Economic Development News & Insight


Niagara Falls will pay your student loans

/ December 12, 2014

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Niagara Falls will pay your student loans

Sorry to all of the Canadian students reading this post, but it is the American Niagara Falls that is offering this deal.  Niagara Falls in the U.S. sits right on the line between being considered a town and a city, needing to have over 50,000 residents to be considered a city.  Now you may think that this is a trivial number to pass, but the impact the number has on the amount of funding Niagara Falls will receive from the federal government is significant.  By offering to pay for student loans, Niagara is hoping to lure people who would not previously have considered Niagara as a potential home.

Of course there are several catches, as it would be incredibly surprising to hear that a town would consider taking on a student’s entire debt.  Niagara Falls will cover up to $7,000 of a student loan over a two year period.  During that two year period the former student is required to live in a district close to the now-boarded up Main Street.  Living space is not the only difficulty that these recent graduates will face however, as Niagara offers some different challenges to what one would find in a thriving metropolitan community.  The average weekly wage in Niagara sits at $750, well below the national average of $1,027, with many residents having to find work outside of the immediate Niagara region.

Still, despite the challenges that face graduates, there is currently five people who have taken up Niagara Falls’ offer and are currently living near Main Street.  While there are challenges, the use of student loans is a unique attempt to recreate a thriving Niagara Falls city that at one point was home to over 100,000 people.  While the mayor isn’t incredibly optimistic that the students will remain in Niagara after the two years are up, it is an idea loaded with potential.  With students in America facing larger and larger debt, the appeal of having some of that covered is undeniable.  Not only does it bring people to Niagara, but brings young, educated people looking to gain employment.  If Niagara’s job market can capitalize on the potential influx of youth, then the long term future of Niagara Falls is looking very bright.

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