The Promise Scholarship


Too often, a college degree remains out of reach for Maine’s talented young people. USM’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.

 “I have learned from my own journey, and the triumphant journey of others, that hope is not enough. We must The Promise Scholarship does just that. It provides those in the shadows with an opportunity to step out from the darkness and into a light that they will become part of and will then seek to pass on.”  

 –Steve Pemberton, Walgreen’s Chief Diversity Officer; Author, A Chance in the World; Keynote speaker at the Promise Scholarship launch event on October 2, 2017


Answering a Critical Need

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

  • 100% are first-generation college students
  • 65% of eligible students receive Federal Pell grants for low-income families
  • 100% cannot afford college without scholarships

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.

FAQs: Learn more about the Promise Scholarship program design, candidate qualifications and more.

Empowered by Partnership

Unique to USM's program is our partnership with Maine’s youth development organizations. USM coordinates with these partner organizations, which often serve Maine's most disadvantaged young people, and look to them to recommend strong candidates for The Promise Scholarship. Learn more about our Promise Partners.

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

Your Gift Will Change Lives

Our goal is to support up to 100 Scholars every year through endowed and spendable funds – approximately 25 in each class – with personalized scholarship awards that bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and fees and each student's financial aid package, including Pell grants, state aid and merit scholarships. The Promise Scholarship program is designed to enable students to graduate in four years debt-free. With your help, we can sustain the Promise Scholarship at USM for generations to come.

Contact the USM Foundation to learn more about the Promise Scholarship and how you can support our campaign.




Every big dream starts somewhere