BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund, a scholarship fund that’s been in existence since the mid-1950s, has made a new movie to help its fundraising efforts.
The 15-minute video, “Make a Difference,” was produced by Third Chapter Films of Bowdoinham. It distills the organization’s history, mission, and impact with interviews of current and past award recipients and board members.
When BASAF was started almost half a century ago, it had $5,700 on hand from local contributors. Now, in 2015, it has an endowment of more than $4 million.
The BASAF has helped students fund traditional four-years colleges, as well as trade schools and community colleges.
For example, one person in the video, Brunswick High School graduate Jamie Dufresne, is receiving aid from BASAF to help her attend the Culinary Institute of America, in New York.
The total cost of the two-year school, she says, is $70,000. But she says with BASAF’s help, she can attend.
But in many cases, “kids hearts will be broken” says Debbie Ludwig, a college counselor at Mt. Ararat High School. “They have this big dream of where they want to go … and not be able to find the money for that.”
According to BASAF, the average Maine college graduate owes about $30,000 in student loans, giving Maine the seventh highest debt burden in the country.
“Since 1954, our endowments and awards have increased, but not nearly as much as the costs of post-secondary education,” the video says.
“We need to do more,” says BASAF Treasurer Dan Doiron.
BASAF does a blind, need-based assessment of all its applications to determine if and how much to award a student.
The organization estimates it has given aid to more than 4,000 students from Brunswick, Harpswell, Topsham, Bowdoin, and Bowdoinham.
BASAF will hold a film screening on Thursday night, Oct. 15, at the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick. The event is free and open to the public.
More information can be found at studentaidfund.org.