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Student loan repayment offered

The Talent Attraction Program (TAP) from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission encourages recent graduates to live in the tobacco region and work in targeted, hard-to-fill occupations. The commission will in turn provide up to $12,000 annually in student loan repayment with a two-year commitment. Loan repayment awards may be renewed for another two years if eligible. The maximum award is $48,000. Applications for the program will be available in July. Awards are anticipated to be made in September.

This program, according to the tobacco commission, “replaces and better targets the prior 4-year loan forgiveness program by requiring that recipients have specific, desired credentials, contribute meaningfully to their communities, and work in occupations for which there is currently a workforce shortage. Moreover, by providing large individual awards, this program seeks to truly incentivize people to change their career plan and locate in the Tobacco Region.”

To be eligible, according to the commission, the recipients must:

• Have graduated within the past 18 months of the application deadline with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution of higher education, public or private, in-state or out-of-state (not applicable to renewals).

• Be able to legally work in the U.S. Reside within the Tobacco Region during the 24-month period of employment in which the award is made( https:// www.revitalizeva.org/ about-the-commission/ areas-served/).

• Begin full-time employment in the tobacco region within six months of the award letter (if not already employed in the region) and work for 24 months after award is made in one of the following occupations in the tobacco region. These occupations include public school teacher in science, math, technology/computer science, or career and technical education —grades 6-12; public school special education teacher K-12, speech language pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, industrial or electrical engineer; information security, network or computer systems analyst.

• Become significantly civically engaged in their community by volunteering with local nonprofit or government activities, such as the United Way, Ruritan Club, Junior League, PTA, citizen committee for local government, food banks, youth sports coach, etc., with a total annual engagement of at least 50 hours of work.

HAVE QUALIFYING EDUCATIONAL LOANS

For information on the loan repayment program for health care occupations (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental professionals, mental health professionals, registered nurses and pharmacists), visit the Virginia Department of Health Virginia Student Loan Repayment Programs website at http:// www.vdh.virginia.gov/ health-equity/virginia-loan-repayment-programs-2/

To learn more about the tobacco commission loan repayment program, visit www.revitalizeva. org.