This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Rural Areas Give Incentives to those with Student Loan Debt

By Jen Kornreich Geller

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) --Last year after completing her master's degree, Dayna Bechard Elliott, 34, took some major risks few would consider. She quit her corporate job in Kansas City and moved to Tribune, Kansas (population: 741) to open a restaurant with a business partner. Burdened with $30,000 in student loan debt, she admits this life change could have been a recipe for financial failure. But Elliott had a big safety net: the state of Kansas would help to pay off her student loans as long as she lived in a rural part of the state.

An increasing number of cities and states are trying combat dwindling populations-commonly known as the brain drain- by luring recent graduates to their areas offering economic incentives such as college loan reimbursement and tax exemptions to those who move there. With student loan debt in the U.S. fast approaching the $1 trillion mark and the majority of those loans at $10,000 or more, this perk is becoming increasingly attractive.

Kansas has implemented Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ) offering $15,000 in college loan debt repayment and in some cases waiving income tax for up to five years for moving to one of these 50 rural counties. Jobs, which are more elusive in other parts of the country, are not a problem here.

"We need skilled labor in these areas," said Chris Harris, program manager with the Kansas Department of Commerce. "The population is aging. We need doctors, lawyers, teachers and people to take over small businesses as the older generations retire here. It's an aging and shrinking population and we need educated people to do these jobs."

In fact, only 10% of the jobs open in these rural counties are farming jobs. The vast majority of them are in healthcare, education and other white-collar professions. According to Harris, 98% of the 420 people already taking part in the program have secured employment.

But life in rural Kansas is probably how you'd imagine it. "It's desolate and for a single person it's even more difficult." explains Jordan Kinsey, who moved to Norton, Kansas (population: 2,900) to teach music at the local high school.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,059.34 +5.63 0.03%
S&P 500 2,093.14 +4.37 0.21%
NASDAQ 4,811.9050 +5.0460 0.10%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs