New financial incentives will support Maine's medical workforce, including UNE students

UNE medical students examine an ultrasound at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta
The programs are designed to encourage students to seek out Maine for their education and retain them following graduation.

Two workforce incentives recently announced by Maine Gov. Janet Mills will help current and future students in the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Dental Medicine pay for their education. The programs, part of the governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, are designed to encourage students to seek out Maine for their education and keep them in the state following graduation.

The first initiative announced includes a $2 million boost for Finance Authority of Maine’s (FAME) Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship, which awards up to $25,000 in annual scholarships to students enrolled in the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine, the state’s only medical school, and the Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Medical Center Maine Track program.

The second program, also offered through FAME, provides student loan repayment assistance to health care professionals in medicine, dentistry, behavioral health, and nursing education.

Under the program, health care professionals can apply for up to $75,000 in relief for qualifying student loan debt, and nursing educators can receive up to $40,000. To be eligible, nursing educators or health care professionals must be working in Maine or must commit to working in Maine for at least three years.

“A strong, high-quality health care system is essential to the health of Maine people and the health of our economy,” Gov. Mills remarked. “Health care provides meaningful, important work, and, as the pandemic has shown us, it’s work that’s more crucial than ever before. But for too many people, the cost of the education puts health care professions out of reach. These scholarships and loan relief programs will bring more Maine people – especially young people – into the health care workforce and enable them to live and practice in communities across our state.”

In addition to boasting Maine’s only medical and dental schools, UNE is also the largest provider of health care professionals for the state of Maine. There are currently 132 graduates of UNE COM licensed to practice medicine in Maine, and a total 1,577 UNE health professions graduates are licensed to practice in the state.

“The investments announced by the Gov. Mills will have a tremendous impact on the health care industry in Maine, where we are seeing critical workforce shortages despite increasing needs for care,” stated UNE President James D. Herbert. “Scholarships like Doctors for Maine’s Future and other financial incentives will allow our students to not only better afford their education, but to stay in Maine to practice, particularly in the rural and underserved regions that need it most.”