Virginia Tobacco Commission offering $1.5M in student loan repayment to live, work in Southwest Virginia

To qualify, you must work in a hard-to-fill industry and live in rural Virginia for at least two years

A Virginia-based organization is offering an incentive to recent college graduates to work and live in Southwest Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. – A Virginia-based organization is offering an incentive to recent college graduates to work and live in Southwest Virginia. In return, the group will help to pay off student loans.

Virginia’s Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission created the “Talent Attraction Program: Student Loan Repayment.”

“We are looking at revitalizing our communities and people talk about the brain drain of young people going off and getting educated and never coming back. So this is our way of trying to bring people back to the community. And even attract those who have never lived in our region,” said Virginia Tobacco Commission’s director of finance, Stephanie Kim.

To apply, participants must commit to living and working in one of the 40 localities identified by the commission as tobacco-dependent.

“We are looking for recent graduates and we are defining that this year for December 2020- December 2022,” said Kim. “And you have to be committed to work for two years in one of the eligible occupations, which includes public school teachers, speech, occupational and physical therapist, industrial or electrical engineers and also information security and network computer system analyst,” she said.

By dedicating two years, people can receive up to $24,000 in loan repayment and can even apply for an additional two years after, totaling $48,000 of student loan relief.

“In the past, we have awarded between 75 to close to 100 awards in one cycle. This is actually our fourth year doing this. We do have about $1.5 million available for this year’s program,” said Kim.

To apply to the program, visit their website. The application deadline is March 31.


About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.