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Governor LePage Announces Merger of MELA and FAME

June 16, 2015

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA — Governor Paul R. LePage announced today he has signed into law legislation merging the Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA) with the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME).

“This merger will provide Maine students and their families with one-stop shopping for their higher education finance needs,” Governor LePage stated. “This action unites the best of two agencies that are dedicated to serving the citizens of Maine.”

The Governor on Friday signed into law a Governor’s bill, L.D. 1443, “An Act to Merge the Maine Educational Loan Authority with the Finance Authority of Maine.” The bill received unanimous support in the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, as well as in the full Legislature. The measure will take effect 90 days following adjournment.

The new law merges MELA, which offers private student loan financing, with FAME, which has long guaranteed federal student loans and administered the state’s various higher education loan, loan repayment, grant and savings programs. Both the MELA and FAME boards of directors supported the merger, including State Treasurer Terry Hayes, who sits on both boards.

“I wish to thank the MELA board of directors and their longtime executive director, Shirley Erickson, for their service to the people of Maine and for their support of this sensible consolidation,” stated Governor LePage.

A merger of the two agencies had been contemplated over the years, but was never implemented. MELA recently learned that its longstanding loan servicer, Maine Education Services (MES), would be discontinuing its services to MELA effective September 30. Without action this session, thousands of Maine students and their families could have been affected. This move will ensure a smooth transition and avoid any disruption of services for private student loan borrowers.

“Merging MELA with FAME will streamline the higher education financing process for Maine families,” stated Bruce Wagner, Chief Executive Officer at FAME. “This merger will maintain MELA’s important private loan program while reducing borrower confusion and achieving efficiencies and cost savings.”

FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue businesses and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of quality jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus between economic and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com.

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