Promise Scholarship


The Promise Scholarship is designed to help underserved young achievers from Maine overcome financial, academic, social, and cultural barriers, remain in school, and graduate in four years with minimal debt — prepared to make their own contributions to Maine’s social and economic well-being.

The Promise Scholarship supports up to 100 scholars every year, approximately 25 in each class, with top-off, multi-year scholarship awards that aims to meet 100% of a scholar’s demonstrated need in covering the cost of USM tuition, fees, room, and board expenses. Our program promotes access and equity in earning a college degree, therefore awards vary based upon a student’s eligibility for other federal, state, and institutional aid to ensure college remains affordable for all.

The application for the scholarship will open on January 1st with applications due by March 15th.

Nominate a student: partnering youth-serving organizations and Maine school counselors may nominate prospective candidates by completing this short nomination form.

Letters of Support: if you are supporting a student who has applied for the Promise Scholarship, please provide your responses to the prompts or upload your letter of support here.


To be eligible for the Promise Scholarship applicants should:


  • be an incoming first-year or transfer undergraduate
  • have applied & been admitted to a degree program at the University of Southern Maine
  • be a resident of the State of Maine
  • demonstrate financial need
  • plan to be enrolled as a full-time student (12 credits or more each semester)


Preferred, not required:

  • be a first-generation college student (neither parent has earned a bachelor's degree)
  • be referred from a partnering youth-serving organization

Award Amount

Awards are multi-year and vary based upon a student’s eligibility for other federal, state, and institutional aid.


March 15

How to Apply

  1. Complete the application form (link will be posted on January 1st)

  2. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if eligible

  3. Submit at a least one (1) letter of support; maximum of two (2)

How to Renew

  • Maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA; First-year, first-time Promise Scholars may earn a 2.0 GPA during their first year and still maintain eligibility for the Promise Scholarship. Promise Scholars would be required to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.5 in subsequent years.

  • Attend the Promise Scholarship Immersion Week Experience that occurs the week prior to their first fall semester.

  • Regularly participate in Promise Scholarship Program events, services and workshops.

  • Recipients are highly encouraged to give back to the community through volunteer service, mentoring, or supporting USM activities.


Daniel Barton
Director, Promise Scholarship Program
323 McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Success, 35 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04101
Disclaimer: Be sure to read the criteria for individual scholarships carefully. Most scholarships have enrollment and GPA requirements. Award amounts may vary each year and are subject to fund availability. As an NCAA Division III school, USM is prohibited from awarding scholarships based on athletic participation.