PORTLAND — In recognition of the risks first responders and front-line essential service providers take every day in service to their communities during the pandemic, the University of Southern Maine has announced a new scholarship worth up to $1,000 per eligible student.

The new First Responder-Essential Worker Scholarship will be offered to 50 incoming and returning USM students who have been serving in first-responder roles or providing front-line critical services during the pandemic. Based on their demonstrated financial need, eligible students will receive the scholarship award of up to $1,000 for the 2020–2021 academic year. The new scholarship is available to students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at USM’s campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston–Auburn.

USM President Glenn Cummings said the scholarship is an expression of thanks on behalf of the university community and an acknowledgment of the roles first responders and front-line critical service providers are playing in keeping Maine residents safe, healthy and fed during the pandemic.

Students seeking the scholarship must complete and submit an application by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 30. Eligible students will be notified of their scholarship award on Wednesday, July 15.

To be eligible, applicants must be new or returning degree-seeking USM students that have enrolled or will enroll in courses for the fall term. Eligible students must be able to demonstrate employment working as and/or certified as a first responder or essential front-line service provider by sharing a supervisor’s name for employment verification. Preference will be given to students who are enrolled full time (12 credit hours for undergraduate students or six credit hours for graduate students) for fall 2020. Eligible students also must have completed the 2020-2021 FAFSA form and have demonstrated financial need.

To acknowledge and support a wide range of students, USM has broadly defined eligible first responders and front-line essential service providers as including, but not limited to, health care professionals, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, grocery store employees, delivery services workers and transportation providers.

Funding is made possible in part by the donors who made financial contributions to USM this year in support of annual scholarships. Learn more and apply at usm.maine.edu/scholarships/usm-first-responders-essential-workers-scholarship.

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