AUGUSTA, MAINE — August 9, 2019 —The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) announced today that it is awarding a $20,000 scholarship prize to eighteen-month-old Newcomb Stevens IV, of Saco, Maine, as part of the Invest in ME 20th Anniversary Sweepstakes. He is the child of Newcomb Stevens III and Katrina Records.
“We were totally surprised to learn that our little Newcomb was selected for this scholarship prize,” said his mother, Katrina Records of Saco. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was real.”
His parents told FAME that they both graduated with significant student loan debt and believe this $20,000 scholarship prize will make it easier for Newcomb to eventually attend some form of higher education than it was for them. His mom Katrina said, “We both have a lot of student debt which continues to impact our lives now. Saving what we can now will definitely help little Newcomb have less student loan debt.”
Newcomb’s parents started saving for his higher education almost as soon as he was born. Like many Maine-born babies, Newcomb was awarded the $500 Alfond Grant. They then opened a NextGen 529™ account so they could invest in his education after high school. They actively encourage family members to contribute to his account on birthdays and during the holidays. As Maine residents, they are also eligible for Maine matching grants, like the annual matching grant. For many families, gifts to NextGen 529 accounts are highly valued because they are gifts for the child’s future. Katrina adds, “Now is the time [to make such contributions] during these early years because he’s little and doesn’t expect big gifts.” Katrina went on to say, “I had to find a way to pay for my college experience on my own, and I’m definitely concerned about what tuition expense will be when he turns eighteen.”
Both Katrina and Newcomb III were first-generation college students, graduating from the University of Maine Farmington with Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology. Katrina has also graduated with a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Southern Maine. Newcomb III said, “Having too much student loan debt is stressful, and I don’t want my child to feel that or have a lot of difficulty paying for his education. I also like that what we’re doing now will help our son to follow his passions tomorrow, whether that’s to be an English major or a truck driver. The NextGen 529 account also lets us invest for whatever path he wants to take, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a four-year college or University. It can be a two-year vocational program or associate degree at a community college.”
“I am delighted to congratulate Newcomb and his parents,” said Bruce Wagner, Chief Executive Officer at FAME. “Helping him with his future education is a wonderful way to celebrate twenty years of NextGen 529’s efforts in helping Maine residents to afford higher education. We are thrilled to be able to offer this scholarship prize as a way to remind all Mainers that no matter what path a student takes – trade school or college – opening and then regularly contributing to a NextGen 529 account is an important step in helping them achieve their future dreams.”
The Invest in ME 20th Anniversary Sweepstakes is part of Invest in Me 2030, which is an ambitious statewide initiative set by FAME that states: By 2030, all Maine families are saving for college and Maine will have one of the lowest average student loan debt rates in the nation.
About NextGen 529
NextGen 529 is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor or Maine Distribution Agent or call Merrill Edge at 1-877-463-9843 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker- dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
About the Finance Authority of Maine
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue businesses and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of quality jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus of economic and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit FAMEmaine.com.
About the $500 Alfond Grant
The $500 Alfond Grant is the grant awarded by the Alfond Scholarship Foundation to all babies born Maine residents on or after January 1, 2013. For Maine children born 2008-2012 the grant was available on a more limited basis. The Alfond Grant program is a legacy gift from late philanthropist Harold Alfond to benefit future generations of Maine children. To learn more visit MyAlfondGrant.org.
 Maine grants are linked to eligible Maine accounts. Upon withdrawal, grants are paid only to institutions of higher education. See Terms and Conditions of Maine Grant Programs for other conditions and restrictions that apply at NextGenforME.com.
 The Alfond Grant is not automatic in all circumstances and is also available in limited other circumstances. The use of the Alfond Grant is also subject to certain restrictions – see Alfond Grant Guidelines at [give URL].