Since 2013, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation has been awarding the $500 Alfond Grant to every Maine resident baby. We love being able to carry out Mr. Alfond’s dream of helping every Maine baby enjoy the opportunity that higher education brings. Here are some questions we are frequently asked. If you don’t see an answer to your question, then please get in touch with us.
Am I eligible for the Alfond Grant?
For every baby born a Maine resident since 2013, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation invests a $500 Alfond Grant for his or her future qualified higher education expenses. The Alfond Scholarship Foundation invests these funds until the child is ready to use them. The Alfond Grant can be used to pay for higher education expenses at eligible higher education institutions and must be used by the child’s 28th birthday. (learn more)
Maine babies born between 2009 and 2012 (and 2008 MaineGeneral-born babies) receive the Alfond Grant if a NextGen 529 account was opened prior to the child’s first birthday. Children born before 2013 for whom a NextGen 529 account was not opened by the first birthday deadline are no longer eligible for the Alfond Grant. (learn more)
Eligibility is initially determined by reports from the Maine Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics (DRVS). Children born on or after January 1, 2013 whose births were not reported by the Maine DRVS can prove Maine residency at birth with documentation acceptable to FAME and Alfond Scholarship Foundation. A child who was not born a Maine resident may be eligible for an Alfond Grant if he or she is listed as the beneficiary of a NextGen 529 account that is opened on or before the child’s first birthday, and the child is a Maine resident at the time the account is opened. The Alfond Grant will then be linked to the NextGen 529 account established for the child. (learn more)
What is an Alfond Grant and why was the program started?
Harold Alfond was a Maine businessman and philanthropist who wanted every Maine baby to have the opportunity that higher education brings.
The Alfond Scholarship Foundation (ASF) is a non-profit organization he created to invest the $500 Alfond Grant at birth for every Maine resident baby for their future education. Learn more about ASF here.
For every baby born a Maine resident since 2013, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation invests a $500 Alfond Grant for his or her future qualified higher education expenses. (The Alfond Grant was also available on a more limited basis from 2008-2012. Click here to learn more about Alfond Grant Guidelines). The Alfond Scholarship Foundation invests these funds until the child is ready to use them. The funds can be used for education after high school – at eligible colleges, universities, certificate programs and trade schools. And the funds can be used in Maine or out of state. Children awarded the Alfond Grant have until age 28 to use it.
As of June, 2023, over $73 million in Alfond Grants has been invested for 147,000 Maine children.
Now it’s up to you and others to also invest in the future of Maine children.
ASF is here to help with our MyAlfondGrant (MAG) program, sharing resources and information to help Maine children on their journey to higher education.
Help us create a bright future for every Maine child!
Who was Harold Alfond?
Harold Alfond is the late business entrepreneur, founder of Dexter Shoe Company, and Maine philanthropist who, in 1950, established the Harold Alfond Foundation, the first private foundation in Maine. He had a lifelong commitment to the people of Maine and was deeply committed to his charitable causes.
Mr. Alfond believed that all children deserve the opportunity to achieve higher education and recognized that one of the biggest barriers to attending college is cost. So, he created the $500 Alfond Grant as a way to help families begin to prepare for higher education from the very start of a child’s life. He believed that you could transform individual families and Maine’s future prosperity by helping all Maine’s children aspire to higher education. MyAlfondGrant is his legacy gift to help make that future prosperity a reality.
Learn more about Harold Alfond at HaroldAlfondFoundation.org.
What organizations are involved in this program?
The Alfond Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to increase Maine’s educational attainment by awarding a $500 Alfond Grant to every Maine resident baby. ASF is a supporting organization of the following Maine educational and non-profit entities: Educate Maine, Maine Community College System, University of Maine System, Maine Community Foundation, the Mitchell Institute and the Finance Authority of Maine.
The Harold Alfond Foundation (HAF) is the private family foundation that provides financial support for the program.
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 offers a suite of programs and services to help Mainers meet their educational goals no matter where they are in life. FAME is the administrator of NextGen 529, Maine’s Section 529 plan. FAME also helps to administer the Alfond Grant program.
Who can get an Alfond Grant? And how?
Children born as Maine residents in 2013 and later have automatically been awarded the $500 Alfond Grant. For Maine kids born between 2008 and 2012 the grant was available on a more limited basis. Click here to learn more about eligibility for the program.
What if my child was born before 2013?
Maine babies born between 2009 and 2012 (and 2008 MaineGeneral-born babies) received the Alfond Grant if a NextGen 529 account was opened prior to the child’s first birthday.
Children born before 2013 for whom a NextGen 529 account was not opened by the first birthday deadline are no longer eligible for the Alfond Grant.
Will the $500 Alfond Grant make a difference?
Since the $500 Alfond Grant is invested at an early age, it has at least 18 years to have the potential to grow.
While we can’t predict just how much the Alfond Grant will be worth when a child goes on to higher education, we do know any money you have on hand is money you or your child won’t have to borrow!
In addition to the practical benefit of real money invested for Maine’s children, we hope that the Alfond Grant has the added benefit of helping to raise aspirations for Maine children and encouraging parents and children alike by demonstrating our belief in every child’s potential.
How do I know how much the $500 Alfond Grant is worth now?
Every quarter, starting at about 9 months, families are sent communications showing the current value of the $500 Alfond Grant and also age-appropriate tips for parents.
These communications start out being sent in the mail, but families can also sign up for electronic delivery of these communications if they prefer.
Using MyAlfondGrant.org as a starting point, families can also track the value of the Alfond Grant over time – and see it online – on a website administered by FAME.
How does the Alfond Grant work?
Since January 1, 2013, the $500 Alfond Grant has been awarded to all babies born as Maine residents.* Families interested in making their own investment in their child’s future education should consider opening their own account. There are numerous college savings plans available to families and each family can select a plan that is best suited for that family. If a family wants to make their own contribution to their child’s future education through the NextGen 529 plan, they need to open their own account. If they choose to open a NextGen 529 account, Maine’s Section 529 plan, then they can receive statements which show both the Alfond Grant and any family contributions. For more information on Maine’s Section 529 plan visit NextGenforME.com.
*For the first five years of the program, in order for a Maine child to be awarded the $500 Alfond Grant, a NextGen 529 account had to be opened for the child by his or her first birthday. For children born Maine residents since January 1, 2013 most families do not have to do anything for their child to be awarded the Alfond Grant. The Alfond Grant is not automatic in all circumstances and is also available in limited other circumstances. See Alfond Grant Guidelines at www.NextGenForME.com/AlfondGuidelines for applicable conditions and restrictions.
What can the Alfond Grant be used for?
Alfond Grants can be used at eligible higher education institutions. These include all accredited post-secondary institutions that are eligible to participate in Federal student aid programs – public universities, private college, graduate schools and vocational schools – even some schools that are outside the United States. The funds do not need to be used at a school in Maine.
Generally, you can use these funds to pay for the big-ticket items like tuition, room & board (if enrolled at least half time) – even books and supplies – including computers!
What else should I know about the Alfond Grant?
Your child has until age 28 to use the Alfond Grant. If your child does not use the Alfond Grant by age 28, then the $500 Alfond Grant (and any gains/losses incurred in the market while invested) will be forfeited and revert back to the Alfond Scholarship Foundation to be used for other Alfond Grant recipients.
The Alfond Grant can be used whether or not the participating student still lives in Maine or goes to college in Maine.
Currently, the Alfond Grant does not count as an asset for those individuals who receive TANF benefits.
What can families do?
ASF hopes that the Alfond Grant serves as a catalyst to families, friends, employers, community leaders and other champions who can also be inspired to invest in the future of Maine’s children and by extension, the future prosperity of the State. There are numerous ways for others to help, including making their own contributions for a child’s future education, utilizing tools on MyAlfondGrant.org to support a child’s growth and development, and helping to create a culture of high aspirations for the future of Maine kids.
- Use our on-line tools
- Create a monthly MyPlan (and enter to win a gift card from ASF!)
- Check your Alfond Grant value *
- Sign up for e-delivery of quarterly communications *
- Like us on Facebook
- Send us your story
- Update your contact information here.*
- Build on the Alfond Grant with your own savings
- The Alfond Scholarship Foundation wants Maine families to actively support their children’s education, including saving for education after high school. We believe the $500 Alfond Grant is a great start. And there is no better time to learn about ways that you can support your child’s education, including how to invest in a Section 529 plan so that friends and family can also contribute. For more information about Maine’s Section 529 plan visit NextGenforME.com.
* MyAlfondGrant.org is the starting point to a website administered by the Finance Authority of Maine where these actions can be completed.
For community members and community leaders looking for ways to get involved, click here!
How can parents, extended family or friends add to a child’s future education funds?
ASF wants Maine families to be actively supporting their children’s education including saving for future education after high school. We believe the $500 Alfond Grant is a great start. And there is no better time to learn about ways that you can support a child’s education, including how to invest in a Section 529 plan so that friends and family can also contribute. For more information about Maine’s Section 529 plan visit NextGenforME.com.