college

Debt Relief for New Grads

Struggling locales offer debt relief.

By the time Patrick and Amber Patterson graduated from Fort Hays State University, in Hays, Kan., last year, they’d racked up $42,000 in student loans. The couple wanted to move back to their hometown of Phillipsburg, Kan. (population 2,520), but didn’t know if it made economic sense.

Then a friend told them about the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ) program. In exchange for moving to one of 54 rural counties in Kansas, including Phillips County, recent college grads receive up to $3,000 per year (for a maximum of five years) to help pay back loans. The program will shave five years off the Pattersons’ loans.

Other struggling regions are following suit. Niagara Falls, N.Y., gives nearly $7,000 over two years to a limited number of grads who live there; New Jersey lawmakers are mulling a similar bill for Trenton, Camden and Jersey City.

Not ready to pack your bags? Try a credit or debit card that converts rewards into loan payments. Redeem points from eight different Citi cards at 1 cent per point to pay student loans. The SmarterBank Visa debit card gives you up to 1% back on any non-PIN purchases over $100 and makes payments automatically if you’ve earned $15 in rewards. Shop online with the Upromise World MasterCard and earn up to 5% back. Then use the Upromise Loan Link to make payments on eligible Sallie Mae loans using your rewards.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 41 Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked
stocks

The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 41 Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked

The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio is a diverse set of blue chips, and increasingly, lesser-known growth bets. Here's a look at every stock picked by Wa…
November 16, 2021
Should You Take an Extra Big RMD This Year?
required minimum distributions (RMDs)

Should You Take an Extra Big RMD This Year?

Sometimes only taking the minimum IRA distribution can be a costly mistake. When deciding how much to withdraw this year, you need to consider the big…
November 23, 2021

Recommended

Bias at Work: How to Defuse a Ticking Time Bomb in Your Organization
careers

Bias at Work: How to Defuse a Ticking Time Bomb in Your Organization

An interview with the author of the book “Bias Interrupted” reveals hidden signs of bias in the workplace and offers ideas for what to do to help corr…
November 26, 2021
Where to Find Emergency Cash
Making Your Money Last

Where to Find Emergency Cash

Even if you're debt-averse, having a credit card to pay for emergencies could be an important lifeline.
November 22, 2021
The Return of Student Loan Payments
Paying for College

The Return of Student Loan Payments

A pandemic reprieve on student loan payments ends in January. If you still need financial help, there are steps you can take.
November 22, 2021
Watch Out for Job Listing Fraud
Scams

Watch Out for Job Listing Fraud

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find new employment in 2022, be on guard against job-listing scams.
November 22, 2021