BRUNSWICK (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- $1.5 trillion. The latest numbers from the Federal Reserve show that's where we're at as a nation when it comes to student loan debt. For Maine workers and employers, there's help.
It's called the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit and it reimburses student loan payments for Mainers who meet certain criteria. Representative Mattie Doughtry of Brunswick was a sponsor of the student loan payback offer. She says graduates don't seem to know about it and aren't taking advantage.
"By not taking advantage you literally are leaving money on the table," said Rep. Doughtry. "And for some students it can be upwards of $4,000 which is a lot of money."
There's a catch. If you graduated prior to 2008 you do not qualify.
Representative Doughtry says the program has been around for a while but it's changed over time.
"It now covers associates degrees, it covers four year degrees it covers degrees from institutions outside the state and what's really exciting too is it's now for employers too," said Doughtry. "So an employer can recruit talented individuals by offering to help pay some of their student loans then the employer and the student gets to take advantage of the tax credit."
Doughtry says the offer is used as an incentive to keep young people working here, and to attract younger workers to the state of Maine.