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Wavemaker Information

  • Applicants selected as Wavemaker Fellows will receive an annual refundable tax credit against their Rhode Island income tax to defray the cost of student loan repayments.
  • To be eligible, an applicant must:
  • Have a two-year, four-year or graduate degree from an accredited institution. The Commerce Corporation references the U.S. Department of Education's list of accredited institutions
  • Have annual higher education loan repayment expenses.
  • Work full-time, or have an offer of employment to work full-time, in Rhode Island in one or more of the following fields: life, natural or environmental sciences; computer, information or software technology; advanced mathematics or finance; engineering; industrial design or other commercially related design field; medicine or medical device technology or a Teacher (K-12).
  • Pending eligibility (reviewed in 12-month intervals post-acceptance), Fellows can receive tax credits for up to four years equal to the Fellow’s annual loan repayment expenses up to the following caps:
    • $6,000 for a Fellow with a Master's degree or higher
    • $4,000 for a Fellow with a Bachelor’s degree
    • $1,000 for a Fellow with an Associate’s degree
  • The credit can be applied against Rhode Island income tax or redeemed for the cash equivalent Note: refunds of the tax credit may be subject to federal income tax.
  • Fellows will be chosen on a merit basis by a Fellowship Committee
  • When evaluating applications, the Wavemaker Fellowship Committee gives priority to:
    • Applicants who demonstrate the greatest value to RI’s advanced economy, whether through importance of their position to their employer and/or the state's economy, based on the position's seniority, scarcity, value-add, and other factors:
    • Applicants who work in IN Demand Roles/Job Titles 2024 or commercially relevant design roles critical to RI’s advanced economy (including, but not limited to field such as: biomedical innovation; IT, cyber and data analytics; defense, shipbuilding and maritime; advanced business services; design, food and custom manufacturing; arts, education and tourism; and/or distribution, transportation & logistics) and healthcare;
    • Applicants for whom the award will play a substantial role of keeping them in RI;
    • Applicants for whom the award would represent ‘last dollar funding
  • Only applications meeting the eligibility requirements will be considered
  • The Fellowship Committee will review applications on a name-blind and employer-blind basis, meaning the name of the applicant and employer will be removed from all materials reviewed by the Fellowship Committee.  The members of the Fellowship Committee are:
    Ms. Olivia Byron, Ms. Erin Donovan-Boyle, Ms. Janet Raymond, Mr. Adam Isaacs-Falbel, Mr. Rick Brooks, Ms. Elena Nicolella and Ms. Gina Masiello.  


Wavemaker Fellowship governing documents:

  Wavemaker Fellowship Award Winners: