Governor McKee Announces Re-Opening of Wavemaker Fellowship Program 2022 – Rhode Island

Deadline: August 22, 2022.

Governor McKee Announces Re-Opening of Wavemaker Fellowship Program 2022 – Rhode Island

Governor McKee Announces Re-Opening of Wavemaker Fellow Program 2022, a competitive student loan reimbursement program for recent graduates working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and certain design fields. The Wavemaker Fellowship awards graduates working in STEM and design jobs in Rhode Island with a refundable tax credit that can cover student loan payments up to $6,000 per year for up to four years.

The Wavemaker Fellowship is an innovative program designed to provide financial relief to college graduates, helping Rhode Island retain skilled STEM and design talent, and also serve as a great recruiting tool for our local companies. The program also helps local companies hire the most talented applicants in the country and keep our state’s economy competitive. When Rhode Island holds onto and recruits gifted graduates in STEM and design, the entire state benefits.

The Wavemaker Fellowship program is a win-win for all, including the recent graduates who can pay down their student debt more quickly and the Rhode Island businesses that benefit from employing young talent with degrees in STEM and certain design fields, the program will also grant applicants an “early action” opportunity, which allows graduating seniors and others with a pending job offer to apply to the program.

The Wavemaker program otherwise requires the applicant to have already accepted a job offer or begun working in Rhode Island. In addition to student loan relief, the program also provides educational and networking opportunities, fostering increased connections and opportunities in Rhode Island. Past events include Homebuying 101, personal finance classes, and volunteer opportunities.

Applicants selected as Wavemaker Fellows will receive an annual refundable tax credit against their Rhode Island income tax to defray the cost of student loan repayments.


To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Have a two-year, four-year or graduate degree from an accredited institution. The Commerce Corporation references the U.S. Department of Education’s list of accredited institutions.
  • Have annual higher education loan repayment expenses.
  • Work full-time, or have an offer of employment to work full-time, in Rhode Island in one or more of the following fields: life, natural or environmental sciences; computer, information or software technology; advanced mathematics or finance; engineering; industrial design or other commercially related design field; or medicine or medical device technology.
  • Pending eligibility (reviewed in 12-month intervals post-acceptance), Fellows can receive tax credits for up to four years equal to the Fellow’s annual loan repayment expenses up to the following caps:
    $6,000 for a Fellow with a Master’s degree or higher
    $4,000 for a Fellow with a Bachelor’s degree
    $1,000 for a Fellow with an Associate’s degree
  • The credit can be applied against Rhode Island income tax or redeemed for the cash equivalent Note: refunds of the tax credit may be subject to federal income tax.

Governor McKee Announces Re-Opening of Wavemaker Fellowship Program 2022 Selection criteria

Fellows will be chosen on a merit basis by a Fellowship Committee

When evaluating applications, the Wavemaker Fellowship Committee gives priority to:

  • Applicants who demonstrate the greatest value to RI’s advanced economy, whether through importance of their position to their employer and/or the state’s economy, based on the position’s seniority, scarcity, value-add, and other factors:
  • Applicants who work in STEM STEM List 2022 or commercially relevant design roles critical to RI’s advanced economy (including, but not limited to field such as: biomedical innovation; IT, cyber and data analytics; defense, shipbuilding and maritime; advanced business services; design, food and custom manufacturing; arts, education and tourism; and/or distribution, transportation & logistics);
  • Applicants for whom the award will play a substantial role of keeping them in RI;
  • Applicants for whom the award would represent ‘last dollar funding

Only applications meeting the eligibility requirements will be considered

Attachments are required?

The following attachments are required for application review:

  • Employer Endorsement Form
  • Resume, including a listing of current employment
  • Transcript(s) from post-secondary education
    • Note: Transcripts do not need to be “official” transcripts, but must contain relevant information such as college/university name, student name, course work & grades, GPA, etc.
  • Evidence of outstanding loans by amount and schedule. Please upload documentation for each qualifying student loan account that clearly shows the following:
    • Account holder information (name, address, account number)
    • Loan provider information
    • Loan terms & payment schedule, including minimum required payment
    • Total loan amount
    • Interest rate
    • Evidence of other loan repayment programs, if applicable (IBR letters, employer-run program agreement, etc.)
    • See example loan documentation hereNote: not all example documents contain all required information; these images are simply meant to be a guide to help you identify the kinds of loan documents necessary for your application. Screenshots are not considered acceptable documentation


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