Student-loan relief program available in rural counties across Kansas

Rural Opportunity Zones or “ROZs,” are counties in Kansas where the Office of Rural Prosperity offers up to $15,000 in debt relief for qualified applicants.
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - While the student-loan forgiveness plan President Joe Biden announced this week is drawing headlines, there is another way for college graduates to get loans paid off. It’s an opportunity available across Kansas.

Rural Opportunity Zones or “ROZs,” are counties in Kansas where the Office of Rural Prosperity offers up to $15,000 in debt relief for qualified applicants. Ninety five of Kansas’ 105 counties qualify as Rural Opportunity Zones.

With ROZs, the $15,000 in debt relief is dispersed within a five-year period with half paid by the state and the rest covered by sponsored employers. For many with student loans, the opportunity can be a life-changer. In Kansas, the Office of Rural Prosperity said its goal is to give students the chance to start a career, debt-free.

“This is an opportunity for a young professional to get their leg up, to get out of debt faster, move to a rural community and hopefully move back to their hometown, and give back to their town in a way that they maybe haven’t originally thought of,” said Trisha Purdon, the Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity.

The opportunities with ROZs aren’t limited to recent graduates.

“[The] debt that you’ve had for the last 10 years, maybe floating out there, is still eligible to be forgiven,” Purdon said.

Though the program primarily benefits Kansans with student loan debt, Purdon said it can benefit the whole state.

“We want to grow the ROZ program to really turn it around from a tool that benefits once you move there, to a tool that employers can use and counties can use to recruit new people to Kansas,” Purdon said.

You can find further information on the ROZ program and apply for the relief here: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/program/taxes-and-financing/rural-opportunity-zones-roz/.