DANVILLE, Va. – After graduating from college, many people stress about the cost of student loans.
This is why the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is gifting nearly $1.4 million in student loan repayments.
It’s a part of their Talent Attraction Program.
The program is designed to entice people to move to Southwest Virginia and work in a hard-to-fill industry.
In return, the commission will help pay off a portion of recipient’s student loans.
“We had 104 applications this time, which is in line of what we’ve had in recent years and of those 77 were offered some level of loan repayment,” said Tobacco Commission’s Public Relations Director, Jordan Butler.
One of the recipients is Danville native, Dequanne Coles.
“It’s definitely a great feeling. Because just like many of my classmates I constantly think about loans. Even with me being in the clinic now,” said Coles.
After graduating from physical therapy school, Coles made the commitment to move back to the tobacco region to live and work in Pittsylvania county, with the benefit of getting some of his student loans repaid.
“I always said once I graduated physical therapy school I wanted to move to a big city, like Charlotte or even Roanoke and Lynchburg.. But I was always on the fence because my family is here and I’m a really big family guy,” he said.
Coles is getting $24,000 in loan repayment for his commitment to live and work in Southwest Virginia for the next two years.
He is also doing his part to revitalize the region.
“I see how this region is trying to grow and I want to be apart of that change and just promote our region to more people,” said Coles.
The next round of the Talent Attraction Program will open up at the beginning of next year.