“If you have a STEM degree the state will, and often does, pay you, instead of you paying the state on your income taxes,” Wildes said.
Before you start packing, mull over the advantages you might lose by leaving your current location, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of SavingForCollege.com. “One needs to consider how salaries in Maine compare with salaries elsewhere,” he said. “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. Maine offers opportunities in the information technology and health-care sectors, and there are many new start-ups popping up, Wildes said. The unemployment rate hovers around 3 percent, lower than the national rate, which is closer to 4 percent.
The program is likely to have a meaningful impact on the state’s economy, Wildes said, considering the current population is just around 1.3 million.
“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,” said Wildes.
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