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2/23/2023 Pearson bill seeks to expand Wavemaker Fellowship Program to include public school teachers
STATE HOUSE – Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) has introduced legislation that would expand eligibility for the Wavemaker Fellowship Program to public school teachers, including those in the high-need fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The Wavemaker Fellowship Program was enacted through the state budget in 2015 based on legislation sponsored by Leader Pearson. It provides a financial incentive for graduates pursuing a career or starting a business in Rhode Island in STEM fields by defraying student loan payments for up to four years.
“The Wavemaker Fellowship is a valuable, proven tool that helps us keep talented, educated people in Rhode Island,” said Leader Pearson. “Incentivizing students to pursue STEM careers bolsters our state’s workforce and makes Rhode Island more attractive to good employers in growing fields. Expanding the program with a focus on strengthening our workforce in public education is especially critical given the many challenges we face on that front. Additionally, meeting our needs in terms of STEM educators will help ensure the next generation of Rhode Islanders are prepared to compete in the 21st century economy, paying dividends for decades to come.”
The program, which is administered by the Commerce Corporation, offers qualifying individuals a refundable Tax Credit Certificate worth the value of their annual student loan burden for up to four years. In addition to the financial benefit, Fellows are invited to participate in various personal and professional development programs, social and professional networking opportunities, community-based events and more. Additional information about the program is available at
The Senate approved similar legislation in 2021. This year’s bill (2023-S 0229) has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. It is cosponsored by Senator Melissa Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Senator Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton), Senator President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Kittredge, Deputy Directory of Communications
State House Room 112
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 276-5516