PORTLAND — Beginning next fall, an endowed scholarship will be available for veterans attending the University of Southern Maine. The scholarship is being created through a $500,000 gift from Vietnam Marine pilot Joe Boulos and his wife and Sheri to the University of Southern Maine Foundation.

“It is our hope that our gift will help veterans get the education they seek and deserve,” Joe Boulos, chairman of Boulos Asset Management and founder of the Boulos Co. “They have given so much of themselves in service to our country, and Sheri and I are pleased to be able to give something to them in return.”

The scholarship fund focuses on helping veterans overcome hurdles to earning their degrees and will bring together both financial and academic resources for veteran scholars. It will also support a graduate assistantship for a veteran to work with the USM Promise scholarship coordinator to supplement career and other support services provided by USM’s Office of Veterans Services.

“Transitioning from the military to the classroom can be a significant challenge for some veterans and for many there are setbacks along the way,” said Lorrie Spaulding of USM Veterans Services. “This scholarship and the additional supports it will create for veterans will have a tremendous, positive impact on students who have served their country in the military.”

Applications will be accepted in the spring of 2020 for the upcoming academic year. Veterans who have been enrolled at USM for at least one year, with demonstrated financial need and a solid record of academic performance, will be eligible to apply. Five scholarships are expected to be awarded for 2020-2021.