The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has announced that it is awarding 16 $1,000 scholarship prizes to one randomly selected winner from each of Maine’s 16 counties as part of its second annual the Invest in ME sweepstakes.

Local winners for Androscoggin, Kennebec and Franklin counties are Higera Nawass, 18, of Auburn; and Caleb Hodsdon, 17, of Wilton.

Higera Nawass is a senior at Poland Regional High School and has recently been accepted into Bates College. Higera plans to pursue a career in law. According to her mother, Laurie Sevigny, she has just begun saving for college. Laurie, a single mother who adopted her children, said, “It has been hard to save before now,” and that she wants to give her children as much opportunity to gain a higher degree to further their chances in life.

Caleb Hodsdon, a junior at Mt. Blue High School, dreams of becoming an engineer and designing mountain bikes. According to his mother, Rachel, her family has been saving for higher education for Caleb since 2003, and she believes that having money set aside to help pay the high cost of college will make it more likely for him to attend. She also said the matching funds that the NextGen program provides, and this scholarship prize “has made a huge difference in the amount they have been able to save.” 

If families already have a NextGen College Investing Plan account, there is a NextStep matching grant, which provides a 50 percent match on eligible contributions per calendar year up to $300. To learn more about the NextGen matching grants program, visit

FAME established the Invest in ME Sweepstakes to spark statewide momentum toward encouraging all Maine families to save for higher education (college or trade school) and help reduce student loan debt. The Invest in ME statewide initiative set a statewide goal, that by 2030, all Maine families are saving for college and Maine will have one of the lowest average student loan debt rates in the nation.

To receive the $1,000 scholarship prize, the funds must be contributed to a NextGen 529 plan account. 

Higera Nowass

Caleb Hodsdon

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