Why the Need Is Greater Than Ever

Maine faces distinctive challenges that the Mitchell Institute can help address.

As widely reported by the media, public confidence in the value of a college education recently fell to an historic low nationwide. Yet we know that college graduates on average earn $1.2 million more over their lifetimes than people without a four-year degree.

Here in Maine, the erosion in the value of higher education is coupled with three other challenges: The state’s workforce needs are outpacing our demographics, our rate of student degree completion is stagnant and trails national and New England rates, and our first-generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented BIPOC student populations have lower rates of college degree attainment.

The impact of these challenges is clear. Declines in college degree attainment make it more difficult for Maine employers to hire an educated workforce and deprives communities statewide of leadership potential needed to sustain vital civic institutions.

The mission of the Mitchell Institute — to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue, and achieve a college education — is more important than ever.

How the Mitchell Institute Makes a Difference for Maine

For nearly 30 years, the Mitchell Institute has demonstrated its ability to disrupt generational poverty for Mitchell Scholars by providing them with the financial resources to pursue higher education and the support they need to succeed. While 44% of recent Mitchell Scholars were the first in their families to attend college and 80% came from households earning less than Maine’s median family income, Mitchell Scholars as a whole graduate at a rate 27 percentage points higher than the national average.

Since 1995, we have supported more than 3,600 Mitchell Scholars in their degree attainment and career development, and every year we award more than $1.4 million in scholarships and related supports to Maine’s college-going students. By any measure, this is a significant investment in the next generation of citizens who are poised to grow and strengthen communities and economies statewide.

Watch Mitchell Institute President and CEO Jared Cash Explain Why the Need Is Greater Than Ever