LANSING – State Representative Andy Schor (D-Lansing) reintroduced and state Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-East Lansing) introduced a bill that would create an incentive to keep college students living and working in Michigan after graduation. The bill would provide tax credits for college graduates regardless of whether or not Congress comes to a consensus on student loan interest rates. It is modeled after the successful Opportunity Maine program.

“We have the best universities in the world here in Michigan. We need to convince the graduates – whether originally from Michigan or not – that Michigan is a great place to live, work, and play. Providing $1,500 or so for five years shows them we are investing in them to help make Michigan a great place for the future,” Schor said. “Talent attraction and retention is a bipartisan issue, and has been a priority for Democrats and Republicans alike. I look forward to working with my colleagues on HB 4118 and moving it through the legislative process to Gov. Snyder for his signature. Michigan’s future is and should be our top priority. “

Sen. Hertel introduced a version of the same bill – Senate Bill 57 – in the Senate today.

“Far too many college graduates are crippled by student loan debt. At the same time, an alarmingly high number of graduates of Michigan universities choose to leave our state and begin their lives somewhere else,” Hertel said. “This legislation would help ease the financial burden on our young people, and give them a reason to stay here and continue moving Michigan forward.”

In 2013, student loan interest rates for students taking out subsidized loans doubled to 6.8 percent. During that time, the U.S. Congress worked to try to keep the interest at 3.4 percent, where it had been. In May of that year, Schor and supporters gave testimony on his bill in the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee, while a similar bill also moved through the Senate, but afterward failed to get any traction in the Legislature.

HB 4118 and SB 57 would encourage students graduating from Michigan’s higher education institutions to live and work in Michigan after graduation by offering income tax credits for a portion of their student debt. Eligible individuals could claim an income tax credit equal to 50 percent of the amount of qualified student loan payments made during a tax year – up to 20 percent of the average yearly tuition for Michigan’s public universities.