Hamilton, Ohio will begin offering a unique student loan benefit to recent graduates that relocate to the city. 

In an effort to boost the number of college graduates coming to the city, Hamilton, Ohio, is endorsing a program aimed to help newly relocated college graduates pay down their student loans. The Hamilton City Council approved the program in a 7-0 vote.

The city itself will not be running the program. Instead, the Talent Attraction Program Scholarship is being funded and offered by the nonprofit Hamilton Community Foundation.

To qualify for the scholarship, participants must live somewhere other than Hamilton when they apply. They must have outstanding student loans of at least $5,000 or more. And they need to have graduated from a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) program within the past seven years.

They also have to be willing to move into Hamilton’s urban core and they must be able to prove they will be employed in Hamilton or Butler County. Participants can begin submitting their applications on March 5.

If accepted, payments would be made in 25 monthly installments of $200 each. However, applicants would forfeit their payments if they choose to move out of the city.

According to Bob Long, a donor to the Hamilton Community Foundation, this scholarship is important because only 15 percent of Hamilton residents received a college degree.

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"It's an opportunity to bring more people, especially young people with lots of energy, into the community," Long said to local news outlet WCPO.

Hamilton, which is about 35 miles north of Cincinnati, has done a lot to improve its downtown area and local parks. But according to Glenn Holmes, a recent employee in the Hamilton fellowship program, residents without college degrees are still being left behind in the global job market.

Holmes expressed this concern to the city council last May. “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,” he said.

According to Holmes, an educated populace is the key to Hamilton’s continued growth and success.

Hamilton is not the only city trying to attract more college graduates. Many rural towns across the United States are offering loan repayment programs in hopes of attracting new residents. Other places offering similar incentives to attract new residents include Niagara Falls, N.Y., and counties in Kansas, NBC News reported.

These programs are a win-win for both the city and borrowers. Recent graduates receive the help they need with paying back their loans, and U.S. towns find ways to stay competitive and attract new residents.

Image Copyright © Jimmy Emerson, DVM