On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Governor Gina Raimondo announced the reopening of applications for the Wavemaker Fellowship, a program that looks to inspire gradutes to pursue their careers in STEM and other key sectors via student loan reimbursement.

The fellowship provides graduates who are working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and some design fields with a refundable tax credit that covers student loan payments of up to $6,000 per year for up to four years.

Photo Credit: Wavemaker Fellowship official site.

With this third round of applications, there’s an “early action” option for graduating seniors, allowing those who have a pending job to apply right away. In the program’s previous two openings, the fellowship awarded 427 particpants student loan repayments.

CommerceRI said that applicants were considered based on their commitment to both their relevant fields and the “impact of the award on the applicants’ decisions to stay and work in Rhode Island.”

A Conversation with Jillian Butler: The Wavemaker Fellowship

Raimondo elaborated. “A thriving STEM workforce is vital to continuing Rhode Island’s economic comeback,” she said. “We are taking important steps to keep talented people here and attract others to start their careers in Rhode Island. The Wavemaker Fellowship is a creative solution to easing the burden of college debt and provides companies with an important recruiting tool.”

Jillian Butler, Wavemaker Fellowship director, added that it helps fast track graduates’ careers.

“The Wavemaker Fellowship program provides an opportunity for STEM and design professionals in Rhode Island to start their careers without the additional worry of student loan debt and allows them to focus on making a life and building a career here in Rhode Island,” she said. “The program also supports recruitment and retention efforts of companies who are growing and hiring high-quality talent in these key fields.”