JEFFERSON CITY - If you're a student at a Missouri higher education institution and take a "high demand" job in the state, you could find your student loans forgiven under the Advantage Missouri Program approved by the House Wednesday.
"It helps some students with college and keeps students in the state in occupations with need," said Rep. Ted Farnen, D-Mexico and co-sponsor of the bill.
The Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education would work with other agencies - both public and private - to annually determine what the high demand jobs are.
Students majoring in those areas could sign a contract with the board, would receive their loans through it and then for every year they worked in Missouri that year's loan would be forgiven.
The bill has a ten semester cap and a $2,500 per academic year limit. It applies to both public and private institutions.
Opponents claimed that most students are in school four or five years and that it is hard to predict if those jobs will still be in demand.
"The reason there is a shortage is because nobody knew about those needs" said Rep. Todd Akin, R-St. Louis County. "Now we're going to come in with this Soviet-style government planning thing."
The bill faces another, formal vote in the House before going to the Senate.