University of Connecticut students had mixed reactions to the new refundable personal income tax credit of up to $2,500 for college graduates with degrees in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.
College students, both in-state and out-of-state, who receive a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in the STEM field on or after Jan. 1 this year are eligible for a $500 tax credit, which they can claim in the successive five years after their graduation for a total of $2,500, the Hartford Courant reported. According to the Courant, graduates must also work and reside in Connecticut or move here within two years of receiving their STEM degrees.
Josie McCormick, a sixth-semester allied health major, said the state recognizes the significance of STEM majors.
“After hearing about this new tax credit, it brings to our attention that Connecticut acknowledges young professionals and supports our long-term stay,” McCormick said. “Although $500 may just cover one month’s worth of rent, the tax credit initiative is worthy of our attention and proposes an option to continue to look for jobs in Connecticut.”
Born and raised in Brookfield, Connecticut, Zachary Mangold, a sixth-semester engineering physics major, said it makes fiscal sense for the state to try and attract technology-related professionals to the state.
“Even on a state income level, valuable engineering companies pay taxes and the well-paid employees also pay taxes,” Mangold said. “Connecticut already has a strong foundation in engineering with UConn and the large number of companies, and engineering is full of well-paying jobs which naturally will attract people to the state.”
However, he said a $500 credit won’t be a determinant for him to stay in Connecticut in the long run.
“It honestly does push me a little bit to stay in Connecticut,” Mangold said. “That said, this new initiative is a blip on the radar compared to what would make me stay or leave in the long run.”
Rania Chowdhury, an eighth-semester computer science and engineering major, said $500 is not a huge loss.
“If I got a super amazing job in California or New York or somewhere else, doing something I really want to do, losing the tax credit won’t be on my mind at all,” Chowdhury said.
Nicholas Johnson, an eighth-semester English major, said the state’s effort to move the job market into more technological fields and to create more jobs is a great attempt.
“I think that mindset of trying to attract more qualified people with (jobs in technology) into the state is a really good idea,” Johnson said. “But I think it needs more incentives and more time to get it rolling.”
Johnson said that $500 seems like a small amount considering the expense of living in Connecticut. As a non-STEM major, he expressed his concern about getting a job in the state.
“I kind of understand that people in the arts get shafted,” Johnson said. “I’m looking in New York or Florida, not really here. When there is an initiative to get people (to) look for Connecticut for an option, that’s a really good thing.”
Yuanyuan Cao is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.