SACO — Newcomb Stevens IV of Saco is not old enough to know the value of a dollar or what college he wants to attend, but financial planning for his higher education just got a little easier.

The 18-month-old toddler was recently awarded a $20,000 scholarship by the Finance Authority of Maine through a sweepstakes in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Invest in ME student financial wellness program.

Eighteen-month-old Newcomb Stevens IV of Saco was recently awarded a $20,000 scholarship through the Finance Authority of Maine. Courtesy of Stevens family

There were more than 20,000 entries during the entry period that ran from Jan. 20 to May 29.

There were four ways to enter the sweepstakes. One was to open a NextGen 529 account, through a program administered by the Finance Authority of Maine that allows families to save money that will grow tax free as long as it is used for a qualified higher educational expenses.

Families also could enter their children by making a contribution to their child’s account, filling out an online form or mailing in an entry.

Katrina Records said her son’s name was entered because funds were deposited in his account during the entry period. Records said Newcomb’s birthday fell during that time period, and she and her husband, Newcomb Stevens III, had asked family and friends for contributions to his college fund in lieu of toys or other gifts.

She had no idea that Newcomb’s name had been entered and was surprised to hear her son had won a $20,000 scholarship.

“To be honest, I didn’t think it was real. I thought it was a scam or something,” she said.

It was indeed real, and $20,000 was deposited into Newcomb’s NextGen account, and will accumulate interest until Newcomb graduates from high school and decides to use the money to pursue higher education.

Records said helping their son prepare financially for college is important to both her and her husband, and they are extremely grateful for the scholarship.

She said she worked full-time to put herself through college and it was very challenging. Both she and her husband graduated from college with student debt.

“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,” she said.

Funds in NextGen accounts can be used toward accredited colleges or vocational schools, which Records said will give her son the freedom to pursue his passion whether that requires going to a four-year university, community college or trade school.

When his parents opened the account, Newcomb was able to receive $500 through the the Alfond Scholarship Foundation, eligible to all babies born Maine residents on or after Jan. 1, 2013. For more information on NextGen accounts, go towww.nextgenforme.com.

“I am delighted to congratulate Newcomb and his parents,” FAME CEO Bruce Wagner said in a written statement. “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.”

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for a private college is $35,830 a year and the average cost of in-state tuition for a public college is $10,230 a year.

— Liz Gotthelf — 207-780-9015

[email protected]


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