In an effort to boost dwindling populations, some towns have come up with an inventive idea: Move here, and we’ll help pay your student loans.
As reported by ABC News, Niagara Falls, N.Y., where the population has fallen from about 100,000 some 50 years ago, to less than 50,000 today, is hoping to lure recent graduates to town with a loan repayment plan.
According to the ABC News, under the plan, students who have graduated with a 2- or 4-year degree in the past two years can apply for up to $3,500 a year for two years to put toward their student loans. (The city has allocated $200,000 toward the prorgram.) To qualify, graduates will have to rent an apartment or buy a home within a designated area of the city.
(MORE: Why Have So Few Student-Loan Borrowers Taken Advantage of Income-Based Repayment?)
It’s an innovative idea, but since the graduates most likely to be desperate enough to move to a less-desirable location in order to pay their debts are likely those borrowers who have very high debt loads, the $3,500 won’t be much help. Still, the plan is likely to win some favor among the Class of 2012 graduates who are graduating with an average of $25,000 in student loan debt.
ABC News says Kansas is taking things a step further. Fifty counties in the state are providing up to $15,000 in student loan repayments to new full-time residents. In order to qualify, applicants must have earned an associate’s, bachelor’s or post-graduate degree, establish residency in the county and have an outstanding loan balance.
The manager of the Kansas program told ABC News the incentive is already helping them draw a variety of young professionals, including health professionals, teachers, veterinarians, accountants and lawyers.
Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.