Learn More About the Opening Doors Scholarship

The Opening Doors Scholarship (External Site) offers assistance to newly enrolled students pursuing their degree or workforce credentials. It is a renewable scholarship supporting adult and independent students attending one of the campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS) 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. Before submitting your application, we recommend contacting your campus navigator to discuss your academic plan and eligibility.

Application: Opening Doors Scholarship Application (External Site)