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Why Niagara Falls Wants to Pay Off Your Loans

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This article is from our friends at LearnVest, a leading site for women and their money.

Come for the waterfalls and stay for the… student loan compensation?

You heard that right. The city of Niagara Falls, New York—home to those postcard-friendly waterfalls—is embarking on a new education initiative that’s a win-win for the city and college graduates both.

According to ABC News, this initiative (which has yet to be approved by the city’s Urban Renewal Agency) will recruit college graduates to live and work in the city for two years post graduation. In exchange, the city will pay off the graduates’ student loans, up to $15,000.

The city, having faced some serious brain drain over the past 40 years, seeks to repopulate itself with well-educated, young Americans. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster acknowledges in a CNBC interview: “We have a very selfish interest at stake here.”

But how selfish is this initiative, really? As student loans swell in size, currently averaging about $23,000, a two-year commitment to the city of Niagara Falls may be a worthwhile deal.

And the Urban Renewal initiative offers a few other pay-offs, too. Mayor Dyster explains: The city is building up tourism job programs, as well as green industrial projects for job-seeking graduates.

Niagara Falls’ Urban Renewal project is just one example of loan programs nationwide that will barter loan payments for brains. CNBC also points out that in Kansas, 50 counties across the state are planning similar initiatives. Kansas is terming these 50 counties Rural Opportunity Zones, or ROZs. In order to take part in the ROZ programs, you must show proof of residency in one of the ROZs, hold some sort of post-graduate degree, and be prepared to dispose of a whole lot of college debt.

These ROZs across the country may prove to be real opportunities, as their names let on. Graduates who take part in these programs will cut their student loans in only two years, launching themselves down a path of financial success and stability. And since we know how difficult it can be to pay off our student loans, structured, job-supplying programs may be the key to slashing student loans once and for all.

We can’t wait to see where these programs pop up next.

More from LearnVest

  • Understanding Student Loans 101
  • The 20-Something Crunch: High Debt, Low Employment
  • By the Numbers: The Student Loan Crisis
  • Photo of Niagara Falls courtesy of Shutterstock.