Looking for Financial Support?

Maine values you – and we are here to help.

We are here to help you finance your education.

Better opportunities are on the horizon, but returning to college and paying for your education can be a challenge. One of the many challenges adults face as they return to college is financing their education. It is much more common for adult students to be heading to college later in life and The University of Maine System (UMS) is committed to supporting adult learners who are seeking to improve their professional opportunities, or to expand their general knowledge. The demands of a competitive marketplace have made a college education vital to advancement in many professions.

The University of Maine System has several options for Maine residents seeking funding assistance for their education. While many are offered directly through each institution, the opportunities below are funds specifically set aside for adult students.

Take a look below to explore your options, visit our adult student financial aid page or contact the Financial Aid Office at your campus to learn more.

University of Maine System Adult Scholarships and Waivers:

The Adult Degree Completion Scholarship (External Site) fund supports students returning to school to complete their academic studies. For many, these may have begun years ago, and were not completed for a variety of reasons. 

These funds are dedicated to support adult students returning to college after an absence of at least three (3) years or more and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree. Applicants may qualify for up to $4,000 per academic year for up to eight (8) consecutive semesters.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a resident of the state of Maine.
  • Must be a matriculated student at a UMS institution seeking a first baccalaureate degree.
  • Must be an undergraduate reentry student who has experienced a gap (three years or more) in the pursuit of post-secondary education.
  • Must have a minimum of 30 credits earned from any institution toward your degree.
  • Must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed FAFSA.
  • Must be registered at least part time: six to eight credits per semester.

You can fill out the Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Application (External Site) here.

The University of Maine System does not want a small past balance to stop you from coming back now that you have decided to return to your goal of earning a credential. You may qualify for the University of Maine System (UMS) Small Debt Forgiveness Program. If you left one of the institutions within the University of Maine System, and have a past due debt of $2,500 or less in tuition and fees owed to UMS from prior semesters attended*, then you may qualify for the Small Debt Forgiveness Program. The program works with you to develop a plan that will support you as you move toward having that debt erased and getting back on track to your goal. To see if you qualify, contact a Success Coach today!

To qualify for the UMS Small Debt Forgiveness Program you must:

  • Have residency in the State of Maine as defined by the University of Maine System.
  • Have obtained “independent status” according to Federal Student Aid definitions.
  • Owe the University of Maine System a past due amount of $2,500 or less.
  • Have at least a two (2) year gap from the last time you were a student at any University of Maine System institution.
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the coming academic year.
    • By June 30 for a Fall Semester start or December 1 for a Spring semester start.
  • Complete all outstanding financial aid requirements, which may include submitting documentation to verify information on “my FAFSA”.
  • Be admitted and register for courses required for a degree or eligible certificate program to remain eligible for financial aid funds.

*Any current semester tuition and fees must be paid by the billing due date and are not subject to forgiveness.  The UMS Small Debt Forgiveness Program will only forgive past debt owed to an institution within the University of Maine System.

This is available to currently practicing, certified Maine K-12 teachers in the areas of mathematics, science or foreign language.

The Hannaford Teacher Renewal Scholarship Fund: This fund was established in the University of Maine System in 1990 by a gift from the Hannaford Brothers Corporation, and expanded in 2001. The income from the fund is used for two Hannaford Scholarship Programs, the Hannaford Scholar and the Hannaford Scholar Leader.

Applicants for both programs must be currently practicing, certified (including transitional and conditional) teachers in K-12 classrooms in Maine, with significant teaching responsibilities in the areas of mathematics, science or foreign language.

Selection of recipients will be made by representatives of the University of Maine System, and will be based upon quality of application, relevance of proposed coursework to teaching responsibilities in math, science or foreign language, and potential for enhanced teaching effectiveness as a result of course completion.

In the case of the Hannaford Scholar Leader, the feasibility and potential impact of proposed leadership activities will be considered as well. In choosing between candidates of similar qualifications, first-time applications will be given preference.

Application Materials: Scholarship Application Packet (PDF – 245 KB) – this includes applications and recommendation forms for both Hannaford Scholar and Hannaford Scholar Leader programs.

The Opening Doors Scholarship (External Site) offers assistance to newly enrolled students pursuing their degree or workforce credential. It is a renewable scholarship supporting adult and independent students attending one of the campuses of the University of Maine System in pursuit of higher education.


Must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a resident of the state of Maine.
  • Must be enrolled in a UMS institution
  • Must be a newly enrolled student pursuing a bachelors or associates degree; OR seeking a credential in a high demand field as identified by the Maine Department of Labor (External Site)
  • Must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Must be registered at least part time or higher: six to eight credits
  • Maintain continuous enrollment and GPA of 2.5 or higher for renewed funding
  • Must be considered an independent student, as identified by FAFSA. You must meet at least one of the following criteria (Learn more: Independent Student Worksheet (External PDF)):
    • Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year
    • Be an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, in foster care or was a ward of the court when 13 years or older
    • Be a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or serving on active duty for other than training purposes
    • Be a graduate or professional student
    • Be a married individual
    • Have legal dependents other than a spouse
    • Be an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship
    • Be a homeless youth
    • Be a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances

Scholarship Amounts:

Multiple awards available:

  • Six to eight credits – $500 per semester
  • Nine to 11 credits – $750 per semester
  • 12+ credits – $1000 per semester

Application Process:

  • New applications are due by August 1 and December 1 for priority consideration
  • Renewal applications are due by June 1

The electronic application takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Prior to submitting your application, we recommend contacting your campus navigator to discuss your academic plan and eligibility.

Opening Doors Scholarship Application (External Site)

Osher Scholarships encourage Maine residents to pursue higher education. The Osher New Beginnings Scholarship (PDF) award will be applied toward tuition, required book costs, and fees for one University of Maine System course at the developmental, 100, or 200 level. Courses are available at all University of Maine System Campuses and Centers. Recipients must be residents of Maine and have earned either a high school diploma or equivalent. Preference will be given to first-time college students and returning adult students who have not attended college for three or more years and who have accumulated thirty or fewer successful credit hours.

Apply for the scholarship: Osher New Beginnings Scholarship Application (PDF)

The Senior Citizens Waiver offers tuition and Board approved mandatory fees for students 65 years of age or older who register for undergraduate courses on a credit or audit basis at any university of the University of Maine System.

See the tuition waivers page for eligibility. Contact your Financial Aid Office for information on applying a tuition waiver.

The University of Maine System has tuition waiver and room and board grant programs for eligible Native American students. Below are waivers for eligible Native American students:

  • Native American Waiver Program
    Native American Room and Board Grant

Please visit the tuition waivers page for eligibility.

The University of Maine System Veteran-related waivers will charge in-state tuition rates to all current and former members of the US Uniformed Services who were honorably discharged or are/were otherwise eligible for GI Bill benefits, regardless of whether or not they are currently receiving benefits.

Please visit the tuition waivers page for eligibility.

In accordance with Maine law, there are waivers available for eligible orphans, widows and widowers of veterans, as well as spouses and children of veterans who are disabled or missing in action. Initial eligibility is determined by the Veterans Affairs Office of the State of Maine.

Please visit the tuition waivers page for eligibility.

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees and State Legislature have established a number of different tuition and fee waiver programs for the benefit of students attending a university. If a student meets certain criteria, that student may qualify for reduced university tuition and, in some cases, fees. Examples include:

  • USS Maine Commemorative Tuition Waiver Program
  • Tuition Waiver for Children of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

See the tuition waivers page for eligibility. Contact your Financial Aid Office for information on applying a tuition waiver.

University-Specific Scholarships:

Other Financial Resources: