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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; or medicine or medical device technology.
  • 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 STEM 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);
    • 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.  To view the members of the Fellowship Committee, 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: