Student loan debt is a major issue for many millennials. A bill in Congress would offer loan forgiveness to West Virginians who want to return home, or stay in the state, to work.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Michigan Senator Gary Peters recently introduced SB676. The bill, which if passed would be called the "Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act of 2019” would update tax law, allowing foundations, non-profits, and some for-profit companies to provide a multi-year loan forgiveness grant for employees. The new program would be focused on communities with population loss and which have lower than average rates of people with college degrees.
Paul Daugherty, CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia, said the bill would create economic growth in West Virginia, by bringing young talent back to the state.
“This would be one of the first steps to attract young people back to retain them and keep them here when it comes to paying off their loans," Daugherty said. "Not too many communities offer that in this country."
Daugherty points to a similar program in Michigan, called Come Home Awards, which successfully used loan forgiveness as an incentive to attract and retain young people.
According to the latest U.S Census report, West Virginia lost more than 11,000 people between July 2017 and July 2018.