Maine has historically had a relatively strong high school graduation rate, but a lower college-going rate than many other states. Especially when compared with our peers in New England, we lag behind. This is important not just in terms of regional competitiveness, but also in relation to the very real needs of our workforce. More than 60% of Maine jobs opening up in the next decade are expected to require some kind of education beyond high school.

The goal of our program is to improve the likelihood that Maine children will aspire to and attend college or post-secondary training.

We help them start this journey by providing a $500 grant that sends a signal about the importance of college – and provides a very practical benefit to help them get there. That $500 is just a first step and we work closely with our many partners to encourage families to make their own investments in their child’s future.

National studies show that the mere fact of having college savings – regardless of the amount of money in the fund, and even taking into account demographic differences – increases a child’s likelihood of going on to some form of postsecondary education at least three-fold.

To date we have awarded close to $11.5 million in Alfond Grants to nearly 23,000 Maine babies. And, with the advent of Automatic Enrollment in 2014, we expect to make awards of over $6 million to more than 12,000 Maine babies every year.