COOPERS MILLS, Maine — Educationdata.org reports there are close to 93 million Americans living with student loan debt, a daunting figure for people who are thinking of getting a degree.
Mainers looking to get into healthcare will have a shot at student loan relief through Governor Janet Mills' Maine Jobs and Recovery plan.
Natalie Ledue benefited from a similar federal program. She says knew the healthcare field was for her, but the cost of education seemed out of reach.
The Sanford native applied for a federal scholarship that covered the cost of her master's degree at Boston College, as long as she worked in a rural area for two years after graduation.
"Once I learned that Maine was an option, it was quickly number one to come back," she said.
Now she's a nurse practitioner at Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills, a town she had never even heard of before this opportunity. She's calling the community home and choosing to stay even though her mandatory two years are up.
"I've gotten to know my patients and my colleagues and I feel pretty committed to this community now that I've been here," she said.
She says this federal scholarship was life-changing for her. Now, Maine is offering a similar state scholarship.
Governor Janet Mills announced she will be allocating $4 million of her Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to get students trained in healthcare and out into rural communities in need.
"A strong high quality healthcare system is essential to the health of Maine people and the health of our economy," Mills said at Coopers Mills on Tuesday.
This specific program will be focused on funding education for higher-level healthcare providers like nurse practitioners.
For anyone who wants to apply for this scholarship, please visit www.famemaine.com.