The Maine Senate has signed off on bills that seek to ease student debt load and help schools retain students until graduation.

One of the bills would allow students to claim the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit. Supporters say the move will help students stay in Maine and pay off student debt.

The bill also expands the credit that businesses can claim for helping employees pay their loans if they are eligible.

Another bill tasks nonprofit group Jobs for Maine's Graduates with providing mentoring and counseling to increase graduation rates at Maine's public colleges and universities.

Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond sponsored both bills. They will now go to the Maine House. (AP)