The University of Maine Class of 2017 is currently working to develop its own scholarship. If successful, the Class of 2017 scholarship will benefit descendants of the class members.
According to class President Devin Greenlaw, the fundraising process began two weeks ago. The class is reaching out to members of its centennial class — the Class of 1967— as well as parents and other benevolent donors.
“Our ‘a-ha’ moment for getting this ball rolling was when we saw that other classes before us had scholarship funds,” Greenlaw said. “We just said ‘oh my goodness, you’re kidding.’”
The most recent alumni class-established scholarship available for UMaine students is the Class of 1998 Scholarship Fund, which is available to descendants of members of the class. Although a number of alumni classes have established their own scholarship funds, most do not begin to do so for nearly 10 years after graduation.
The Class of 2017 is hoping to get a head start by working on the scholarship while they are still enrolled.
Although the task is already proving to be more difficult than he originally anticipated, Greenlaw is confident that his class will achieve its goal.
“I would say there’s a high promise of success within our class. I see it everyday,” Greenlaw said. “The spirit of assisting those in need will be the same spirit that funded their scholarships currently. It will fund their children, and their children’s children who come to UMaine down the road.”
In order to successfully establish a scholarship, the class must reach $10,000 in gathered funding. If the class cannot collect at least $10,000, the scholarship will not make endowments, which are necessary in creating a scholarship fund.
Class Gift Agent Maggie Mahoney is creating a backup plan. In the event that the class cannot raise enough money, Mahoney will contact the entire class to conduct a vote to choose the class gift that the funds will go towards.
However, Greenlaw does not think that the class will need to execute its backup plan.
“I think if we ballpark it accordingly, in the next five years, we should have ourselves endowment level because we are starting so soon,” Greenlaw said. “I think that’s realistic and I have no doubt that by the time our children are able to go to college, it’ll be $50,000, hopefully.”
Individuals who are able to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 will be eligible for the scholarship. The class hopes to develop a scholarship that can appeal to a variety of financial needs.
“It can go towards anything the individual wants,” Greenlaw said. “We know that scholarships can be limiting at times, and we don’t want to be like that.”