The Danville native is one of dozens to get a student loan refund from the Virginia Tobacco Commission

Danville, Va. – After graduating from college, many people worry about the cost of student loans.

That’s why the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is offering nearly $1.4 million in student loan repayments.

It’s part of their talent attraction program.

The program is designed to inspire people to relocate to Southwest Virginia and work in a hard-to-fill industry.

In return, the commission will help repay a portion of the recipient’s student loans.

“We had 104 applications this time, which is consistent with what we have had in recent years and of those, 77 were offered some level of loan repayment,” said the director of public relations of the Tobacco Commission, Jordan Butler.

One of the recipients is a native of Danville, Dequanne Coles.

“It’s definitely a great feeling. Because, like many of my classmates, I constantly think about loans. Same with me being in the clinic now,” Coles said.

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After graduating from physical therapy school, Coles pledged to return to tobacco country to live and work in Pittsylvania County, with the benefit of having some of his student loans repaid.

“I always said that when I graduated from physical therapy school, I wanted to move to a big city, like Charlotte or even Roanoke and Lynchburg. But I was always on the fence because my family is here and I am a very big family guy,” he said.

Coles receives $24,000 in loan repayment for his commitment to live and work in Southwest Virginia for the next two years.

He is also doing his part to revitalize the region.

“I see how this area is trying to grow and I want to be part of that change and just promote our area to more people,” Coles said.

The next round of the talent attraction program will open early next year.

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Dorothy H. Lewis