Many states suffer from “brain drain” of STEM graduates to out-of-state jobs. To address this barrier, STEM-educated students could be incentivized to remain in the state following graduation.
For example, the Opportunity Maine program provides annual lump-sum tax credits to students who graduate from a Maine college and go on to live and work in the state. Individuals qualify if they maintained Maine residency while attending an accredited state higher education institution, obtained an associate’s or bachelor’s degree on or after January 1, 2008, and worked for an in-state employer after graduation. STEM graduates are eligible for a refundable tax credit and non-STEM degrees are eligible for the nonrefundable tax credit (cannot exceed the Maine income tax amount).
The state could offer tax credits, loan forgiveness, support for down payment on a home, or subsidized wage, depending on the in-state conditions and graduate needs. By investing in STEM graduates, the state will foster the future drivers of innovation and job growth.