Dealing with student loan debt can seem unbearable and overwhelming. As mentioned in the article, 15 Ways To Deal with Student Loan Debt, the average student owes a whopping $40,000 after graduation but almost 19 percent owe $50,000 and above with 5.6 percent owing over $100,000.
Maybe you worked hard to save money in college diligently keeping your student loan debt in mind. Maybe you made some huge financial mistakes during college and ended up taking out much more than you imagined. Whatever road you took to have this student loan debt, now is the time to start planning your exit route.
One idea often thrown around when talking about student loan debt is the option of Student Loan Forgiveness. Student Loan Forgiveness is simply what it sounds like – a portion of your student loan debt gets forgiven, and you no longer owe that set amount of money. Pretty sweet, right?
Many people don’t explore this “too good to be true” option since they don’t know about it, they don’t understand it, or they don’t think they’d qualify for such an amazing benefit. That is exactly why I decided to do this Student Loan Forgiveness Series, exploring different ways you can eliminate your student loan debt.
Next up, moving to a place that offers a student loan forgiveness incentive.
Why Are Places Locations Offering Student Loan Forgiveness?
The places mentioned in this article are looking to grow economically and/or build their population. Generally speaking, college graduates would add to economy by drawing more businesses to the area and putting more money into the economy. Recent college graduates can not only mean more apartments are getting rented and even homes being built, but it can also mean more money spent at restaurants, shops, and other businesses.
Things to Consider Before Moving for Student Loan Forgiveness
Before you start packing your bags, take some time to consider if this opportunity would be right for you. It’s a big decision and comes with other stipulations, including a length of time you’d be required to live there before you receive student loan forgiveness. Here are some questions to ask yourself before changing your zip code:
- What is the cost of living in these locations compared to where you live now?
- Would you be comfortable moving to a new area, possibly leaving your family and friends behind and not knowing anyone?
- Does exploring a new area and getting a change of pace sound exciting? Do you want to move out of your area anyway
- What is the job market like in these areas compared to your current location? Would you be able to find a job in your industry? What would your salary be in this area compared to where you live now?
- What is this area really like? Before you consider moving, do your research on crime, transportation, attractions, and the general culture of the area. If possible, a trip to the area would be helpful, too.
- What would your transportation be in this new region? For example, if you live in a big city right now and depend on public transportation, moving to rural Kansas would probably require purchasing a car.
Places to Move to get Student Loan Forgiveness
The following places offer some type of incentive for recent college graduates with a student loan balance to move there. Check out these locations, what it’s all about there, what you’re required to do, and how much you can earn to pay down your student loan debt:
Where you need to live: Live in Downtown Detroit or one of the nearby neighborhoods listed below.
Location details: They boast 13,000 theatre seats, pro sports teams, and the Detroit RiverWalk, a 3.5 mile promenade with bike paths along with Detroit River. Like many urban big cities, you’ll find museums, a variety of bars and restaurants, and shopping. However, Neighborhood Scout ranks Detroit at number six for most dangerous cities in the U.S.
Requirements: You need to live in one of the following Detroit neighborhoods: Downtown, Corktown, Lafayette Park, Eastern Market, Woodbridge, Brush Park, Cass Park, Art Center, and Lower Cass. You also need to work for a specific company. These include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, DTE Energy, Marketing Associates, Quicken Loans, or Strategic Solutions.
What you’ll get in return: If you’re buying a new home, you can receive up to $20,000 forgivable loan toward the purchase of the primary residence. If you want something less permanent and want to rent instead, you’ll receive $2,500 allowance of funding towards the cost of your apartment the first year and then $1,000 the next year.
Learn more at Detroitlivedowntown.org.
Where you need to live: Reside in one of 77 counties included in the Rural Opportunity Zone list. These counties cover most of the state. Also, in addition, some participating Kansas communities – Plainville, Osborne, Lincoln, and Marquette, offer free land if you’re building a home.
Requirements: To be eligible for student loan repayments, you must establish residency in the Rural Opportunity Zone after July 1, 2011, which shouldn’t be an issue if you’re researching this now. You’ll need to have previously earned an associate’s, bachelor’s, or post-graduate degree, and have an outstanding student loan balance. There is no requirement on when you graduated, unlike the other programs that stipulate a time restriction on graduates. This eligibility is also only determined by where you live so you may live in one area and work in another.
Location details: Every community and county offers something a little different. In general, most boast a lower cost of living, a slower pace with fewer people, and a safer community vibe. While entertainment opportunities might not be as great as a big city, the Kansas Tourism Bureau highlights a variety of breweries, wineries, art, and small-town, rural charm across the state.
What you’ll get in return: For moving to the Rural Opportunity Zone, you can get student loan repayments up to $15,000. In late fall, you’ll receive a check that you must deposit and then send to your lender (you’ll need to show proof). The program pays 20 percent of your outstanding loan debt up to a maximum of $3,000 per year. You can take advantage of this program for up to five years, hence the total $15,000 reimbursement towards your loans. But according to their website, each county can determine if it wants to pay over that $15,000 amount, but the state will not match anything over $15,000.
Plainville is giving free lots for construction of a new home plus a 50 percent property tax saving over a 10-year period. The City of Osborne is also offer free home lots as well as Lincoln and Marquette.
Also, you can be eligible for a Kansas income tax waiver (if you’ve lived outside of Kansas for five or more years immediately prior to establishing a residency in one of these Rural Opportunity Zones). You’d need to live in the zone for the entire tax year to claim these benefits.
For more information on these Rural Opportunity Zones, visit their website. You can also find out how you can apply, where exactly you’d need to live, and how the process works.
Niagara Falls, New York
Where you need to live: You need to live in the designated downtown area on Niagara Falls, NY.
Location details: Despite being a major tourist attractions for both Americans and visitors, Niagara Falls has experienced a rapid population decline over the last 50 years. The city boasts, most notably, Niagara Falls State Park, a wine trail, and festivals and events year-round.
Requirements: In order to receive student loan reimbursement, you need to have earned a 2 or 4-year degree from an accredited college and either rent an apartment or buy a home in the designated area.
What you’ll get in return: According to Inquisitr, you’ll earn $3,500 per year for the next two years.
Where you need to live: You’ll need to live and work in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada to qualify. If you’re not familiar with where it is, it is directly above North Dakota and Montana.
Location details: The province boasts an arts culture with festivals and events, parks, a good health care system, and leisure sports and recreation opportunities. According to their website, Saskatchewan’s taxes and household charges are amongst the lowest in Canada, and if you have little ones, kindergarten through grade 12 is no cost for residents. The province has a mix of cities, smaller villages and towns, and a vast Northern area. In an effort to appeal to immigrants, the province offers many cultural organizations, various religious centers, and says they have a “high quality of life with a low cost of living”.
Requirements: To earn money towards your student loan debt, you must have graduated from an approved program and approved college after January 1, 2006. You’ll also need to either already live in Saskatchewan or be moving there. Besides simply living in this province, you will need to file a Saskatchewan income tax return so this means you are also required to steadily earn an income. All graduates are eligible, even if you’re from the U.S. or another country outside of Canada.
What you’ll get in return: The Graduate Retention Program (GRP) offers a refund up to $20,000 of tuition fees. According to their website, you’ll receive this over the course of seven years. The amount you can earn depends on the duration of your program. For example, that $20,000 amount is for graduates of a 4-year degree program. If you’ve taken a one, two, or three year program, your student loan reimbursement amount will be less.
Visit their website for more information on how the program works, requirements, and how to apply.
Things to Keep In Mind For Any Student Loan Forgiveness
Once you think you have the chance to get a portion of your student loans forgiven, it can be quite tempting to instantly sign up. But before you apply and especially before you sign a contact, you need to thoroughly understand how you receive this loan reimbursement and what you’ll be doing to get this. Here is what you need to know:
- Understand the terms of your contract. Understand exactly where you need to live, how long you need to live there, and what other requirements there are.
- Know what happens if it doesn’t work out. What is the Plan B? If you move to the area, and have to move back home because of a loss of a job or family emergency, what happens now?
- Be certain your loans qualify. Certain types of loan are only permitted as well as when you took them or how you used these loans. The same is true for where you went to school and the program you studied. Confirm that your course of study qualifies for reimbursement.
- Compare the benefits of the programs. How much will you be forgiven? How much will your salary be? If the loan forgiveness program forces you to take a lower salary than you could have gotten elsewhere or move to an area that has higher rent and cost of living, it might not be the best option for you.
- Get confirmation prior to moving to a new location. Learn what you need to do prior to signing up and moving there. You may need to apply before actually relocating.
- Don’t jump in. This is a big commitment. Do your research, and learn all the ins and outs of the programs and rules and regulations.
- As mentioned before, really get to know the area before moving there.