Real estate signs for home sales in Bangor, Maine. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is close to approving a proposal to forgive up to $40,000 in student loan debt for some first-time home buyers.

The Maine Senate voted in favor of the proposal on Tuesday. The state might make the program available to income-qualified buyers who agree to live in the home for at least five years, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The proposal does not require the home buyers to have graduated. Supporters said it’s based on a similar program in Maryland.

The average Maine student graduates with $33,500 in student debt. Meanwhile, the statewide median sales price of a home is creeping toward $300,000.

Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson said the bill is important because with “student loans, car payments, rent, utilities and other basic expenses, it is hard enough to make ends meet, let alone purchase a home.”