Niagara Falls’ Plan To Lure Young People With Student Loan Payoffs Is Working Splendidly

Remember how towns in need of a shot of youthful energy were dangling a tasty carrot of student loan payoffs in front of said young people to try and convince them to move there? It seems Niagara Falls’ plan in that vein is doing quite well for itself, with a new report that young people from around the country are “vying for the chance to live in downtown Niagara Falls.”

As the Buffalo News puts it for those unfamiliar with the plan, “No, that’s not a typo.” It’s all part of the city’s scheme to pay off up to $3,500 for two years in student loans for those accepted into the program. More than 200 people from as far away as Hawaii have contacted the city about renting or buying a home in the city since news of the program spread last month.

“The conversation this has started, the attention, we didn’t think we [would get],” said the community development director. “That’s been encouraging, because people are talking about Niagara Falls as a living destination, and obviously are interested in what we are doing.”

While many of those interested are from upstate New York, people from California, Oregon, New York City and other coastal areas are also newly interested in living in Niagara Falls, many because of the offer to find some relief from student loan debt.

And then there are those being dubbed “urban pioneers” — people who really just want to help out the city by building a community.

“More than just the monetary incentive … it would be cool to work at a place where these ideas are actually coming out of City Hall,” said an applicant from San Jose, Calif., who studies urban planning. “It’s a pretty smart way to go about getting new people into a city that has been losing population for four decades.”

Only 20 lucky people will be accepted in the first class of buyers and renters, with preference being given to those interested in community service and who want to buy a home in the city. The city is trying to reinvigorate itself, after the population dipped to 50,000 recently, which could cost it key funding from state and federal governments.

Plan to draw grads to Falls sparks interest [Buffalo News]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “Only 20 lucky people will be accepted in the first class of buyers and renters”

    LOL, if they only knew the truth. . .

    • beanycecil1 says:

      Yep! $3500? Niagara Falls/Buffalo NY? You gotta be kidding! You could spend the money on weapons and ammo I suppose.

      I wonder if this isn’t actually more of an attempt to slow the exodus from NY.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Don’t forget fire extinguishers. And snow shovels/plows. You’ll need them too if you want to venture there.

        But seriously, if you want to tell a tale of two cities, just look at Niagara Falls NY, and Niagara Falls ON. I guess getting a better view of the Falls on the Canadian side does pay off majestically. Too bad the casinos on either side really aren’t.

      • Chris says:

        “slow the exodus from NY”? Niagra Falls is IN New York.

        Oh wait, maybe you meant NYC?

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          Chris, can you please define the word “exodus” for us? Seems obvious your definition of that word is different from mine, as well as (I’m guessing) anyone else who has some knowledge of the English language.

        • Anathema777 says:

          No, they meant NY. What’s confusing here?

  2. Power Imbalance says:

    $3,500 <— LOL

  3. AngryK9 says:

    They have to pay off the loans just so these people can afford to live in the town.

  4. T-Bone says:

    More than 200 from across the country? I guess it is good that they got more applicants than houses available but that seems to be a rather poor turnuot.

  5. Will Print T-shirts For Food says:

    I paid off over $6000 in student loans just by getting a summer job while classes are out. What kind of incentive is this?!

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Some people have well over $50K in student loan debts (probably because they studied in summer, went to grad school, switched majors because computer science has no jobs anymore, etc). They’ll be paying that off for years. $3500 is just a dent.

      • Will Print T-shirts For Food says:

        Yes, that is my point exactly. They’ll have to cough up more to convince me to move there.

        • StarKillerX says:

          Well plus the fact the the government in NYS, and that area, have driven most of the businesses out of the state and/or country, although there is a thriving drug market, so you could always go into business for yourself. lol!

          I wonder what the city thinks of the Niagara Falls police blotter on 103.3 fm out of Buffalo? It’s a weekly round up of dump criminals in Niagara Falls.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      The kind any reasonable person would laugh at.

  6. El_Fez says:

    Niagara falls? NIAGARA FALLS!! . . . . slowly I turned, and step by step, inch by inch, I walked up to him, I smashed him, I hit him, I bonked him, I bopped him, I socked him and I mashed his face and I knocked him down!

    • El_Fez says:

      Sorry man, it’s that word – ‘NIAGARA FALLS’ – every time I hear it makes me go crazy!

    • Nighthawke says:

      The best scene for that was the Three Stooges with Curly being the butt of the punches.

      woob! woob! woob! woob! woob! woob! woob!

    • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

      Thank you for memories of New Years Eve during my days in the 90s. I can’t remember which, but there was one network that ALWAYS ran a Three Stooges marathon on New Years Eve. Anyone remember?

  7. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Where will the lucky 20 people work?

    • BBG says:

      In Canada!

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Buffalo is an easy commute.

      • CrazyEyed says:

        Yup, just 20 minutes away. I’m from Buffalo and heading to the falls tonight for the fireworks. But honestly, Niagara Falls is a shit hole. Until the city starts cleaning up the abandoned houses and making it more attractive to tourists in addition to providing jobs, the area will keep slowly dieing.

    • StarKillerX says:

      I think the only business left in the falls is the casino, drug dealers and prostitues, although being college graduates maybe they should step it up and combine them and work at the casino as a drug dealing prostitute.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      The fast food industry.

  8. BigHeadEd says:

    Wow, college has gotten cheap since I graduated 26 years ago. Maybe a better plan would be to legalize pot for card-carrying residents. The young folks seem to enjoy the pot.

  9. Hartwig says:

    I guess i am surprised by the results. Especially if they are finding people to buy homes with this program. It seems like 3500 dollars a year wouldn’t be enough unless there are quality jobs available along with cheap housing. I can understand renters moving out just to see how it goes, but i would imagine most would leave after the 2 years.

    • Hartwig says:

      Well after looking at Zillow i see that housing is super cheap compared to many places listed in the article. They have a ton of homes for sale for less than 50k, so i guess buying isn’t a real problem.

      • stellapurdy says:

        Buying isn’t the problem, there are plenty of beautiful homes for sale. It’s the property/school taxes that will kill you. Although $3,500 a year is better than nothing at all.

        With the recent heatwave/wild fires/flooding in other parts of the U.S., it may not be the wisest thing to bitch about the occasional snow storm in Buffalo

  10. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    My understanding is that the program, at least in it’s first year, is limited to graduates of the local college and university – a point that is missed in the news reports and stories circulating the country. Hopefully the program works can be expanded. It’s generating much interest in Niagara Falls – a city trying not to fall below 50,000(?) by the next Census and risk losing access to federal programs & funds.

    • quail20 says:

      In seeing the dollar amount, that is my first thought. The plan is only to help those at the community college or vocational school level. Hope it works for them.

  11. OMG_BECKY says:

    Uhhhh, if any state needs to do this it’s Michigan. Mass exodus!!!

  12. gjhead says:

    Oh dear – wait till they see “downtown” Niagara Falls. So sad.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      I have. It ain’t pretty, trust me. Neither is Buffalo, for that matter–unless they fixed the place up by dropping a nuclear bomb on it in the past 20 years since I was last there.

  13. SirWired says:

    Who the heck is going to move anywhere for $3,500?

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Attracting legions of young people who can’t do math at the peak of their fertility, what could go wrong?

    • Not Given says:

      ikr? My son got twice that in moving incentive plus the company paid the moving company to ship his stuff.

  14. CrazyEyed says:

    Hate to break it to those living in Hawaii or California but the cost of moving alone would surpass the very small amounts of relief the city will give you for student loans. I’m from Buffalo (20 minutes from the falls) and this program was mostly intended to keep people from leaving, not bring people in. The payoffs we are talking about are intended to benefit those coming from some of the smaller community colleges that aren’t that expensive to begin with.

    Honestly, with all the boarded up buildings and high crime, I’d like to know where this housing is going to be because the area is an eyesore.

  15. Misha says:

    What they don’t tell you is what happens after the wax lion starts talking.

  16. carlogesualdo says:

    Pay off my student loans and I’ll move anywhere you tell me. $3500 for my student loan, though? I wouldn’t move across the room for that!

  17. do-it-myself says:

    My student loans are contributing to the fact that I CANNOT buy a home. Thanks for the catch 22, try again.

    $3,500 isn’t enough to convince me. If anything it would help pay for a few months rent…that’s about it.

    • RenegadePlatypus says:

      I don’t believe your student loans contribute to the fact that you cannot buy a home. It is your irresponsible decision-making, unwillingness to make some sacrifices to finance your education, sense of entitlement to having a very comfy lifestyle as a student that you did not earn, and lack of responsible planning that cause you to be a high-risk.

      “You mean I have to pay all that money I borrowed to pretend like I’m at summer camp for 6 years back? With interest???!! I’m like a hamster in a wheel!! Like a slaaaaaaave! Occupy!!! We are the 99%!!!!”

      • sprybuzzard says:

        You just overloaded my smug-meter.

      • do-it-myself says:

        You clearly don’t have a healthy grip on reality, nor do you know me or my situation. The jobs (with an “s” not a typo) I held during college and grad school were not able to fully fund my education and thrifty living expenses. Skipping loans wasn’t an option. I have actually worked very hard to get where I am today, but then again, I never feel the need to justify myself to anyone. Your blatant ignorance is the closest I’ve gotten.

        • RenegadePlatypus says:

          Never said anything about skipping loans. You were blaming the fact that no banks will trust you with a home loan on your student loans. There are not only heaps of students who work their way through school without loans at all, but also plenty who supplement their jobs with student loans and still have no trouble qualifying to get a home loan. You sitting there pretending like you have no options other than saddling yourself with debt you’re having trouble repaying will not a house produce. If you can’t afford one school, you can always go to another. If you can’t afford to go to school full time, you can go part time. If you can’t afford a state uni or private school, there is community college. Plenty of holders of Associates Degrees have their own homes. It is, again, your *sense of entitlement* and irresponsible decision-making that are preventing you from buying a home. Work smarter or work harder, or sit there and sulk about how other people are.

          • do-it-myself says:

            Ok, if it makes you feel better: By your logic, I have chosen not to buy a home. Never did I say that banks will not trust me. In fact I have no interest in purchasing a home at this point in my life. I feel that it WOULD be irresponsible to take out a loan right now and I am perfectly content renting. Especially for the fact that I may be moving out of state within the next couple of years and would rather not be glued to a property in this market.

            Is that clear?

            I’m still trying to find where my “entitlement” is.

            • RenegadePlatypus says:

              “My student loans are contributing to the fact that I CANNOT buy a home.”
              That is what I was responding to.
              My argument was to serve as a reminder that getting loaded down with student loans is our own decision…. the entitlement I speak of relates to you saying “skipping loans wasn’t an option”. Bulls#&t.
              There are waaay too many “ifs” attached to “skipping loans wasn’t an option”, they all come back to your own choices. Entitlement.
              It only “wasn’t an option” because you had to get what you *wanted*, and were unwilling to have the discipline or make the sacrifices to do it without borrowing so much money… You didn’t have to do anything you’re pretending you were forced to do, there are waaay too many alternatives and options.

  18. quail20 says:

    $3,500.00? That’s a half to two-thirds the cost of a vocational degree at the least expensive of schools and for the least expensive degree. Guess they’re wanting an uptick in beauticians and medical billers for their town. (Nothing wrong with those vocations, they’re just not the thing to produce economic growth.)

    Remember when towns were offering to pay off the tuitions of medical students in order to get doctors into their area for 10 years?

    • Not Given says:

      I live in a town like that. Right now we have 2 doctors, most of them move as soon as they have their time in.

  19. ladybug4mymom says:

    I grew up in downtown Niagara Falls, NY and it wasn’t bad some 40 years ago but now forget it. Downtown is a ghost town. All the houses are empty and used for crack houses or they are just falling apart. NOBODY could pay me enough money to live down there for any reason. Students be careful of what you are getting into.

  20. aja175 says:

    $3500 wouldn’t be bad, but to be forced to live in Niagara Falls? Forget it. I’m from Buffalo, NF is dead last on my list of places I’d like to live. Even behind Gary Indiana.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      C’mon, there’s got to be a place worse than Gary ID. Maybe inner Detroit? I’m pretty sure when the infomercials scream “you can buy a home for $500!” there’s where you’ll end up.

  21. Patriot says:

    That would pay off one month of my student loans. You heard that right.

    • scoosdad says:

      Yeah when I first read that figure I thought they’d slipped a decimal point. Or two.

      Seriously, so people take them up on their offer and settle down there. Where are the good jobs that have to be Part B of the equation for these newly college-educated homeowners? Cleveland? Pittsburg? Rochester? Surely not Buffalo.

  22. Blueskylaw says:

    So, is anyone else getting a warning that the Consumerist
    web site is hosting the Exploit Blackhole Exploit Kit?

    • dcatz says:

      I’m using NOD32 and it just blocked a JS/IFrame.EO trojan from Consumerist’s website.

    • TheGhostshark says:

      Yes, Consumerist’s site apparently has been compromised. If you’re reading this and didn’t get a warning, then your PC is probably now infected.

    • drjayphd says:

      Yup. Thanks for catching it, work computer.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      So nice of The Consumerist to let its readers know about this. /s

      We give all sorts of grief to Sony, Best Buy, etc who have had a breach in security and took days to acknowledge. Here we have the very same blog that shit all over them doing the exact same damn thing.

      • apple420 says:

        I don’t think The Consumerist has ever been #1 for security. When I first signed up it made me an administrator, and I had the ability to edit posts, ban users, see email addresses, and even post articles to the front page (I even tested that one, though I immediately deleted it).
        I had been reading the site for a while, and only created an account to make a comment.I was surprised by the level of access I was given. I sent them an email and they corrected it quickly.

    • quail20 says:

      No warning, but I am using Chrome with adblock on top of antivirus software. Top reason to using adblock is to avoid viruses and malware. Majority of that crap comes from compromised advertisers. But now I’m nervous. Will do a full scan with a second antivirus LiveCD now.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        Yes, typically it’s from adverts but Consumerist runs no ads. I hope Consumerist acknowledges this hack when they return on Friday.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      I’m pretty sure some drive-by virus infecting Consumerist isn’t harming my Android tablet. Hurray for being the 1%!

  23. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m not getting the warning any more. Note that this hack happened a week after Consumerist switched to WordPress.

  24. Chris says:

    “slow the exodus from NY”? Niagra Falls is IN New York.

    Oh wait, maybe you meant NYC?

    • Chris says:

      Please ignore – Consumerist added this to the wrong thread. Did something in the way we leave comments change in the last two weeks?

      • Misha says:

        Yes, actually. Did you not notice having to reset your passwork for the migration to WordPress?

  25. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Yeah, mkay. It’s a tad early to characterize this program as “working splendidly”. Heck, the 20 – ahem – lucky winners haven’t even accepted yet, and any benefit the city realizes will be a long way off. Characterizing it as anything at this point is like Bush declaring victory in Iraq.

  26. 4Real says:

    Were do I sign up????