The Maine Community Foundation is taking applications from some Washington County college graduates for grant awards that will help repay their student loans.

Specifically, the MCF is looking for folks who graduated within the past five years. They don't have to be native to Washington County, but do need to show a dedication to staying there, at least for a while! Imagine getting free money to help alleviate some of your debt!

Student loans are wonderful at getting you through school, but as I've seen with my daughter-in-law, are a shadow that hovers over you for years, when you're making life decisions like buying a house or starting a family. This grant just might take some of that shadow away and help you see the sun again.

There is a catch, however, (isn't there always?) If you win one of the grants, of up to $5,000, you have to commit to doing a set amount of community service work. The cool part is that you can pick your activity, so you could dish up meals in a soup kitchen, or pound nails for Habitat for Humanity. Whatever works for you!

The deadline for applications is July 15th, so you want to get yours in soon. For more information, and to find the applications, log onto the Maine Community Foundation's website. The grants are distributed through the MCF's Gracie Fund.