New scholarship program will benefit first-generation college students from Downeast Maine

Aerial photo of UNE's Biddeford Campus

The University of New England will partner with the Maine Seacoast Mission and the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund to provide full scholarships for students from some of Maine’s most rural communities.

The Davis Maine Scholarship program will offer full, four-year scholarships for rural, first-generation college students from Washington and eastern Hancock Counties. UNE joins Clark University and Wheaton College in Massachusetts as the inaugural partner colleges in the program. UNE is the only college or university in Maine to be selected for partnership in this unique program.

In announcing the new program, Andrew Davis of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund said, “This is a remarkable opportunity for deserving Downeast high school scholars. We are creating this scholarship for students who excel in their studies, persist through hardship and will be among the first members of their families to go to college. I very much look forward to supporting our college and high school partners on behalf these exceptional young people. It is extremely exciting to play a role in showing the world what Downeast students can achieve.”

Davis Maine Scholarship Partner Colleges were selected based on their institutional commitment to increasing socioeconomic diversity through demonstrated success with serving first-generation, college bound, low-income rural students through existing programs and resources. Partner Colleges also demonstrated success with freshman retention and four-year college completion rates, especially among first-generation, college-bound students.

“As a first-generation college graduate myself, I know how critical it is to provide students with the right resources to help them succeed,” said UNE President James Herbert. “Through the generosity of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, we will not only provide financial access to higher education, we will provide support so that scholarship recipients can earn their degrees and move on to successful careers.”

Davis Maine Scholars will initially be selected from two partner high schools: Narraguagus in Harrington and Sumner Memorial in Sullivan. The first Davis Maine Scholarship cohort will be selected as high school juniors in Fall, 2020. Prior to matriculating to college in Fall 2022, they will receive strategic college transition planning and support with college research, admissions and financial aid information, as well as tools for personal and academic college success. The Davis Maine Scholarship also includes family engagement workshops, given the integral role families play in supporting students through their college studies.

The Davis Maine Scholarship builds on the success of the Mission’s educational programs. For more than a century, the Mission has worked to address multigenerational poverty in rural Washington and eastern Hancock Counties through programs including the Mission Scholarship Program (Founded 1918), and the Ed Greaves Education (EdGE) K-12 youth development program (Founded 2002).

John Zavodny, Maine Seacoast Mission President said, “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund to continue to provide Downeast communities with greater access to higher education. This strong partnership will result in more college graduates, greater economic opportunity and new roads toward promising futures.”

Read more in the MDI Islander.

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