A $2 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation has capped a $10 million fundraising drive benefiting a college scholarship program founded by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

The gift will help The Mitchell Institute, which provides a scholarship to one graduating senior from every public high school in Maine every year, to increase the amount of the scholarships from $7,000 to $10,00 in the coming years, according to the institute’s president and CEO, Meg Baxter.

“Clearly the cost of college has increased faster than families’ ability to pay,” Baxter said.

The gift was announced Friday.

“We have very high regard for the Institute’s work,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation.

The Alfond Foundation is known for automatically giving every baby born a Maine resident a $500 Alfond Grant for higher education expenses. The foundation has awarded nearly 23,000 grants, worth almost $11.5 million, since 2009.

The Mitchell Institute, established in 1995, has awarded more than $11 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of financial need, community impact and academic promise. Eighty-five percent of Mitchell Scholars graduate from college, compared to 50 percent of college students in Maine.