As Maine’s college freshman prepare to begin fall classes and seniors plan their futures, I’d like to remind readers about Opportunity Maine, an important initiative to help college graduates.

Opportunity Maine reimburses college graduates who continue to live and work in Maine for the educational loan payments they make each year through a state income tax credit. Our state faces the dual challenges of relatively low average pay and high average student debt, but this bold program can offset much of or even the entire burden of educational loan payments for some graduates.

Unfortunately, too many eligible Mainers miss out on this opportunity because they aren’t aware of the program. During the first session of the 126th Legislature, I sponsored a bill to raise awareness of this program, because I know its potential to benefit Maine’s college graduates, our workforce and the economy as a whole.

Throughout my first term in the Legislature, where I serve on the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, job creation and economic development have been my top priority. The Opportunity Maine tax credit is one of the best tools we have to keep young people here and make it easier for our college graduates to live and work here.

Many other resources are available to help Maine students afford their education. Visit Finance Authority of Maine, or FAME, online at www.famemaine.com for more information.

As Maine residents decide whether to go back to school, choose a college to attend or make plans for life after school, I hope they will keep Opportunity Maine in mind. Our state needs their skills, expertise and energy for a brighter future.

Rep. Gay Grant

D-Gardiner

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