A new law enacted on Monday approved The New Hampshire College Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership, a program designed to encourage recent college graduates to stay in the state after they receive their degrees.
According to a survey of nearly 1,500 UNH graduates in the Class of 2018, nearly half had decided to leave New Hampshire after college for work.
GRIP promises graduates an annual incentive of at least $1,000 for their first four years of employment at a participating company. The benefit will be paid by employers.
The program was designed to respond to the state's high student debt load and workforce shortages.
David Juvet, the Senior Vice President at the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, says businesses in manufacturing and financial services would be interested in hiring recent graduates.
“One of the downsides of a good economy is extraordinarily low unemployment rates,” said Juvet. “It’s really been difficult for many employers who are seeing the economy grow faster than they have the ability to grow their own businesses.”
Juvet says another goal of the program is to help young people who are graduating with a lot of debt.
“The amount of college debt [college graduates] have to pay off has risen to crippling levels,” said Juvet. “I think this was intended to be a modest first-step approach to provide these young workers with some form of compensation to help them begin to paying down that debt.”
Governor Sununu let the bill become law without his signature. In a statement, he said the student debt assistance and workforce recruitment program in his budget proposal would have helped more.
“[The] program would have been funded with over $150 million dollars over the next 10 years, none of it coming from taxpayers. Unfortunately, the legislature replaced this program with a $1 broken promise to the students of New Hampshire and I will not endorse such a measure.”