October 1, 2022
RI COMMERCE CORP. on Thursday introduced 121 faculty graduates who will obtain pupil mortgage reimbursement by means of the Wavemaker Scholarship Program./MULTIPLE RHODE ISLAND Democratic nominees might be decided within the state’s major on Tuesday. / PBN FILE PHOTO/NICOLE DOCENRODE

PROVIDENCE – 100 and twenty-one latest faculty graduates will obtain pupil mortgage reimbursement as a part of a refundable tax credit score introduced by RI Commerce Corp. and Gov. Daniel J. McKee on Thursday.

The awards below the federal government’s Wavemaker Scholarship Program got here after a major drop in demand for the federal government’s stimulus program, with purposes dropping 41% from 245 in 2021 to 141 this yr. Beforehand reported by PBN. The distinction in authorized recipients is much less putting: 161 final yr versus 121 this yr, though the approval price has risen from 65% to 85% as a result of fewer candidates.

RI Commerce beforehand stated the decline in demand was because of the momentary suspension of pupil mortgage repayments throughout the pandemic and anticipated this system to be in demand once more after the coverage ends. Nevertheless, some legislators and members of the Wavemaker Scholarships Committee, which opinions and approves purposes, have additionally instructed that the state do extra to publicize this system and probably resume accepting purposes this yr.

Requested about reopening the present spherical for extra candidates, Jennifer McGee, a spokeswoman for RI Commerce, stated the company plans to launch a separate well being employee scholarship this fall. One other spherical of reimbursement for STEM staff might be out there subsequent yr, she stated in an e-mail.

In a press release, Hilary Fagan, President and COO of RI Commerce, praised this system for serving to to “construct a extremely expert workforce to satisfy the employment wants of Rhode Island firms.”

The State, in its Fiscal Yr 2023 Funds, expanded eligibility, accompanied by further funding, to incorporate medical and psychological well being staff to the listing of eligible recipients. Launched in 2016 below former Governor Gene M. Raimondo, this system initially focused science, know-how, engineering, and arithmetic staff, providing refundable annual tax credit of $1,000 to $6,000 for as much as 4 years, with the quantity awarded primarily based on degree acquired training.

This system shortly grew to become aggressive, with 28% of 688 candidates authorized in 2019, PBN beforehand reported.

The 121 candidates authorized within the newest program characterize 87 completely different firms. The press launch says that for the primary time within the historical past of this system, greater than half – 52% – are ladies.

87% of tax credit score recipients are Rhode Islanders, and 69% are graduates of Rhode Island schools or universities. The press launch says that 30% are engineers, and two of the awardees personal their very own enterprise.

(Replace: remark from RI Commerce added in 4th paragraph)

Nancy Lavin is a workers author for PBN. You’ll be able to contact her at [email protected].

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