Small Cities in the U.S. Paying Off Student Loan Debt for Residents
Niagara Falls, New York
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
June 15, 2012
Would you move if it meant someone else would pay off your student loan debt? So would we.
It turns out, several smaller cities in the United States are offering just that. They’re encouraging young graduates to move to their cities and hold steady jobs, and in exchange, the city will help pay down their student loan debt.
According to ABC News, Niagara Falls, New York is the latest city to jump on the bandwagon.
The idea is the brainchild of Seth Piccirillo, Niagara Falls’ new director of community development. In an interview with ABC News, Piccirillo states, “We’ve lost a lot of talent, a lot of brain power…For 50 years we’ve been asking ourselves: how do we keep our young people? …Having young professionals is the key to a modern economy.”
ABC News reports that graduates who have earned a 2- or 4-year degree and live in an apartment or buy a home in a designated area of Niagara Falls will qualify for $3,500 a year in student loan payments from the city for a maximum of two years.
Piccirillo and the city of Niagara Falls will first target graduates of Niagara University and Niagara County Community College, but that eventually, they will open up the opportunity to graduates from all over the country.
Niagara Falls isn’t the first city to offer this type of incentive, and they won’t be the last, either. According to ABC News, 50 counties in Kansas offer Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Post-Graduate degree holders the option to take tax waivers for up to five years and/or student loan payments for up to $15,000. All you have to do is establish residency in one of the counties.
ABC News reports that a few other areas in the country are offering or considering offering similar incentives. They include:
• Neighborhoods in Detroit
• Columbia City neighborhood of southeast Seattle
• Nebraska, which is considering a setup similar to Kansas’
Check out these city or state websites for more information, and if you know of any other states, cities or neighborhoods with similar programs, let us know!