Niagara Falls (WKBW) The City of Niagara Falls has struggled to keep residents in the area, especially new college graduates, for years. And with the average student graduating with thousands of dollars in student loan debt, officials have come up with a plan: move downtown and the city will pay your student loan payments.
The money comes from the Urban Renewal Agency fund, and requires a two year commitment for new graduates to live in certain areas of downtown Niagara Falls. In return, the city will reimburse those students who are in good standing with up to $291 per month in student loan payments. The goal is to draw new college educated residents to the region, help fix up broken housing and re-vamp neighborhoods, and give businesses an incentive to stay or relocate to the area.
"Basically they have a student loan debt, we have a young professionals debt. We're trying to match the two needs together," Director of Community Development Seth Piccirillo said.
"So we're trying to be responsive to a crisis facing this generation of Americans, a crisis facing the City of Niagara Falls, and try to kill two birds with one stone," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster added.
The first group eligible for loan reimbursements is only 20 students, but city representatives hope to grow the program in the future.
City officials hope to get the plan up and running in time for the graduating class of 2013 to take full advantage of the pilot program.