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October 16, 2018

Alfond Foundation, FAME award debt relief to 23 STEM professionals

PHOTO / Amber Waterman Bruce Wagner, CEO of the Finance Authority of Maine, announced that he will retire on Feb. 5.

The Harold Alfond Foundation and the Finance Authority of Maine announced 23 newest Alfond Leader award recipients, who’ve collectively qualified to receive about $670,000 in student loan debt relief.

To date, 67 Maine-based professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields have been named Alfond Leaders, with more than $2 million of their student loans qualifying for repayment assistance.

A new application cycle is now open until Nov. 15. To learn more or to apply go online here.

The ground-breaking Alfond Leaders student loan repayment assistance program was launched in 2017 and provides student loan repayment assistance to people who either currently live and work in Maine or who come to Maine for a position with a STEM-designated occupation at a Maine-based employer. The program was designed to help Maine employers attract and retain talented workers.

The Harold Alfond Foundation has committed $4 million over the next three years to the program and anticipates it will give about 150 recipients up to $60,000 in college debt relief per person. The Alfond Leaders program is administered by FAME.

“Maine needs to attract and retain highly skilled STEM and other professionals to strengthen Maine’s economy,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation. “This program is one incentive that we think can help build up Maine’s workforce.”

How the program works

Each awardee receives loan repayments up to half of their outstanding student loan balance, not to exceed $60,000. These payments are made in two installments, the first paid at three years, and the second paid after the completion of an additional three years of qualifying employment and state residency.

The payment periods have been shortened from five and 10 years since the program was originally launched and are retroactive to include the first two rounds of Alfond Leaders.

The second application cycle concluded on May 15. More than 160 applications for the competitive loan repayment program were received to select the 23 most recent recipients. The awardees work in a variety of Maine-based organizations as scientists, engineers, information technology professionals and entrepreneurs.

This year’s awardees are: Mikayla Bolduc, Skowhegan; Shawn Brackett, Auburn; Laura Brown, Portland; Julie Cross, Gorham; Jordon Cyr, Freeport; Tyson Girsa, Millinocket; John Golder, Poland; Katherine Kelley, Steep Falls, Jonathan Hardingham, Sanford; Joel Hyde, Veazie; Shane Kelly, Portland, Jacob Keniston, Prospect; Jonathan Labrecque, Ellsworth; Joshua Libby, Gray; Austin Moore, Gardiner; Matthew Moretti, Portland; Giovanna Patrizio, Portland; Joel Plunkett, Brunswick; Scott Rizzo, Lamoine; Aric Rogers, Ellsworth; Scott Webber, Auburn; Ann Wells, Southwest Harbor; and Sarah Wheatley, Gardiner.

Who is eligible to become an Alfond Leader?

To be eligible for an Alfond Leader award, applicants must be:

  • Maine residents or individuals who become Maine residents when hired by a Maine-based business.
  • An individual employed or about to be employed by a Maine-based business in a designated STEM occupation.
  • An applicant must have a higher education degree or certificate.
  • An applicant must have outstanding student loan debt.

The current application period is open until Nov. 15.

For an application to be considered it must be completed in full. The application components include: an application form, a written essay, a 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.

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