- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A nonprofit serving St. Clair County hopes offering financial incentives will attract college graduates who have moved out of the area.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County plans to offer three $10,000 “reverse scholarships” early next year. The goal is to help graduates with their college loan debt and bolster the area’s workforce, the Times Herald of Port Huron reports (https://bwne.ws/1Li1v0x ).

Foundation president Randy Maiers said the nonprofit already awards about $200,000 annually in scholarships to send students to college. The “reverse scholarships” are funded by an anonymous donor and Maiers said they are meant to draw talent back.

“That’s the idea, why do we have to do (just) front-end scholarships?” Maiers asked. “Is that some sort of law? What if we just waited until after they graduated with student debt?”

Maiers said grant recipients won’t be required to stay in the area for work for a certain length of time, but if they move, they will forfeit portions of their award.

Reverse scholarships are often used in medicine to recruit new physicians to practice in underserved areas, trading loan payments for the doctor’s commitment to work.

Applicants must be graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, arts and math who live outside St. Clair County. They must have completed a viable vocational, associate or bachelor’s degree program within the past seven years and still have student debt.

“As soon as they added arts to those different degrees, you’ve really opened it up a lot,” he said. “What we’re looking for is educated young people, with that background or entrepreneurial flair to come into the community and build the Blue Water Area.”

More information about the program is expected to be posted on the foundation’s website early next year.





Information from: Times Herald, https://www.thetimesherald.com

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