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USM offers First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship to new and returning students

In recognition of the risks first responders and front-line essential service providers take every day in service to their communities during the pandemic, the University of Southern Maine is proud to announce a new scholarship worth up to $1,000 per eligible student. 

The new First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship will be offered to 50 incoming and returning USM students who have been serving in first-responder roles or providing front-line critical services during the pandemic. Based on their demonstrated financial need, eligible students will receive the scholarship award of up to $1,000 for the 2020–2021 academic year. The new scholarship is available to students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at USM’s campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston–Auburn. 

USM President Glenn Cummings said the scholarship is an expression of thanks on behalf of the university community and an acknowledgment of the roles first responders and front-line critical service providers are playing in keeping Maine citizens safe, healthy and fed during the pandemic. 

“During this period of unprecedented challenges, we have come to understand just how essential these people are to keeping us going — as individuals and as a society,” Cummings said. “It’s only fitting that we recognize the importance of the work they are doing and the risks they are taking by helping to make their college education more affordable. I look forward to personally thanking these students for their commitment to keeping us safe and sound, and for choosing the University of Southern Maine.” 

New and returning USM students seeking the First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship must complete and submit an application by 4:30 p.m., June 30, 2020. Eligible students will be notified of their scholarship award on July 15, 2020.

To be eligible for the USM First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship applicants must be new or returning degree-seeking USM students that have enrolled or will enroll in courses for the fall 2020 term. Eligible students must be able to demonstrate employment working as and/or certified as a first responder or essential front-line service provider by sharing a supervisor’s name for employment verification. Preference will be given to students who are enrolled full time (12 credit hours for undergraduate students or 6 credit hours for graduate students) for fall 2020. Eligible students also must have completed the 2020–2021 FAFSA form and have demonstrated financial need. 

To acknowledge and support a wide range of students, USM has broadly defined eligible first responders and front-line essential service providers as including, but not limited to, health care professionals, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, grocery store employees, delivery services workers and transportation providers.

Funding for the First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship is made possible in part by the generosity of donors who made financial contributions to USM this year in support of annual scholarships.


New and returning USM students can learn more and apply for the Essential Workers’ Scholarship at usm.maine.edu/scholarships/usm-first-responders-essential-workers-scholarship.