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July 12, 2012 10:00 AM Debtors Paradise?

By Daniel Luzer

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Remember that odd deal where students could get massive help on their student loans as a result of moving to Niagara Falls?

It turns out debtors are actually interested in the deal. According to an article by Charlie Specht at the Buffalo News:

More than 200 people from as far as Hawaii have inquired about renting or buying a home in the city since officials unveiled the program last month.
Half of those interested are from upstate New York, with the others coming from California, Oregon, New York City and other coastal areas. Most are seeking a new place to live and relief from crushing student loan debt.

Apparently Niagara Falls is only going to institute this program for 20 people, however. The city will pay $3,500 toward student loan repayments for two years. Niagara Falls will apparently give top priority to people “interested in community service and those who buy a home in the city.”

Niagara Falls created the initiative in order to try to stop the population drain. Apparently if the city has less than 50,000 people it won’t qualify for some important federal programs. According to the last Census, the city of Niagara Falls had a population of 50,193.

Niagara Falls isn’t alone, however. According to a piece by Kimberly Railey at the Christian Science Monitor, Kansas, Nebraska, and the city of Detroit are also considering projects to either pay of student loans or facilitate home buying for new young residents.

This is an interesting idea, though there’s a certain structural problem with such initiatives: these places are terrible.

The reason these locations are engineering such debt schemes is because they’re losing young people. The reason they’re losing young people is because no one really wants to live there. The reason no one wants to live there is because they can’t find work.

And ultimately, if you want pay off your student loans, the best way to do that is to just get a good job. The best way to get a good job is probably to stay pretty far away from places like Detroit. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • Anonymous on July 12, 2012 4:56 PM:

    This is an interesting idea, though there’s a certain structural problem with such initiatives: these places are terrible.

    There are many occupations, such as a writer or an artist, for which that does not matter. These are "small businesses" in which the person just needs a cheap place to live and nothing more.

    Heck, if Niagra Falls got a vibrant art community out of the deal, that would be a tremendous investment for a community that depends primarily on tourism.