out the FAFSA every year. Students must also maintain Maine residency, even if attending out-of-state schools.
The maximum loan amount for an undergraduate student is $3,000 a year annually or $12,000 total. The maximum loan for a graduate student is $2,000 annually or $8,000 total. For each year of loans received, students will need to work one year as a full-time teacher, speech pathologist, or childcare provider in Maine. In certain circumstances, the state will forgive part of the loans on a prorated basis.
One interesting thing about this program is that you are not restricted to in-state schools. The loan can be used at any accredited US university so long as you maintain Maine residency and fulfill work requirements after graduation. Failing to fulfill work requirements will mean being required to pay back the loan with interest.
- Tuition Waiver Program
Maine has two different tuition waiver programs. One is for foster children and the other is for public servants. Students must be Maine residents who have graduated from certain secondary schools or who have completed the GED. Students must also either be the child or spouse of a firefighter, police officer, or EMS personnel killed in the line of duty, or must have been a foster child in the custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services when they graduated from high school or took the GED, or they must be adopted or a ward of someone who receives subsidy from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Students are selected on a first-come, first-served basis for this award. The funding for this program is limited, which means students should apply early. To apply, they must complete the FAFSA and the FAME application, available at www.famemaine.com. Students can use the award at all University of Maine schools, all Maine Community Colleges, and at Maine Maritime Academy.
- Quality Child Care Education Scholarship
This scholarship is for child care majors and future child care professionals. It is a need-based scholarship for Maine residents attending qualified Maine colleges and universities. Students must file the FAFSA to show that they financially qualify for this award. Students who are in a non-degree program related to early childhood education can fill out an online application. Those who are in a degree program must apply through their college or university.
Students are selected based on the availability of funds. Students in degree-granting programs are chosen by their school, with larger universities choosing more students. Students who are not in degree-granting programs are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding is no longer available for that year.
The award is for $500 per course but does not exceed the total cost of tuition. Students are awarded for no more than two courses per semester or no more than $2,000 per year. The participating colleges include Andover College, Beal College, Central Maine Community College, CDA York, Eastern Maine Community College, Northern Maine Community College, Southern Maine Community College, the University of Main system, the University of Southern Maine, York County Community College, and Washington County Community College.
All of the above listed scholarships and grants are administered through the Finance Authority of Maine. More information about these scholarships, including due dates, award amounts, other scholarships that are similar, and applications, can be found at www.famemaine.com. There, you can also find Maine scholarships and grants like the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, the Brunswick Naval Air Station Scholarship, the Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship, the Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program, the Maine Health Professionals Loan Program, the Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program, and the John R. Justice Grant Program.