LISBON — A baby from Lisbon has become the 15,000th Maine newborn to receive a $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant.

Officials say Irie Mastrella received a head start on college costs when her parents recently enrolled her in the program, which was formed through the estate of the late Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe Co.

Irie is the daughter of Nick and Angela Mastrella and was born in April at Mercy Hospital in Portland.

Since going into effect in 2008, the program has contributed more than $7.5 million to NextGen college savings accounts to help families prepare early for the costs of higher education. Any baby born in Maine can receive a grant if they are signed up before their first birthday.


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