Scholarships for Adult Learners

Links to online and paper applications will be restored in early January 2019.

Although most Maine Community Foundation scholarships are for graduating high school students, a number were created specifically for adult learners -- sometimes called non-traditional students -- or accept applications from adult learners.There are many definitions of what it means to be a non-traditional student. At the Maine Community Foundation, a student needs to meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered an adult learner:

  • be over the age of 25;
  • have delayed enrollment in college after high school for more than one year and for reasons other than a planned gap year (such as Americorps, etc.);
  • attend college part-time; work full-time (35 hours/week or more) while being enrolled; have dependents other than a spouse;
  • be financially independent from parents;
  • or did not receive a standard high school diploma (completed with a GED/HiSET or certificate of completion).

In addition to the funds listed below, we would also encourage you to use the Finance Authority of Maine's online search to find more scholarships geared to Maine's adult learners. To apply for scholarships, please contact the specified organization or guidance office. Some scholarships are managed by the Maine Community Foundation. Applications for these scholarships are available below.

Adult College Completion Fund

The Adult College Completion Fund was established to provide tuition assistance to Maine adults pursuing a degree or certificate at an accredited post-secondary institution. The fund currently supports students who complete the Student Success Academies at Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC) and Washington County Community College (WCCC). There is not an application for this scholarship. The recipients will be chosen annually by the community colleges from the pool of eligible students.
Contact: EMCC or WCCC

Aspire Scholarship

It is our desire that each student who receives an Aspire Scholarship will know that they have the potential for a bright future and that there are people who believe in them regardless of what their past looks like. -- Donors of the Aspire Scholarship Fund

The Aspire Scholarship supports students who have resided a substantial part of their formative years (K-12) in Presque Isle or Washburn and adult learners who have built a life in either town and are returning to school. Eligible applicants have successfully completed an alternative education program (for example, Presque Isle Alternative High School or The Carleton Project) or are alternative learners who would have benefited from such a program had one been available to them. Academic excellence is not a prerequisite, but demonstrated personal growth, the capacity and will to succeed, and the pursuit of a post-secondary education are.
Application Deadline: May 15
To Apply: Link to application

Al Blackadar EMS Scholarship Fund

In 2017, his Waldo County Emergency Services colleagues established the Al Blackadar EMS Scholarship Fund in his memory to provide scholarship assistance to support the further education and training of Waldo County residents who are EMT personnel seeking to become paramedics.  The application process is through EMCC. Eligible applicants will be enrolled at Eastern Maine Community College and will be licensed EMTs seeking further training to become paramedics.  It is the donors' hope, though not a requirement, that recipients will return to Waldo County to pursue their profession in this county.
Contact: Eastern Maine Community College

Larry Blouin Scholarship

This fund was established in 1999 in Larry’s memory to encourage and support those who embody his interests and spirit. Larry was an active participant in his community, particularly with the Gorham Fire Department. He had hoped to become a firefighter one day. The fund supports the Gorham Fire Department with preference for the College-Live-In Program; and current employees of Fresh Samantha who were with the company as of May 29, 1999, when the fund was established, and who are residents of Maine.
Contact: Gorham Fire Department

Brooksville Education Foundation Funds

The Maine Community Foundation partners with the Brooksville Education Foundation to make a number of scholarships available to residents of Brooksville, Maine. Please contact the Brooksville Education Foundation for information concerning these opportunities and an application.
Contact: Brooksville Education Foundation, P.O. Box 277, Brooksville, ME 04617

Ira Cobe Hutchinson Center Scholarship

The Ira Cobe Scholarship Trust was established by the estate of Chicago financier and longtime Bayside summer resident Ira M. Cobe. Mr. Cobe and his wife, a Belfast native, had a deep affection for Maine’s young people. The fund provides support in meeting certain educational expenses of residents of Waldo County under the age of 23 who meet the eligibility criteria. The Cobe Hutchinson Center Program is a partnership with first-time students at the Hutchinson Center who are taking a class to explore the possibility of furthering their education.
Contact: Hutchinson Center, Amy Smith
To Apply: Download application
Application Deadline: Rolling, no later than five days before the start of classes

Ruth O. Dority Scholarship

The Ruth O. Dority Scholarship supports residents of Sedgwick pursuing post-secondary education. Contact: George Stevens Academy or Deer Isle-Stonington High School guidance offices.
Application Deadline: April 1
To Apply: Download application

Beth Eisen Scholarship

Beth Eisen was a hugely original Waterville artist and writer whose worked spanned fabric, paint, found objects and other media, screenplays, novels, short stories, poetry, and essays. Sharing the love of all things creative extended to her work at Shadow Distribution and the Maine International Film Festival. This scholarship created in her honor supports a student at the University of Maine at Farmington who takes classes in the Creative Writing program who has demonstrated a passion for creativity and great promise as a writer through submitted samples; this student need not be a creative writing major. Preference is given to non-traditional students.
Contact: University of Maine at Farmington financial aid office or Creative Writing program

Friends of the Ellsworth Center Scholarship

The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to adult learners registered through the Hancock County Higher Education Center.
Contact: The student services coordinator at the Hancock County Higher Education Center, Ellsworth

Michael C. Kucsma Memorial Scholarship

The Michael C. Kucsma Jr. Memorial Scholarship fund was established in 2014 as a way for Mike’s family, friends and fire service brothers and sisters to continue his passion for education. Mike died in the line of duty on June 16, 2014, at the age of 43. He was one of the first live-in students for Gorham Fire Department, where he worked his way up to Deputy Chief in charge of training. He also was hired by the Portland Fire Department where he worked for 21 years, in many stations, reaching the rank of captain. Mike believed and lived the saying, "Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong."

The committee will make two types of awards; one for firefighters just starting out, a SMCC student enrolled in the fire science program, and a second for the continuing education of York and Cumberland county firefighters attending the FDIC conference in Indianapolis in April. Each award may not be given every year. Numbers, amount, and types of awards given are at the discretion of the committee. Applicants must have demonstrated strong leadership skills, a desire to learn and a commitment to helping others.
1) One award for a student enrolled in Southern Maine Community College’s Fire Science program. Students may be enrolled full or part time and there is no requirement that this student be a Maine resident.
2) One award for a firefighter from a fire department in York or Cumberland counties to attend the annual FDIC conference in Indianapolis. This award is intended to assist with the cost of attendance.
Contact: Marcia Kucsma
To Apply: Download application

James and Marilyn Rockefeller Transition Scholarship Fund

The James and Marilyn Rockefeller Scholarship Fund supports Maine residents over the age of 18 who, by circumstance or design, are on a “road less traveled” and are seeking educational experiences that will change their life and the lives of people around them, beginning with a completion of a College Transitions program. These applicants will demonstrate a determination to succeed, are serious about learning and have a plan (academic and financial) to achieve their goal. Eligible applicants will:

  • Have completed a College Transitions program run through one of the state’s adult education programs and be undertaking a post-secondary educational opportunity;
  • Be a non-traditional student as defined below;
  • Demonstrate a passion for learning, whether in a traditional classroom setting or in a less structured environment;
  • Demonstrate uncommon tenacity, focus, hope and humor by sharing a portion of their life story;
  • Explain their goal;
  • Explain their plan (academic and financial) to achieve the goal;
  • Demonstrate a long-term commitment to Maine and involvement in its communities.

Definition of a non-traditional student: Students need to meet at least one of the following criteria: be over the age of 25; have delayed enrollment in college after high school for a reason other than a gap year (such as Americorps participation); attend college part-time; work full-time (35 hours/week or more) while being enrolled; have dependents other than a spouse; be financially independent from parents; or did not receive a standard high school diploma (completed with a GED or certificate of completion).

The fund supports post-secondary education in its broadest interpretation, which includes enrollment in traditional two- and four-year colleges and universities, but could also apply to certificate programs, professional training opportunities, and self-directed learning experiences. Maine College Transitions programs are through Maine Adult Education. If you would like to learn more about College Transitions, please visit its website. If you are an existing traditional Rockefeller recipient applying for renewal, please see the instructions on our renewals page.
Contact: Maine Community Foundation or your local College Transitions Program
Application Deadline: June 1, December 1

Joseph & Dorothy Headley Scholarship

The Joseph and Dorothy Headley Scholarship provides financial assistance for students who have been residents of Vinalhaven for at least three years who are pursuing post-secondary education at a college, university, community college, or vocational school. The following criteria will be used in the selection: good character, good citizenship, financial need, and ambition. Any resident of Vinalhaven who is 35 or younger is eligible to apply.
Application Deadline: May 13
To Apply: Online application

Keepers Preservation Education Fund

The Keepers Preservation Education Fund was established to support aspiring or established historic preservation professionals who wish to increase their professional knowledge or career potential. Scholarships may be used for tuition, professional meeting attendance, special book or other types of media purchases, domestic and foreign study travel, and other purposes as deemed appropriate. Eligibility is not limited to Maine residents. Applicants may be from anywhere in the United States. Awards are not retroactive.
For more detailed guidelines and application instructions, visit this page.
Contact: Maine Community Foundation
Application Deadline: Rolling

Bettie H. MacRae Scholarship

The Bettie H. MacRae Scholarship supports year-round residents of Islesboro, preferably female, age 23 and over who are pursuing career-related post-secondary education. This may include online coursework, professional training and /or certification, college classes, continuing education credits, licensing programs, or any other type of study to enhance and maintain employment. This scholarship is not limited to graduates of Islesboro Central School, and is for those students for whom a scholarship would make a significant difference in their ability to attend the program of their choice. Bettie was raised in Florida and California and lived for many years in Pennsylvania. Later in her life, she found her way to Islesboro and lived on the island for 35 years, initially during the summer and later as a year-round resident. Her life was characterized by a deep interest in arts and culture. She befriended and provided for many. Bettie nurtured a deep love of nature, loved living near the ocean and cultivating a lifelong knowledge and appreciation for trees, plants and flowers. This memorial scholarship fund is created by Bettie’s three children, Pamela, Charlotte, and Christopher, and is directed to the year-round community of Islesboro in appreciation for the many quiet kindnesses of friendship offered to Bettie over the years.
Contact: Islesboro Central School 
Application Deadline: Rolling
To Apply: Link to application

PIIE - Partners in Island Education Ogden/Chaffey Scholarship Fund

The PIIE - Partners in Island Eductaion Ogden /Chaffey Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 to award a Vinalhaven School graduate a scholarship for furthering either their academic or vocational education.
Contact: Sarah Crossman, Partners in Island Education

Maine Vietnam Veterans Scholarship

The Maine Vietnam Veterans Scholarship Fund, founded in 1985, provides scholarship support to Maine veterans of the United States Armed Services who served in the Vietnam Theater and their descendants. As a second priority, the scholarship may be awarded to children of veterans of the United States Armed Services.
Application Deadline: May 1
To Apply: Online application

Margaret's Fund

Margaret’s Fund was established at the University of Maine at Augusta to provide scholarship assistance to an adult learner.
Contact: University of Maine at Augusta

Malaga 1912 Scholarship Fund

In 1912, Maine Gov. Frederick Plaisted oversaw the eviction and destruction of a mixed-race community on Malaga Island, a 42-acre island in Phippsburg, Maine. About 40 people were removed from the island, houses were moved and burned, the cemetery was exhumed, and eight residents were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded.

In 2010, the Maine State House passed a joint resolution that expressed regret for the action. Later that year, Gov. John Baldacci spoke at a gathering of descendants and apologized for the eviction. In 2012, at the opening of the Maine State Museum’s “Malaga Island: Fragmented Lives” exhibit, Gov. Paul LePage apologized to descendants and promised to open a scholarship fund to support descendants. The funding for that scholarship was awarded by the state in 2014 and the fund began making awards in 2015. The Maine Community Foundation handles administration of the fund.The fund is intended to pay out over five years. The term of the fund is 2015-2020.
To Apply: See Malaga 1912 page
Deadline: Quarterly: March 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15. Recipients will be notified within 45 days of the deadline

Joseph W. Mayo ALS Scholarship

In 2000, while serving as Clerk of the House, Mr. Mayo was stricken with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Friends of Joe Mayo have established this scholarship to recognize his contributions as a father, friend and public servant. This scholarship was established to assist men and women who are children, step-children, grandchildren, spouses, domestic partners, or primary caregivers of people with ALS. The Joseph W. Mayo ALS Scholarship is awarded annually to a student (or students) who are attending a post-secondary educational institution, including both four-year colleges and two-year associate programs. The recipient must be a graduate of a Maine high school or GED program.
Contact: Maine Community Foundation or Joseph Pietroski
Application deadline: May 1
To Apply: Download application

Hugh and Elizabeth Montgomery Scholarship

Both Elizabeth (Betty) and Hugh Montgomery had their roots in Phillips, Maine. Betty was born in Phillips and attended schools there and Hugh summered there in the old farmhouse that belonged in his family. They both went to college, Betty to Simmons and Hugh to Harvard, and pursued careers as librarians. Their wish was that this fund would provide the opportunity for deserving students of Franklin County to receive financial assistance toward furthering their education.

This renewable scholarship supports residents of Franklin County who are adult learners (students who are beyond high-school age) returning to school to continue their education at the post-secondary level. Preference is given to students for whom a scholarship would make a significant difference in their ability to attend school. First-time applicants need not be enrolled in a degree-granting program but are encouraged to make that commitment before applying for renewal consideration.
Contact: Betty Gensel, Franklin County Community College Liaison, (800) 517-2859, or Maine Community Foundation
Deadlines: Postmarked August 17, 2018, and December 14, 2018
To Apply: Download application

Ober-Hubbard Blue Sky Fund

Diane Ober grew up on Islesboro and graduated from the Islesboro Central School. An adventurous individual, she was a gifted guitarist and singer. Kevin Hubbard, the husband of a longtime friend of Diane, often visited the island. A guitarist, he was also a graphic artist and sportswriter who became a college graduate in his 40s. This fund was established to honor the “blue sky thinking” that both practiced in their lives and activities.

The Diane Ober and Kevin Hubbard Memorial Blue Sky Fund supports students 23 years of age or older who reside on Islesboro or are graduates of Islesboro Central School (ICS) and who are pursuing projects or courses of study intended to help them focus and further a life passion. Preference will be given to applicants who have overcome personal adversity, embody humanity with kindness and humor, and are keen to master something new.
Contact: Islesboro Central School
To Apply: Download application
Application Deadline: Rolling

Marion F. & Peter Plouff Scholarship

The Marion F. and Peter Plouff Scholarship provides renewable support to residents of Dexter to pursue their education at a post-secondary institution. Preference is given to adult learners returning to school to continue their education and to students who have previously received a Plouff scholarship.
Application Deadline: May 1
To Apply: Online application

Henry L.P. Schmelzer College Transitions Scholarship Fund

Throughout his tenure as president and CEO of the Maine Community Foundation, Hank Schmelzer was a consistent advocate for the importance of higher education in Maine and helped launch the Maine Compact for Higher Education in 2003. At his retirement in December 2008, generous donors recognized Hank’s leadership by establishing the Henry L.P. Schmelzer College Transitions Scholarship Fund to support the post-secondary aspirations of Maine adults returning to school.

The Henry L.P. Schmelzer College Transitions Scholarship Fund will support students associated with University College Ellsworth for the next three academic years, from 2017 through the 2019-2020 academic year.

The eligibility criteria of the fund are as follows:

  • Preference is given to support nontraditional students who have successfully completed either a College Transitions program or other preparatory work and have matriculated into a University of Maine system or Maine Community College program.
  • There is a preference for residents of (in priority order): Hancock County, Washington County, and statewide.
  • Financial need is the underlying eligibility criterion.
  • Recipients must be in good academic standing, but more is expected of them than this might suggest. Recipients must demonstrate a seriousness of purpose with respect to their education. This scholarship is for students who demand nothing but the best from themselves.
  • Minimum award is $2,000. Awards may be renewable if the grant budget allows.
  • Applicants must have completed at least one successful semester of part-time enrollment (at least two, three-credit courses).

Contact: University College of Ellsworth

Spurling Scholarship

The Spurling Scholarship was established in 1984 to provide renewable support to residents of the Cranberry Isles; Frenchboro, Long Island; Swans Island; and Mount Desert Island pursuing post-secondary education at a college, community college, or vocational training program. Preference is given to applicants from unbridged islands with the greatest financial need.
Application Deadline: May 15
To Apply: Online application

Swans Island Education Achievement Trust

The Swans Island Education Achievement Trust provides scholarship assistance to residents of Swans Island pursuing further education at a post-secondary institution. Awards will be based upon scholarship, achievement, service to the community, and financial need, and may be renewable for a maximum of four years based upon the continued performance and need of the student.
Application Deadline: May 1
To Apply: Online application