Students in Michigan who are planning a career in computers,
engineering, math or science are in luck. Newly proposed legislation
could wipe out the interest on their student loans if they take a job
in the state after graduation and stay with that job for five years,
reports the South
"I think that any legislation that helps our students is
beneficial," said Mike Rotundo, director of financial aid at Northern
Michigan University. "Students are typically graduating with more
student loan debt due to the rising costs of education around the
state and nation as a whole."
Funding a college education is expensive, and student loan costs have
risen right along with tuition. The Michigan Higher Education Student
Loan Authority reported $1.6 billion in student loans taken out in
2005. That's up from $1.49 billion in 2004.
The Michigan legislature has made similar proposals in the past,
such as the Michigan Engineering Incentive (MEI) for students to take
out zero-interest loans if they remained in engineering or technology
fields in the state. It is unknown whether all the MEI provisions will carry over to the
"Northern Michigan University is a direct loan school, as
are most of the Michigan public four-year universities, which
precludes involvement in the Michigan Engineering Incentive program,"
If the measure is passed, it would save students an
estimated $7,600, based on the average amount of interest accrued in
The measure has its critics, however.
"A scholarship program or (reward) incentive may convince
students to go into a high-tech field. But the state may be better off
giving a $7,000 scholarship rather than $7,600 off the back end. The
incentive has to be given more up front. It's a better way to do it."
said Kenneth aFridsma, director of financial aid at Grand Valley State