Last Thursday, the College announced that it has received a generous gift of $2.8 million, which it will reportedly put toward financial aid for Maine students in an effort to increase the accessibility of a quality education.
The donors have chosen to remain anonymous, but the College has provided some details about them. The couple has resided in Maine for over forty years and has been active in the College community for decades. One of the donors is an alum and both are Colby parents. This latest gift pushes the couple’s total contribution to in-state financial aid over the $5 million mark.
In an interview with The Colby Echo, Matt Proto, the College’s Vice President of Enrollment and Communications as well as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, spoke about this generous gift and its implications for students.
“Financial aid is a huge component in terms of the admission office’s outreach and recruitment strategies, and then ultimately, of course, whether a student decides to enroll. The additional funds are incredibly impactful for these students,” Proto said.
Proto believes that the financial situation of students’ families should never prevent them from obtaining the best education possible. The sticker price, he said, should not deter students from applying to or enrolling in the College.
The College already has a series of programs that help students afford college. The Fair Shot Fund, for example, ensures that if a student’s family makes under $150,000 per year, then the family must contribute no more than $15,000 per year. Families that earn under $65,000, the median household income in the United States, will be expected to pay nothing.
“[These programs are] really about attracting the really talented students, and we think about that in stages … And so this particular gift again, is really focused on providing more opportunity for students from Maine and additional funds to support them in terms of the financial aid packages and the amount that we can provide to students ensuring they have a great experience,” Proto explained.
When distributing the money from this gift, the College will use the same criteria as it does for all financial aid decisions. It will use a holistic approach and consider all aspects of a student’s situation. In a state as regionally diverse as Maine, Proto believes that this process will be particularly beneficial.
“It’s much more about … thinking about how do you actually attract the most talented students from all backgrounds to this institution, and how do you actually do that in a state such as Maine that has a variety of places, like rural population, suburban populations, urban populations, and thinking about those students who otherwise would think ‘I might not have access to this opportunity,’ but now because of the additional financial aid funding from this particular anonymous gift, it’s incredibly helpful to actually increase that opportunity for students,” Proto explained.
Not only will this gift benefit students, but Proto believes that it will benefit the College as a whole through the enrollment of more students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
~ Matt Rocha ‘23