But what if you could pay off student loans simply by moving? In recent years, several cities looking to boost their workforce and economy are giving student loan borrowers a deal: move to our city and we’ll help you pay off your student loans.
If you’re itching to move and don’t mind living in a quieter part of the country, consider these options.
The state of Kansas has created Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ), which include 77 counties that offer to pay your student loans up to $15,000. Borrowers receive an annual check for 20 percent of their student loan balance — up to $3,000 — for a total of five years.
There are no income requirements, though to be eligible you must not have lived in Kansas for at least five years, establish residency in an ROZ, plus hold an associates, bachelor’s, or post-graduate degree.
Interested borrowers can fill out an application, provide documentation and proof of residence, and await approval. In order to qualify, you need to remain a resident during the tax year in order to claim the student loan benefits. The downside? These student loan payments are considered taxable income.
(photo credit: Peter Zillmann)
Other cities such as Detroit are hoping to attract talent by offering housing benefits for residents. Though Detroit has been hit hard by the Great Recession and is still recovering, the city offers various incentives to certain employees in the area who can contribute to the economy.
For instance, employees who work at Compuware, DTE Energy, Marketing Associates, Quicken Loans, or Strategic Staffing Solutions can receive up to $20,000 to be used toward a purchase of their new primary residence.
Renters can take advantage of incentives as well, with the opportunity to receive a $2,500 allowance to fund an apartment in their first year, with an additional $1,000 of funding for the following year. The catch is you have to work for one of the aforementioned companies and be a new renter.
Though Niagara Falls, NY is known for its tourism, its actual population is dwindling. The city’s Community Development program hopes to boost the region’s population by offering student loan reimbursement to 20 college graduates.
Applicants must live near the historic downtown district. Borrowers can move to the area and apply for the program, which offers a student loan reimbursement of $3,500 per year for two years.
Though $7,000 is nothing to sneeze at, the cost of moving to Niagara Falls may not be worth it, as there are a lack of employment opportunities. Interested borrowers should ensure moving to the area makes financial sense outside of the possibility of receiving loan repayment assistance.
(photo credit: The Trip Blogger)
Before You Move
Before you decide to pack up your bags and move in hopes of getting some help with your student loans, there are several important factors you should consider first:
- What is the unemployment rate? Moving to a state with high unemployment may prove to be counterproductive to paying off your loans.
- What is the cost of living? Keep in mind how much it costs simply to live in a certain area. A high salary job might not mean much in a high-cost city. Look at what average salaries in your field are at Payscale.com and compare that to the cost of living using Expatistan.com.
- What is the social scene like? Are there bars, restaurants, arts, and culture? Is it good for singles or those in relationships? Whatever your situation is or interests are, do your research to see if the prospective city has something to offer you.
- What are the taxes like? Some states have high income and/or sales tax.
- What is the public transportation like? Consider whether you need a car or have easy access to quality public transportation.
- What kind of commute are you looking at? Driving long distances can negate any financial assistance you receive.
- What kind of housing is available? Some cities have competitive rental markets. Find out how easy and affordable finding a place to live will be before making a move.
Considering these important questions can help inform your decision whether to move to a new area that will help pay off your student loans.
Remember, you do need to apply and qualify for these programs, so you can’t move there and be automatically signed up. Additionally, you’ll need to stay in touch with government entities each year to stay on top of your paperwork in order to receive payment.
(feature image: Laura via Flickr Creative Commons)
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