With student loan payments reaching an all-time high, one Ohio town is capitalizing on this by offering student loan borrowers an incentive to relocate and get their debts paid.
The Journal-News reported in February that Hamilton, a suburb of Cincinnati, will launch a student debt repayment opportunity called “Talent Attraction Program Scholarships.” Hamilton is launching this program to help either recent college graduates pay down student loans with a $5,000 minimum in exchange for becoming city residents. The program’s money or donations will come from the Hamilton Community Foundation.
The application process opens on March 5. A key requirement for applicants is they can’t be current Hamilton residents as the program intends to draw new, young people to the city. However, the foundation will cast a local net to attract applicants.
“Definitely, we want to make sure our area colleges are aware of this, so we’ll be communicating with them,” Katie Braswell, vice president of the foundation told the Journal-News.
Along with moving to Hamilton and meeting the debt requirement, what are the other requirements? Applicants must be graduates from a “STEAM” program, defined as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics within the past seven years. They will also be required to live in Hamilton’s urban neighborhoods including Dayton Lane, the Downtown/Central Business District, German Village, Riverview, or Rossville.
The payment plan occurs over 25 months with $200 monthly payments. If the borrower moves away from Hamilton before the end of the scholarship period, the payments will stop.
For Hamilton, this program is a reciprocal one as the city has battled economic challenges. Glenn Holmes, an employee in Hamilton’s fellowship program, told the City Council in 2017, “Less than two decades ago, at the turn of the century, our poverty rate was only 13 percent. Today more than one in five Hamiltonians live in poverty.”
What can be done to change this? Holmes believes the solution is for Hamilton’s population to be better educated. One way to do this is through the Talent Attraction Program Scholarships.
Student Debt Forgiveness Programs
For student loan debt holders, making a move to Hamilton, Ohio, might not seem outlandish. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. For borrowers with bachelor’s degrees, the average is $30,100. The future might appear grim with this debt hanging over borrowers’ heads but there are options.
For education and public service professionals, there are different student loan forgiveness programs available. Along with towns like Hamilton, some states assist graduates by paying off loans. Eligibility and payment plans will vary for these opportunities, according to experts, but they are worth reviewing.
In addition to programs for undergraduate degree debt, there are ones for post-graduate degree holders carrying an even greater debt load. This includes lawyers, doctors, and other health care providers.
Regardless of the program or plan chosen to pay off student debt, it is always important to pay on time and not skip payments. Just remember that research and patience can go a long way in finding solutions if you’re having trouble making payments.
Author: Mike Brown
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