6 Places That Will Help Pay Off Student Loans If You Move There

 December 22, 2019
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There are all sorts of ways that moving eases your student loan repayment. You might leave the state (or country) to lower your cost of living or tax bills, for example, and throw any savings at your debt.

But perhaps even better, your new place of residence might also give you money to help pay off student loans.

Here are six places offering student loan repayment assistance — if you decide to move there.

1. Maine

Benefit: Student loan payment reimbursement

The Opportunity Maine Tax Credit started as a way for the state to replenish its aging workforce by retaining local college graduates. If you graduated after 2016 and attended school elsewhere, however, you can still be eligible for the program.

The credit would first decrease your tax bill, and any leftover funds would belong to you. So if you owe the state $1,000 in income tax but made $1,800 in student loan payments during the year, you’d receive an $800 check in the mail.

2. Hamilton, Ohio

Benefit: Up to $10,000 cash, awarded in $300 monthly increments

With its Talent Attraction Program Scholarships, Hamilton’s community foundation gives what it calls “reverse scholarships.”

If you earned a STEAM degree — that is, science, technology, engineering, arts or mathematics — within the past seven years, you could be eligible to apply. You must also plan to move to Hamilton, Ohio and work within the city limits or surrounding Butler County. Finally, you’ll have to provide student loan statements, as well as a copy of your college diploma and transcripts, to be considered.

3. Counties across rural Kansas

Benefits: Up to $15,000 in student loan repayment assistance and five years’ worth of income tax waivers

Thanks to Kansas’ Rural Opportunity Zones initiative, you could be rewarded for merely living in one of nearly 80 counties.

Image from Kansas Department of Commerce

Some counties (shown in orange on the map above) sponsor indebted residents, while others (blue) require the residents’ employer to cover repayment assistance costs. (The counties colored in gray don’t participate in the program, while green-highlighted Chase County offers only tax incentives.)

You could be eligible if you’ve already received your college degree and can demonstrate your debt. Applications are accepted January through September.

4. Clinton County, Iowa

Benefit: $30 to $90 per month in student loan repayment assistance for five years

Clinton County planned to make its $360 annual benefit available to the first 40 borrowers who moved to and found work within Clinton, Iowa. Residents could double or triple the benefit if they live in the cities of Clinton, DeWitt or Camanche and work for the school districts, all of which provide similar repayment aid.

The Clinton Community School District’s offering, for example, was expected to help 60 to 70 teachers with student debt, according to the Des Moines Register.

Programs in the county are poised to support a dwindling population: Clinton’s decreased by 20% over 35 years, according to the Register report.

5. St. Clair County, Michigan

Benefit: Up to $15,000 in student loan repayment assistance, awarded quarterly

The community foundation of St. Clair County was looking for ways to keep its college graduates when it came up with the idea for the Come Home Award in 2013. It’s now open to any graduate with a STEAM degree who matriculated within the past decade.

If you make the move and receive the award, you’d have 120 days to find work or start your own business.

Nearby Huron and Sanilac Counties have also attempted to fundraise for similar programs to help pay off student loans.

6. Saskatchewan, Canada

Benefit: An income tax credit of up to 20,000 Canadian dollars (about US$15,000)

Just north of Montana and North Dakota, Saskatchewan is hoping locals and foreigners alike warm to its environs, thanks to the Graduate Retention Program. To be eligible, you must apply within seven years of graduating from school.

The rebate, which is paid out over seven years, would reduce your Saskatchewan income tax but would probably never reach your pocket — instead, unused credits would roll over to the ensuing tax year.

The maximum rebate you could receive would depend on your level of education:

1-year certificate or diploma 3,000 Canadian dollars (about US$2,250)
2- or 3-year certificate or diploma 6,400 Canadian dollars (about US$4,800)
3-year undergraduate degree 15,000 Canadian dollars (about US$11,250)
4-year undergraduate degree 20,000 Canadian dollars (about US$15,000)

Explore other repayment assistance programs

Moving somewhere only to help pay off student loans might not be a wise idea. Like all life decisions, there are a number of variables to consider. You could research rents and home prices, as well as job opportunities and other factors, before pinning all your hopes on one place.

This holds true whether you’re chasing a government-funded incentive or just seeking to avoid state income taxes.

Still, there are a variety of loan repayment assistance programs that may not require you to change your address at all. Filter through our database by your profession, award amount and — yes — location. You might turn up something available where you’re already residing.