Student loan debt can be burdensome, especially in a shaky economy. When a $25,000 student loan debt load comes with a degree, new grads are anxious to get their career started. Some students can take advantage of a student loan forgiveness program — which exists in some states for students who teach in underserved communities or begin a public service career. Students in Connecticut who graduate with a degree in an environmental field may also be able to count themselves among the lucky grads who can participate in a student loan forgiveness program.

Legislators in the state are considering adopting a new program that would forgive up to $2,500 of a grad’s student loans, annually, for up to four years if they have received a degree in an environmental field. The legislation is clear on how students can qualify: earn either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a green tech, life science, or health information technology program and work in Connecticut for a minimum of two years.

The bill defines green technology as “the application of technology in manufacturing or product research in an effort to produce systems, equipment, services or products that conserve or reduce damage to or consumption of natural resources. "Green technology" includes, but is not limited to, green nanotechnology, the development of alternative fuels, modes or efficiencies of energy generation and the invention, design and application of chemical products and processes to eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.” Source: Connecticut General Assembly

Although this is still proposed legislation, it has passed one obstacle — making it out of committee. The bill has now been referred to the state’s Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis for further review. If passed, the bill will set aside $6 million for the green technology student loan forgiveness program.

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