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Wavemaker Information

  • Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2017 program. Check back in early 2018 for updates regarding the next round of applications.
  • 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; or medicine or medical device technology

  • Pending eligibility (reviewed in 12-month intervals post-acceptance), Fellows will 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 graduate degree
    • $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 that refunds of the tax credit may be subject to federal income tax).
  • Only applications meeting the eligibility requirements will be considered.
  • Fellows will be chosen on a merit basis by a Fellowship Committee. 
  • When evaluating applications, the Fellowship Committee will give priority to applicants for whom the award plays a substantial role in bringing them to or keeping them in Rhode Island, applicants who work in fields critical to Rhode Island’s advanced economy, applicants who demonstrate the greatest value to Rhode Island’s advanced economy, and applicants for whom an award would represent “last dollar” funding (meaning that you have attempted other methods of reducing your loan payments through programs like Income Based Repayment).

  • 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.  To view the members of the Fellowship Committee, click here.
  • Note that individuals related to or living with Commerce Corporation personnel or members of the Fellowship Committee, or individuals having business relationships with Wavemaker Fellowship Committee members, are not eligible for the award.  For an explanation of "related to," click here
  • Download the Wavemaker Fellowship program one-pager here.


Wavemaker Fellowship governing documents:

  • The Wavemaker Fellowship Act is available here
  • The complete Rules & Regulations are available here

  Wavemaker Fellowship Award Winners: