Yep, Maine may have its share of bad weather, but it just may be the place to have a baby. No silly woodworkers, not because we come in from the shop early but because of Harold Alfond. I talked about this awhile ago and it goes into full effect next month. In short if you have a baby in Maine after 01-01-2009 you get a $500 dollar scholarship. No income eligibility requirements at all. They figure they will average 14,000 children per year.

The Harold Alfond College Challenge is arguably the most generous "challenge" program in the United States. The program encourages college savings by awarding $500 in "seed money" to every Maine baby born after January 1, 2009.The funding for this program was provided by Harold Alfond, philanthropist and founder of Dexter Shoe Company. Alfond's foundation has given away more than $100 million dollars to higher education and athletic causes since 1950.

Eligibility for Funds:
To be eligible for funds under the program, a Maine baby must meet the following two requirements:

* Be born to a Maine resident on or after January 1, 2009
* Have a NexGen Section 529 plan opened for them within one year of birth

The funds do not have to be used at a college in Maine, but may be used anywhere in the United States towards an associate's, bachelor', or graduate degree. The money may also be used towards trade school and certificate programs.