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 to the college operations. 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.

Current initiatives

Gardener and gardens: $50,000 annually or $1 million endowment

From the humble organic community garden school to the formal and historic Turrets Seaside and Beatrix Farrand Gardens created in Bar Harbor’s gilded age, the COA gardens provide beautiful, scenic, academic, and gathering spaces for the COA community as well as the tens of thousands of visitors that come to campus every year. Classes in gardening, botany, horticulture, cultural history, landscape design, as well as art, science, and biology take place in the many gardens on campus.

To care for these living assets, COA needs a head gardener to develop and execute a work plan, supervise work study students, and teach classes. This person will be responsible for maintaining and managing the existing formal gardens, while assisting with the planning and development for any new gardens, and for the planting of new trees, shrubs and other perennial landscape plants on the campus.

Chair in computer science: $2.5 million

College of the Atlantic seeks to establish a new academic discipline in computational science. A knowledge of computer science and the ability to write code for computer programs is an increasingly important skill across many disciplines and careers. Adding a computer science faculty position will increase the relevance and value of a COA education. Students will gain a technical skill that is fast becoming essential for work in many areas of science and business.

There are three areas of quantitative science and mathematics which are important for students wishing to work in the natural, physical, and social sciences: statistics, applied mathematics, and computer science. Students will need strong training in each of these areas in order to bring to bear the full power of mathematics and quantitative methods. COA will construct a novel curriculum in which these three areas—frequently taught in separate departments at colleges and universities—are taught across the curriculum and in a unified way.

Performing arts chair: $1.25 million

COA seeks funding to establish an endowed faculty chair in the performing arts. A performing arts chair at College of the Atlantic will synthesize various disciplines and strengthen student skills in public speaking and presenting, self-awareness and confidence, improvisation and creative problem solving, community building, creating works for the theater, knowledge of cultural histories. We also anticipate that this position will help increase recruitment and retention, as the arts have a proven, unparalleled popular appeal.