AUGUSTA (AP) — A bill that’s moving forward in the Legislature would allow more people to take advantage of a program that helps graduates pay off their student loans.

Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond’s bill would allow Maine residents who’ve graduated from out-of-state schools to qualify for the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit. It would also allow people to receive tax credits for graduate school payments.

The program currently reimburses student loan payments for people who attend Maine community colleges and universities and stay in Maine after graduation.

The Taxation Committee recently endorsed the bill with an 11-1 vote and it will now be considered by the full Legislature.

Alfond’s office said more than 2,600 residents are currently in the program and eligible participants with undergraduate degrees can claim more than $4,000 a year.

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