If you feel overburdened by your student debt, here is a possible solution to your problem: move to Maine! Maine has one of the oldest populations in the United States, 42 being the median age, and they are having trouble securing their long-term workforce needs due to their lack of youngsters. The coastal state is looking to do something about that by providing tax credits to student loan borrowers.
The Educational Opportunity Tax Credit
This is Maine’s offering: people can now subtract their total student loan payments over the year from their state income tax liability. So, for example, if you owe the state $2,000 in state income taxes and you paid $1,800 in student loans, you’ll only owe Maine $200.
The credit is more generous with STEM degrees: Borrowers from science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields can get a check from the state if the amount they paid for their student loans exceeds their state income tax liability for the year. For example, if an engineer paid $2,500 in student loans and owed just $2,000 in state income taxes, they’ll receive a $500 reimbursement from Maine.
Should you hop aboard?
Before heading out to Maine for some lobster, lighthouses and a new life, make sure to consider certain factors. For instance, what will you be giving up by leaving your current location? “One needs to consider how salaries in Maine compare with salaries elsewhere,” Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Savingforcollege.com, told CNBC. “If your salary elsewhere is higher, you might be able to create your own loan forgiveness program.”
The average salary in the state is $45,300, and the unemployment rate is about 3 percent (1 percent lower than the national rate).
Plus, you have the better chance of seeing a moose in Maine than you do anywhere else but in Alaska. And, if you just want to try it out, Maine has a “Visit for a Week, Stay for a Lifetime” campaign going, which encourages employers to give potential job candidates from out-of-state a voucher for a week’s vacation when they come to Maine for an interview.
Whether this is the right move for you or not, the promise it has for the state of Maine is fairly substantial. The program is likely to have a meaningful impact on the state’s economy. As Nate Wildes, engagement director of Live and Work in Maine, said: “If we attract 40,000 to 60,000 new people over the next five to 10 years, and those people meet the workforce needs, that’s an exorbitant amount of people for Maine.”
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