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June 14, 2012 4:19 PM Niagara Falls Will Pay Your Student Loans

By Daniel Luzer

Niagara Falls, New York is really eager to attract college graduates to town. The city 20 minutes north of Buffalo, which includes the famed Niagara Falls, will pay the student loan debt of people who move to the city.

According to an article by Charlie Specht in the Buffalo News:

Beginning this year, the city will offer to pay the student loan debt of recent college graduates for two years if they relocate to a specific neighborhood just blocks from the falls.
Graduates who have received two-year or four-year degrees within the past two years, or those in graduate school, would be eligible, and the city promises to cover up to $3,500 per year of student loan payments for two years.
The graduates would need to rent a market-rate apartment — or buy a home — within a targeted area. If they meet all of their loan and rent or mortgage commitments after the first year, they would be reimbursed the cost of their student loans for that year. The same thing would happen after the second year, Piccirillo said.

Niagara Falls desperately needs more people in order to stop the city’s dramatic population loss. If the city has less than 50,000 people it would not have enough people to qualify for some important federal programs.

So it makes sense for the city. Whether or not this makes sense for college graduates, however, is a little unclear. While $3,500 is a significant amount of money in student loan payments (the equivalent of a little less than $300 a month), the agreement does require graduates to live in Western New York.

Let’s hope they can find jobs to make those loan payments (they have to pay back their loans for a year in order for the city to reimburse them) and afford housing in the region.

The unemployment rate in the Buffalo, New York region is now almost 11 percent. The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.

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