AUGUSTA, Maine — The Alfond Scholarship Foundation and other organizations plan a series of “casting calls” at shopping malls for an endowed plan to help all Maine babies go to school beyond high school through the Harold Alfond College Challenge.
The “casting calls” are scheduled as follows: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Bangor Mall; 3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Aroostook Centre Mall, Presque Isle; and 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Maine Mall, South Portland.
Finance Authority of Maine staff will be at the malls with information and assistance to parents who want to complete the enrollment form for those interested in the $500 grant. The baby’s Social Security number is required to complete the form.
There are no income limits and no additional contributions are needed to receive the grant. However, families are encouraged to add to the college savings.
Funds in the NextGen account may be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at any accredited postsecondary school, including four-year and two-year public and private colleges, certificate programs, trade schools, and even graduate schools.
The program provides a $500 grant to start a NextGen College Investing Plan (NextGen) account for every Maine resident baby born on or after Jan. 1, 2009. More than 1,400 Maine babies are enrolled already. Babies born at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta and Waterville in 2008 are also eligible but all babies must be enrolled by their first birthday.
The Finance Authority of Maine, which administers NextGen Foundation, is hosting where new parents will receive free portraits of their babies. Parents can receive information about the $500 grant and complete the enrollment form with assistance from FAME staff at these events.
For information on the Harold Alfond College Challenge, please call FAME at 800-228-3734 or visit www.500forbaby.org.