Lonely Planet Writer

Graduates with student debt may want to move to Maine

Getting out from under a pile of student debt can be incredibly tough – but it could be a little bit easier for US graduates who decide to pick up their lives and start over in the tiny state of Maine.

Nubble Light in Maine. Image by Posnov/Getty Images

A tax initiative in the north-eastern state will offer incentives for graduates who live there to pay off their loans, no matter what state they studied in. The Educational Opportunity Tax Credit was originally designed to help students who graduated from college or university in Maine, but the state realized that expanding it to those who studied out of state would encourage more people to go there and join the workforce.

A lobster dinner in Maine. Image by ©rhkamen/Getty Images

But this isn’t just free money handed out to students – the way it works is that whatever amount you pay off on your student loans each year will be deducted from your state income tax. So, if you paid $2000 of your student loan debt that year and owe the state $2500 in tax, you will only have to pay $500 in taxes. There are even more benefits for those who studied in STEM programs – science, technology, engineering and math – who could receive money back from the government if they pay more off their loan than their taxes.

Maine lobster roll held up in front of Portland Head Lighthouse. Image by ©Justin Britton/Shutterstock

While Maine is a popular holiday destination for travellers looking to enjoy lighthouses, leisurely walks on the beach and lobster rolls, it has not proved as enticing for young people to move there permanently. But, there are plenty of incentives – beyond tax breaks – if you are looking for a change of pace. Portland offers up the perfect small city for those who want to enjoy amazing craft beer and foodie scenes – with quick access to national parks and coastlines. Should you need to soak up some big city living, it’s just a two-hour drive to Boston for a weekend break.

If this sounds like the perfect reason to consider relocating to Maine, find out more about the program here.