5 Scholarships for Students in Maine

The northern and easternmost state in the contiguous “lower forty-eight” lies on a craggy outcropping of coastline, directly bordering Canada and the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The state of Maine is known for many reasons, nearly all of them complimentary. Nicknamed “The Pine Tree State,” Maine is renowned for its natural beauty, with sweeping forests, rolling fields, and rocky coves where the surf meets the turf. It is dotted with picturesque seafaring cities such as the largest population center of Portland, where you can almost taste the brine in the air. To this end, the state historically prides itself on its seafood production, leading the country in harvesting lobster and clams.

What many do not know is the state’s motto does not refer to crustaceans, lumber or ports; rather, it reflects an innate ability of the state’s residents. From the Latin verb meaning “to lead or direct,” the state’s mantra of Dirigo represents the ability of Mariners to take charge, delegate tasks, and guide others (or themselves) along the way. Here are a few scholarships for Maine college students:

A lighthouse in Maine next to the ocean.

Chet Jordan Leadership Award

Deadline: April 15

Amount: Varies

This scholarship honors Joseph “Chet” Jordan, a Portland, Maine resident. For Maine high school seniors, this scholarship awards those who demonstrate great leadership qualities. Additionally, these students must plan on attending a college, university, technical school, or the Maritime Academy in Maine.

State of Maine Grant Program

Deadline: May 1

Amount: $1,500

What comes to mind when the word “FAME” flashes through your mind? If it’s something financial, you’re spot-on; although, perhaps, not in the way you think. Maine’s FAME (Finance Authority of Maine) agency initially helped startup businesses in the state and later branched out to other areas, financial aid included. The widely utilized program requires that students file their FAFSA forms by May 1. Based on their FAFSA results, the grant program will determine if they are eligible for financial assistance. Grant funds then go directly to the college in a relatively quick and simple process, ensuring every Maine student an equal chance at a high-quality education.

Guy P. Gannett Scholarship Fund

Deadline: April 1

Amount: Varies

Named for the iconic Maine resident and media mogul who owned many newspapers across the state, the Maine Community Foundation awards the Gannett Scholarship to a student entering journalism or a “reasonably similar field”. It seems, in regard to the latter clause, your mileage may vary, as the parameters aren’t well defined. Other factors necessitated for eligibility include being a resident of the Pine Tree State, a high level of academic performance, and a serious commitment to your chosen discipline. The financial stipends of the scholarship awarded depend on factors such as average tuition costs and donations to the foundation.

Maine Legislative Memorial Scholarship Fund

Deadline: May 1, 2020

Amount: $1,000

Founded through an act of the state’s government, MES (Maine Education Services) sets out to ensure that their state’s natives (or those that call it home) are well-looked after when they go into college. In order to be eligible for the award, students must be Maine residents who plan to go to school in-state. Additionally, the scholarship takes into account aspects such as academic achievement, community service, and financial need. Students must submit a short 300-word essay. One student from each of Maine’s sixteen counties receives a scholarship of $1,000, for a total amount of $16,000 awarded.

Mainely Character Scholarship

Deadline: TBD for 2021 (Opens January 1, 2021)

Amount: $5,000

The Northeast Bank, R.M. Davis Wealth Management, and MarketDecisions Research give out this pun-tastic award. As the name suggests, it takes character and ethical values into consideration above all else, a highly non-traditional format for an educational grant. The four values that make up “character” to the organization are courage, integrity, responsibility, and concern; the Maine student selected for the award will be someone who the powers that be deem best espouses these characteristics. The application process for this relatively abstract-slash-subjective trait involves a written essay and a face-to-face interview. The winner of the scholarship receives $5,000 towards tuition at their chosen college, main(e)ly to help them set their feet as they take off towards their degree.

And remember, most Maine colleges and universities offer their own specific scholarships to students who attend their schools, so make sure to look for those as well!


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