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The College announced on Oct. 4 that it received a seven million dollar gift to expand financial aid for local students. The gift comes from the George G. Petrikas Revocable Trust.

The gift will establish the George G. Petrikas Financial Aid Fund, designed to provide financial aid for high school graduates from Bangor and Waterville who enroll at the College.

If, in a given year, no students from Bangor or Waterville meet the requirements for the fund, financial aid will then be extended to students from Kennebec, Penobscot, or Somerset counties. If again no students meet the criteria, the fund will be extended to any students who have graduated from Maine highschools.

The donor, George Petrikas, graduated from the College in 1956. He grew up in Bangor and attended Bangor High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Colby. While at the College, Petrikas was on the track team.

Petrikas was a prominent member of his local community, helping run his family’s two restaurants in Bangor. Additionally, he served in the military in the 1950’s. Petrikas passed away in 2019 at the age of 85.

Donations like this allow the College to increase affordability for local students and enable the school to enroll the most talented students of all backgrounds.

“Increasing access for talented students from Maine, particularly those from our local communities, is extremely important to the College,” Vice President and Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Matt Proto in an article posted by the College said. “Colby has a long history with and commitment to Waterville, central Maine, and the broader state. This gift allows us to continue to expand opportunities for great students in those areas to benefit from the distinctive elements of a Colby education.”

In 2017, the College began its Dare Northward campaign. One of the initiatives of the campaign is greater access and affordability for students of all social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.

Since the campaign began, more than sixty-three million dollars have been raised for financial aid. Sixteen million dollars have been raised specifically to support students from Maine.

Conrad Ayers `23 is a student from Waterville. He thinks that the donation will have a positive effect on the College’s ability to enroll students from the local community.

“People from Waterville and Bangor, I would say, on average are probably less well-off than other places in the world, so that would pose a problem to going to Colby, but this fund will help with that,” Ayers said.

Colby is currently one of a small number of selective schools that is able to meet 100% of demonstrated need without loans.

“If a student’s family has a total income of $65,000 or less, approximately the median household income in the U.S., and assets typical of that range, the College guarantees a parent or guardian contribution of $0,” the College’s financial aid website reads. “For families earning up to $150,000 with assets typical of that range, Colby’s Fair Shot Fund ensures the parent or guardian contribution will be capped at $15,000.”

The College’s investment in financial aid for students who have demonstrated need makes a Colby education accessible to most families. Based on the latest statistics from the U.S. Census bureau, Colby is often a more affordable option than comparable public institutions.

~ Kristen Shen `24

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