PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A total of 240 Rhode Island college students working in science, technology, engineering, math and design occupations have been awarded state fellowships to help pay their student loans.

The state Commerce Corporation announced the awards Thursday, and says the average award is about $3,600 for student loan repayment. The Providence Journal reports the Wavemaker Fellowships are intended to keep college graduates living and working in Rhode Island.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says graduates are faced with a tough choice of moving out of the state or staying in Rhode Island, and the fellowships can help make that decision easier.

Nearly 400 people applied for the program this year. In its first year, 2016, the program awarded tax credits to 208 people.