There are many opportunities and community resources that are available to help support New Mainers pursue English language study and higher education.

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Scholarships for Maine Immigrants: The mission of Scholarships for Maine Immigrants (SMI), formerly Portland ESL Scholarship Fund, is to help local immigrants and refugees gain the English language and career skills necessary to achieve their educational and professional goals. Since 2000, SMI has awarded over 400 scholarships and $200,000 to fulfill this mission.

To Apply for SMI, please follow the steps below:

  • Meet SMI’s eligibility criteria (Please read here).
  • Carefully read the application packet (Please find here).
  • Make an appointment with USM ESOL Program Coordinator, Michelle Perry ( or (207) 780-4365
  • You must sign-up to take the ESOL department’s placement test (Please sign-up on this page).(Please sign-up on this page).
  • You must submit all documents listed in the application packet to USM ESOL Program Coordinator, Michelle Perry, by the appropriate deadline:
    • Fall Semester – July 15
    • Spring Semester – December 1