$60,000 Student Loan Repayment Program Helps Maine STEM Professionals

Alfond Leaders Program Seeking More Applicants for Student Loan Debt Relief

Funded by the Harold Alfond Foundation, the Maine program aims to stimulate economic growth in key industries by attracting and retaining STEM graduates and professionals

The Harold Alfond Foundation and the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) opened another application cycle to provide student loan debt relief for Maine residents who are employed by a Maine-based business in the STEM-related fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Applications are now being accepted through November 15, 2019.

The Alfond Leaders program assists Maine employers in attracting and retaining talented STEM professionals by providing student loan debt relief of up to $60,000 per recipient. The grants are awarded through a competitive application process and, to date, 117 applicants have been selected to become Alfond Leaders. Cumulatively, awards now total just under $3.7 million and the average award is $31,400.

Shane Kelly, a transportation engineer at Sebago Technics in South Portland, was named an Alfond Leader in 2018. Kelley grew up in Westbrook and went away for college at Clemson University in South Carolina. He returned to Maine to live and work for the high quality of life here.

Kelly recently shared his story about applying for and receiving the Alfond Leader award in a Facebook Live interview in Fall 2018. “When I learned about the program details, it was another huge plus to living and working in Maine. Being selected for the award helped to improve my outlook by reducing the burden of my student loans. I’m married now and looking forward to raising my family here. I’m glad I came back; Maine has a lot to offer and I don’t plan on leaving. So the commitment to live here and work here was easy to make. This program is a real welcome home to Maine for STEM professionals.”

Applicants will be recruited from across the nation and internationally, and current Maine residents are eligible and encouraged to apply.

An Alfond Leaders Advisory Committee assists in the selection of applicants and recommends candidates. Applicants can apply by visiting AlfondLeaders.org.

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;
  • An applicant must have a higher education degree or certificate;
  • An applicant must have outstanding student loan debt;
  • Candidates must submit an application, including a written essay and resume, a statement of intent to live and work in Maine for six years; an employment certification by a Maine-based employer; and disclosure of the amount, source, and terms of the student loan indebtedness.
  • Those selected to become Alfond Leaders will receive debt reduction payments made on their behalf, paid in two disbursements after three and six years respectively, of qualifying employment.

To learn more about the program or to apply, please visit: AlfondLeaders.org

FAME is a proud member of the MaineSpark coalition. This initiative is a great example of a program that directly helps Maine achieve the MaineSpark goal: by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position Maine and its families for success.

About the Harold Alfond Foundation:

The Harold Alfond Foundation furthers the legacy of Harold Alfond by investing in education, healthcare, youth development, and other philanthropic charitable causes that hold the promise of making enduring transformative contributions to the community and state of Maine. To learn more about the Harold Alfond Foundation, please visit www.haroldalfondfoundation.org.