Too often, a college degree remains out of reach for Maine’s talented young people. The University of Southern Maine’s Promise Scholarship program helps students take that next step to higher education — and a chance to transform big dreams into reality.

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 little or no debt — prepared to make their own contributions to Maine’s social and economic well-being.

Our program supports up to 100 scholars every year – approximately 25 in each class – with top-off, multi-year scholarship awards that covers 100% of a scholar’s demonstrated need, as determined by the FAFSA, in meeting the cost of tuition, fees, housing, and meals. The Promise Scholarship award amount varies by student and is on-top of a scholar’s other aid including federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships. The Promise Scholarship program is designed to enable students to graduate in four years with minimal to no debt. With your help, we can sustain the Promise Scholarship at USM for generations to come.

Answering a Critical Need

The Promise Scholarship Program opens the door to Maine students who face very real challenges. Among Promise Scholars:

  • 100% of scholars demostrate financial need
  • 72% are first-generation college students
  • 67% of scholars receive Federal Pell grants for limited-income families
  • 28% of scholars lack access to any federal financial aid

USM Promise Scholars will have the financial, academic and personal support they need to overcome these challenges, graduate in four years, and pursue their dreams. Higher education is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve people’s lives and grow our economy. That’s why an investment in The Promise Scholarship is an investment in Maine.

Empowered by Partnership

Unique to the Promise Scholarship, our program partners with Maine’s youth-development organizations, who help identify and provide recommendations for motivated young people who aspire to earn a college degree. Maine’s youth-development organizations play a transformative role in the lives of young people. By collaborating with these essential organizations, we are creating a path forward for young Mainers of limited means and unlimited potential.

“The partnerships between the USM Promise Scholarship and Maine’s youth development organizations are priceless. Not only do they provide opportunities for Maine students to attain post-secondary education, but also they create a continuum of support for youth with incredible potential, to reach that potential.”

– Christina P. McAnuff, Executive Director, Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute

Leading By Example

The Promise Scholarship Campaign is co-chaired by Carolyn and Richard McGoldrick, who were inspired through their own philanthropic experience to donate their time and a generous seed gift to launch this ambitious effort to endow the Promise Scholarship.

The Promise Scholarship Campaign is an initiative of the USM Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to support the University of Southern Maine through philanthropy, community engagement, innovation, and service. Students are at the center of the Foundation’s mission.

Supporting Our Scholars

The Promise Scholarship invests in Maine students with a multi-year scholarship that aims to meet 100% of students demonstrated need to ensure students graduate with minimal debt.

Total scholarship funds awarded since 2018
Average scholarship awarded annually
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Promise Scholars with zero student loan debt