Student scholarships and financial aid

Named scholarships are designed to offer donors the opportunity to provide support to deserving students with or without establishing an endowed fund. Donors wishing to establish a named annual scholarship must pledge annual gifts of $5,000 or more for at least a four-year period. During that time, funds will go directly to supporting a student with demonstrated financial need.  A gift of $100,000 or more establishes a permanent—or endowed—scholarship.

The Advancement team will work with the donor to execute an agreement, designed with or without student qualification criteria (stipulations, demographics, academic standing, academic programs, etc.).

The Collins Family Chair in Music & Sound Studies

Darron From the first class of College of the Atlantic students in 1972 to today, music has been woven throughout the study and practice of human ecology. Just as the visual and performing arts are essential to the exploration of human ecology, so too is music.

Over these five decades, students have studied music in the context of history and culture, and have developed an appreciation and understanding of the powerful roles music can play in shaping personal, social, and political life. Students have examined natural and social processes through sound and music, and utilized music as a tool to communicate insights they’ve developed in other disciplines. And as would be expected, students have studied the widest variety of instruments and developed their own musical skills both independently and as part of ensembles, from the stage to the theater pit, to ceremonies, and in all manner of contexts.

One student whose life has been deeply shaped by music is alum and president Darron Collins ’92 (pictured). The leader of our college over the past 13 years, he may be better known as an anthropologist, but if you knew Darron as a student you would have known him for his love of music and his passion for guitar.

The Collins Family Chair in Music & Sound Studies is an opportunity to honor Darron’s lifelong love for music by ensuring that music will always be woven throughout the life of the college and feature as a permanent part of the human ecology curriculum. Read more here.

The COA language and cultural immersion program

Yucatan program Every winter, a group of COA students journeys to México for a term-long immersion, led by Program Director Karla Peña and the staff of her organization, PICY (Programas de Inmersión Cultural en Yucatán). While in Yucatán, students spend two months taking language and cultural immersion classes in the city of Mérida, and then develop their own independent, interdisciplinary research projects on the culture of the peninsula. For more details on the program and funding opportunities related to this program, please download the PDF here.



The COA endowment provides critical support that enhances the quality and accessibility of a COA education. Comprised of dozens of funds established by generous supporters, our endowment is a permanent source of income which supports financial aid and scholarships, faculty chairs, the academic program, and COA’s facilities and grounds.

COA’s endowment has grown steadily since its inception. Twenty-five years ago, the endowment totaled just under $3 million. At the end of fiscal year 2023, our endowment investments totaled $78.8 million, providing substantial support for the college’s operational budget. Investments have generally outperformed the market and have been recovering substantially. These assets are the direct result of the generosity of our supporters, and enable the college to thrive during challenging times.

To learn more about COA’s endowed accounts, please see our latest Philanthropy Report. To inquire about making a gift to the endowment, please contact the Dean of Institutional Advancement at 207-801-5620.

Thorndike Library Thorndike Library

College of the Atlantic is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (tax ID#23-7032625). Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.