Maine Student Grants for College
Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money
With the rising cost of higher education today, nearly every student is looking for ways to reduce the money they will need to pay out for their extended learning. In addition to the rising cost, nearly every employer is looking for prospective employees who have college degrees.
Two Popular Grants
There is no difference anywhere throughout the United States. Maine students are looking to supplement any federal aid that they may receive with state grants. Two grants that are easily found Maine students include the Barking Foundation Grant and the Nextgen Student Grant Program.
The Barking Foundation Grant is a $3000 grant which is awarded yearly to undergraduate or graduate students. The number of grants available each year varies.
The Nextgen Student Grant Program is a grant from $400 to $1000 to a varying number of undergraduate students each year who are residents of Maine.
Barking Foundation Grant
Eligibility for this grant is determined by financial need and residency. In general, the foundation considers a resident of Maine to be any person who has residency in Maine for the four years prior to the application for the grant.
The degrees eligible are any undergraduate program, either in state or out of state, where students are pursuing a first time bachelor's or associates degree. The number of grants available each year varies, but the amount of the grant is $3000 and is for a period of one year.
When considering the applications, the Foundation reviews financial need, residency, academic performance, application essay, responsibilities of the student, and references. There is no appeal process if the application is denied. This grant can only be awarded to students two times.
NextGen Student Grant Program
NextGen offers several different ways for Maine residents to receive a grant for higher education. The first grant available is a Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant which is awarded to Maine resident babies who open a NextGen account under the age of one.
The next is known as the Initial Matching Grant which is awarded to families who open a NextGen account. First, a bit of information about NextGen. NextGen is a college savings program which qualifies as a Section 529 savings account.
It is administered by the Financial Authority of Maine, known as FAME.
Harold Alfond College Challenge
The Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant is a $500 grant awarded to babies under one year of age upon opening a NextGen account. The requirements include only that the child be under one year of age when the NextGen account is opened and that they be a resident of Maine.
The Initial Matching Grant is a $200 grant made available to families who open a NextGen account with a minimum balance of $50. There are a few other eligibility requirements to receive this grant. The family's adjusted gross income must be $75,000 or less. The NextGen account owner or beneficiary must be a Maine resident.
The NextGen account beneficiary has not already received an Initial Matching Grant or the Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant during the same year. In addition, in order to retain the Initial Matching Grant monies, the account holder must make minimum contributions of at least $200 for the five years following the award.
These grants are available for numerous degree programs. In addition, there are some specialized degrees which have grants available to them. Nursing students can apply for the Carol Constante Research Grant.
This grant is available for students currently practicing nursing or enrolled in nursing school and are interesting in doing research into the impact of nursing school on education. For students interested in a degree in mortuary, there is the Mortuary Education Grant.
This grant is intended for students enrolled in a funeral services program and demonstrate financial need. In addition to the above listed grants, numerous scholarships and federal aid is awarded each year to many students in and around Maine. Information can be found on many websites regarding these programs.
Main College of Art
The Maine College of Art also offers grants to students who demonstrate a financial need planning to attend their school. The Maine Alliance for Arts and Education has many grants that can be used for higher education as well as used to build programs for better education.
The Maine Art Commission offers three grants yearly, one in each of these programs: Visual Arts, performing arts and literary arts. In addition, several different schools may have other available grant programs that are offered once a student is enrolled.
When deciding to further your education, your first stop should be filling out the FAFSA application. This application is required to receive the Federal Pell Grant and any state funded grant programs.
After these have been granted, if you find you need additional funding, then begin applying for any other grants that you may find. Some schools have grants that are obtained by students solely based on the fact that they need more funding to finance their education.
The financial need is usually determined based on the EFC, or expected family contribution, calculated by the FAFSA form. The Mitchell Institute established a program to assist Maine students with higher education costs.
This is a $2500 or $5000 grant determined by financial need, academic performance and community service. $2500 is awarded to students in a two year program, $5000 is awarded to students in a four year program.
State Funded Programs
Maine does not feature many state funded grant programs and therefore students will be reliant on student loans and scholarships as well as self pay options. Work study programs are generally available through the college or university which offer students the opportunity to work for pay to help finance their higher education.
Private grants are often awarded through individuals and companies which there is no listing of on the sites for recommended grants. Sites can be found for federally funded grants as well as sites for private grants and scholarships. Many Maine students find themselves utilizing the federal student loan program to finance their education.
Maine ScholarshipsScholarships are another area altogether. There are many state sponsored scholarships available to Maine students. However, competition for these scholarships is usually quite high due to the number of students applying for and qualifying for them.
National grants and scholarships are also easily found although again, competition for these are also very high. If you are not offered any of the above grants and your federal funding does not cover your costs, apply for as many scholarships as you believe you are qualified for.
After exhausting these possibilities, you may need to consider the federal student loan program which will provide financial support for your education related expenses. These loans do not have to be paid back until you have completed your education.
Using a Combination of Grants
For most students, a combination of federal grants, state grants, and scholarships help them to reach the goal of paying for their education. For some, they are forced to apply for student loans to assist them. Student loans can help with a lower interest rate as well as a deferred repayment schedule.
In addition, check with your employer. Many offer tuition reimbursement programs for classes that will help you in your current job and pay for things such as necessary books and supplies. If you've exhausted every option, you may have to consider paying out of pocket while in school. If this happens, just work with your financial aid office at your school and try to set up a payment plan that is something you and your family can afford.
Understanding Your Options
Understanding the financial aid system will be very helpful to you. Once you show the financial aid department that you have exhausted every other option, they may in turn offer you a tuition waiver grant. This waives the cost of tuition and allows you to continue your education with just the financial aid you have been able to secure.
As with everything in life, preparing for college well in advance will help relieve the tension of this situation. Utilizing NextGen to save money early in life will provide you with funds to pay for your education when the time arrives. Other programs of this type are also available such as Upromise among others.
Making College Aid Work in Maine
While there are not many grants funded by the State of Maine, you can find the above listed grants through other organizations simply by searching for college grants in Maine. The information is readily available. One just needs to sit down and filter out the incorrect information and misdirection that can be found as well.
Furthering one's education is very important today. Employers want well educated experts in their companies and representing them. Obtaining a degree in the field of your choice may require some creative thinking on your part, but it can easily be done with a little bit of effort and a little bit of work.
Most grants and scholarships require an essay be provided with the application as well. It's best to sit down and figure out your essay ahead of time, making appropriate changes to it for the various applications, but having a good base essay to start with. This is good way to decrease the amount of time you will be required to put into a search for grants and scholarships.