Current initiatives

Student Scholarships: $8 million

COA has a strong commitment to first generation college students, students from rural Maine, and students from abroad. We believe education is the lever to social mobility.  Scholarships allow us to attract and retain the best and brightest students for our unique academic program. As we look to find the intellectually curious, creative, and adventurous individuals who we know will thrive here, we want to make sure they can come, regardless of their ability to pay.

Endowed Faculty Chairs: $1.25 million per chair

At the core of our work and our future success as a college is a cohort of talented faculty committed to interdisciplinary teaching, collaborative research, and creative work that actively involves undergraduates. By endowing additional faculty positions, we will solidify our long-standing commitment to approaching the relationship between humans and their environment through the lenses of the arts, humanities, and sciences. 

Endowed professorships could include - but are not limited to - Computer Science, Performing Arts, Creative Writing, Teaching Excellence, Physics, Design, Education Studies, Biology, Literature, and Philosophy.

Visiting Fellows Program: $1 million

To complement our own faculty and broaden our curriculum, we want to bring a continuous flow of high-profile thinkers and scholars to teach and conduct research or creative work at the college. A Visiting Fellows program is exciting to both our current faculty and students alike. Faculty see opportunities to learn from peers and combine new ideas and disciplines into their work and research. Importantly, the addition of Visiting Fellows would provide more flexibility for permanent faculty members to teach in teams or teach off campus. Further, visiting scholars would provide public lectures to the entire MDI community, adding culturally and intellectually important voices to our community as we steward this remarkable island.

Writing for the Future Program: $1 million

The written word  is core to everything we do and a pervasive tool for communicating the sciences, human studies, and arts and design. The Writing for the Future program will provide faculty support in composition and technical writing, expand the college’s writing tutor program, and institute new methods of communication to ensure COA students are prepared for today’s labor market.

Fossil Fuel Free Campus: $6 million

We aspire to be the first fossil fuel-free campus in the world—where heating, electricity, and transportation are completely run on renewable energies. Our campus would become a model for how institutions of higher education should be powered.

The community has developed and adopted an energy framework that outlines the steps necessary to achieve this goal. Much of the work involves improving energy conservation: the better insulated a building is, the less energy it will require to heat and cool it. New roofs and triple-glazed windows will be installed, thus “renewing” the envelope of each building. In classes, students will learn how to position and install solar arrays for the most efficient energy capture. Each building will be outfitted with an energy monitor—dorms as well as offices, the library, the dining hall, and academic buildings.

New Student Residences: $5 million

Studies show that students who live on campus have higher rates of retention and success. Living in student housing frees up time for students to study, and diminishes the opportunities for loneliness and isolation. Currently, COA houses only 45% of our student population—the other half rent seasonal apartments. But finding appropriate housing is increasingly difficult. Our goal is to provide housing for 75% of students by providing an additional 100 students with campus-managed housing. We are currently exploring the options available for purchase, or to build, or a combination.

New and Renovated Academic Buildings: $19.5 million

This project includes an expansive new building overlooking Frenchman Bay and renovation of existing spaces which, in combination, will house a mix of classrooms, laboratories, performance space, an art gallery, faculty offices, studios, a new teaching greenhouse, and multi-use spaces. These buildings will become the academic center of campus and the heart of College of the Atlantic life.

Scholarship 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 $2,500 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 $20,000 or more establishes a permanent, or endowed, scholarship.

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


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 years ago, the endowment totaled just under $3 million. At the end of Fiscal Year 2015, our endowment investments totaled $51 million, providing substantial support for the college’s operational budget. Investments have generally outperformed the market and have been recovering substantially.

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