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
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 can now be accepted through May 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, ninety-two applicants have been selected to become Alfond Leaders. Cumulatively, awards now total over $2.9 million and the average award is $31,600.
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.
Graham Garland of Saco, Maine was named an Alfond Leader in the fall of 2018. He is a Manufacturing Engineer at Fiber Materials Inc. in Biddeford Maine. Graham graduated from the University of Maine and started his engineering career at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Graham recently shared this about receiving the award: “My fiancée and I love living in Maine; we chose it for the quality of life, the proximity to family, and the culture. However, being burdened by student loan debt hindered us from achieving our goals. So many classmates, coworkers, and friends of mine are limited with it, as well; it’s a systemic problem for young Mainers. We shouldn’t have to build our lives around this debt, but we’re very fortunate to have help from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Because of this program, we’re able to start our family sooner, establish a secure life here, and give back to the local economy. It opens new doors for us in home ownership, work flexibility, and travel. We are grateful for the opportunity and are looking forward to our future living and working in Maine.”
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
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.
About the Finance Authority of Maine
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that expands business and educational opportunities to help Maine people and businesses succeed. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs by working at the nexus between economic development and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.FAMEmaine.com.