Graduation season is a wonderful time of celebration, but also of hope for the next chapter about to begin. As someone who earned his degree as a non-traditional student, I believe that education is one of the most critical priorities for our state in order to grow our economy over the long term.

The recession forced many difficult budget cuts this session, but I’m pleased that we were able to limit the impact on our schools, community colleges, and universities. We also ensured a future for vital adult education programs, which are important to both traditional and transitional students as well as to providing our communities with continuing education opportunities.

For students headed on to higher education here in Maine, please remember to sign up for the Opportunity Maine program at your school’s financial aid office.

Passed by the Maine Legislature last year, Opportunity Maine allows students who earn an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited Maine junior college, college or university to earn a tax credit for their student loans upon graduation. Employers can also choose to make the loan payments for their employee and take advantage of the credit themselves.

The tax credit is limited to what the person actually pays in loan payments or to what would be necessary to pay for an education in the University of Maine System or Maine Community College System, whichever is less.

If you’d like more information about Opportunity Maine, or other higher education initiatives taken by the Maine Legislature this session, please feel free to give me a call at home at 892-6591, or e-mail me at [email protected]

Rep. Mark Bryant

House District 110, parts of Windham and Gray

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