The Alfond Leaders student debt reduction program provides student loan repayment assistance to people who live and work in Maine in a STEM- (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) designated occupation at a Maine-based employer. Alfond Leaders may qualify for loan repayment up to half of their outstanding student loan balance at the time of application to the program, not to exceed $60,000.
New in 2020, students who have or will complete their degree or certificates within months of application cycles are welcome to apply. The loan repayment awards made to recent college graduates (those who graduated between May 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020) or students who will be graduating (between September 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021), if selected, will not be finalized until they have begun a STEM position in Maine and have relocated to the state.
Alfond Leader applicants must submit a complete application and all required documents which are due to FAME on or before the application deadline, this includes: your online application, official college transcripts, current resume, and copies of all loan statements.
There will be two application periods per year; one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring application period is now closed. The current application cycle opened September 15 and will close on November 15, 2020.
How do I apply? +
To apply, STEM professionals should use this application. Recently graduated (since May 1, 2020) STEM students and STEM students graduating between September 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021 should use this application.
There are two application collection periods per year; one in the spring and one in the fall. The current application cycle is September 15 and will close on November 15, 2020.
Please note a complete application and all required documents are due to FAME on or before the deadline, this includes: your online application, official college transcripts, current resume, and copies of all loan statements.
Complete the online application, including uploading supporting application documents:
- Official college transcript
- Most recent statements of all outstanding student loan debt
If you are selected as a finalist, you may be requested to participate in an interview. Additionally, if selected as an awardee, you will be asked to provide an employer certification to complete your eligibility requirements.
*Please be sure to provide an updated resume which includes specific, measurable outcomes resulting from your STEM skills and accomplishments.
Who is eligible? +
- Maine residents or persons who will become Maine residents upon being hired by a Maine- based employer
- A person employed, or who will be employed, by a Maine-based employer in a designated STEM occupation. Click here for a list of STEM occupations.
- For the Fall 2020 application cycle, eligible applicants must have a higher education degree or certificate; or have recently graduated with a degree or certificate between May 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020; or be completing their degree or certificate between September 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021.
- An applicant must have outstanding student loan debt.
- Preference may be given to applicants working full-time in certain STEM occupations as determined by FAME in cooperation with the Alfond Leaders Advisory Committee.
What is a Maine-based employer? +
A Maine-based employer is one that:
- Operates a place of business (has a physical corporate office) located within Maine; and
- Is required to withhold Maine income tax with respect to its employees.
Which loans qualify for repayment? +
Both undergraduate and graduate student loans are eligible for Alfond Leaders student loan repayment. Original student loans as well as refinanced or consolidated student loans are eligible, provided they were specifically for education expenses. Parent loans are not eligible.
How are recipients selected? +
Applications are reviewed with the Alfond Leaders Advisory Committee. If you are selected as a finalist, you may be requested to participate in an interview. Alfond Leaders for the Fall 2020 application cycle, which runs from September 15 and will close on November 15, 2020, will be selected and notified of their selection approximately in December 2020.
What are the award amounts? +
Alfond Leaders may qualify for loan repayment up to half of their outstanding student loan balance at the time of application to the program, not to exceed $60,000. Awards are paid in two installments; the first installment will be paid after three years of qualifying employment and the second installment will be paid after an additional three years of qualifying employment. An estimate of each debt reduction installment for an individual will be calculated at the time of selection as an Alfond Leader and based upon that individual’s outstanding student loan debt at the time of application to the program as well as subject to other terms and conditions. Note that a debt reduction payment will never be more than the remaining balances of your student loans at the time of payment.
Alfond Leaders must provide an annual eligible employment certification to verify three years of continuous employment prior to the first and second payment installments. Additionally Alfond Leaders must submit annual certifications of continuous Maine residency and answer a program questionnaire.
There is no credit given for time worked by an Alfond Leader prior to his/her acceptance into the program. The “clock” for qualifying employment begins after an applicant has been selected to be an Alfond Leader. The employment “clock” for selected graduating students will begin on the first day of the calendar quarter immediately following confirmation that they have both begun a STEM position in Maine and have relocated to the state. Employment and relocation to Maine must occur on or before September 1, 2021 for recipients selected from the Fall 2020 application cycle.
How are funds paid? +
Funds are paid directly to your student loan servicers.
Resources for Maine employers +
Maine employers can use this program to retain or recruit employees
Get the word out about Alfond Leaders to your current employees and be sure to send them to AlfondLeaders.org for more information and/or to apply for the program. Additionally, encourage your talent recruitment staff to become familiar with the Alfond Leaders program as they look to bring in STEM workers from out-of-state who may be eligible to apply to be an Alfond Leader. Click here for an information sheet about Alfond Leaders that you can share with existing and potential employees.