Fun fact:  The state of Maine covers nearly 31,000 sq. miles of land. Of that, 90% of the land is covered by forests, which amounts to nearly 17 million acres of trees.

While the Pine Tree State is home to that many trees, 3,500 miles of coastline, tons of delicious lobster and other great natural resources, it is also home to numerous, high-quality college financial aid programs for its residents.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and the Maine Community Foundation handle most of the distribution of funding from programs in the state like the Maine State Grant Program, the Guy P. Gannett Scholarship, the Francis X. Langlois Scholarship Fund and the Adult Learner Scholarship Fund. There are other third-party scholarships as well such as the Futurama Foundation’s Lemieux-Lovejoy Youth Scholarship.

Maine State Grant Program

The Maine State Grant Program is a need-based grant awarded to college-bound Maine students who complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are no separate forms to fill out in order to apply for the program.

To be eligible for the program though, a student must also:

  • Be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate program at an eligible Maine postsecondary institution
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that does not exceed the maximum EFC set in any given academic year
    • For the 2020-2021 academic year, the maximum EFC was $10,000. For the 2021-2022 academic year, it is set to be $7,000

As long as the student files their FAFSA annually, they will be eligible to receive funding from the program, though the amount of funding the student receives can vary annually.

The funds are paid directly to the student’s postsecondary institution and credited to the student’s account, so the student will not physically see the money. The maximum award amount for the 2020-2021 academic year was $1,500. Some students who are not enrolled full-time, but are at least enrolled part-time, could receive funding for up to $750 as well.

Guy P. Gannett Scholarship

The Guy P. Gannett Scholarship is a journalism scholarship for incoming college freshmen.

Gannett launched the Portland Press Herald in 1921 and had a major impact on the journalism landscape in Maine. The scholarship was created by his granddaughter in 2000 to help Maine students pursue careers in the journalism field.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a Maine resident graduating from a Maine high school and must attend that high school at least during their senior year
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding
  • Demonstrate academic achievement
  • Demonstrate an interest in the journalism field via their coursework and extracurricular activities
  • Major in a journalism field in college such as any form of print journalism, broadcast journalism or electronic media
  • Complete and submit the scholarship’s online application

The scholarship is renewable as long as the student demonstrates a significant increase in their intent to pursue a future career in journalism after graduation.

The scholarship’s funds can vary from student to student based on the student’s financial need, academic achievement, level of education and involvement in the journalism field. Typically though, the award amount can range from $1,000 to $60,000.

Francis X. Langlois Scholarship Fund

The Francis X. Langlois Scholarship Fund is a program dedicated to helping those students majoring in healthcare fields afford to attend college.

To be eligible for the program, a student must be enrolled in a healthcare major and complete and submit the online scholarship application.

A student can be eligible for the program by attending a Maine college, university or technical school, but can be a resident of any state OR a student can be a Maine resident and attend a college, university or technical school in any state.

The award amount for the scholarship varies annually based on available funding.

Adult Learner Scholarship Fund

The Adult Learner Scholarship Fund is geared toward non-traditional students who want to change their lives via education and training. There are two versions of the Adult Learner Scholarship:  the Short-Term Credential Award and the Long-Term Scholarship Award.

There are different criteria students need to meet for each award, but the common eligibility criteria they share are that students must:

  • Be enrolled full-time or part-time
  • Complete and submit FAFSA
  • Complete and submit either award application
  • Are encouraged to use a college prep course and/or academic advisor before applying such as:
    • Maine College Transitions
    • Maine Education Opportunity Center workshops/advising
    • New Ventures Maine’s My Next Career Move Program
    • Finance Authority of Maine College Access Counselor
    • Maine Career Center Advisor
  • Be considered a non-traditional student

To be considered a non-tradition student, a student must meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • Be 25 years old or older
  • Work full-time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled
  • Have dependents other than a spouse
  • Be financially independent from the student’s parents for FAFSA purposes
  • Not have received a standard high school diploma – must have received a GED, HiSET or certificate of completion instead
  • The student’s postsecondary enrollment must have been delayed for a reason other than normal gap-year activities

The scholarships’ selection committee decides on which applicants receive funding based on the student’s financial need for funding, the amount of appropriate preparation for their program of study, if their plans to reach their educational goals are solid or not, and the student’s commitment to staying in Maine after completing their education.

Short-Term Credential Award

The Short-Term Credential Award is literally just what it sounds like:  an award for extremely short-term programs. To be eligible for the short-term award, a student must:

  • Be enrolled in a program that lasts less than a full semester
  • Earn a certificate or workplace credentialNOT a degree–at the end of the program
  • NOT need to renew the award in order to finish their program

The program has a rolling deadline of the first day of each month and students are encouraged to apply at least one month before their program begins. The selection committee makes their recipient decisions within three weeks.

If a student is deemed as a recipient for the short-term award, they can receive up to $1,500, though the amount can vary based on an individual’s needs.

Long-Term Scholarship Award

The Long-Term Scholarship Award is the alternative to the short-term program. To be eligible for the long-term program, a student must:

  • Be enrolled in a program that lasts more than a full semester
  • Earn a 1- to 2-year certificate or a 2-year or 4-year degree at the end of their program

A student can renew their award in order to finish their program. Students are encouraged to apply for the award well before their program is slated to begin. The deadlines are mid-June and mid-November and the committee makes its selections within six weeks.

If a student is deemed as a recipient for the long-term award, they can receive between $1,500 to $5,000, though the amount varies on an individual’s needs.

Lemieux-Lovejoy Youth Scholarship

The Lemieux-Lovejoy Youth Scholarship is sponsored by the BPW/Maine Futurama Foundation and is designed to assist female students financially so they can afford their first year of postsecondary education.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a female Maine resident
  • Be graduating or have graduated from a Maine high school
  • Be enrolled as a freshman at an accredited postsecondary institution for the upcoming academic year
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding
  • Have a realistic, attainable goal relating to their educational plans
  • Submit a completed application form which includes:
    • A statement of financial need completed by a financial aid official and/or guidance counselor
    • Official transcript(s) from high school and/or college
    • Verification of acceptance from their chosen college
    • 2 letters of recommendation (from people like a school official, a teacher, an employer, etc.)
    • A hand-signed statement from the student describing the student’s educational, personal and career goals

If a student is selected as a recipient, the scholarship funding will go directly to a student’s school so the school can apply the funding to the student’s second academic term. The scholarship can be for up to $1,500 as well.

Major Maine Colleges and Universities

Despite being home to mostly trees, Maine actually has quite a few high-quality colleges and universities. Some of the more popular schools include:

  • Bates College in Lewiston (private school)
  • Colby College in Waterville (private school)
  • Husson University in Bangor (private school)
  • Maine Maritime Academy in Castine (public school)
  • University of Maine in Orono (main campus; public school)
  • University of Southern Maine in Portland (public school)

Maine may not get a lot of flashy media attention, but it should be held in high regard for the various types of quality college financial aid it offers to its college-bound students.