Move to rural Virginia, and the tobacco commission will help pay off your student debt
How much money would it take to entice someone to move to a rural locality?
Would $140,000 motivate someone to work as a nurse in Halifax County? Is $24,000 enough to attract a recent college graduate to teach high school science in Russell County?
In Southwest and Southside Virginia, where young people are leaving to find opportunity elsewhere, a state commission is trying to combat that trend by offering to pay off student loan debt for those willing to live and work in the region. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is overhauling its student loan repayment program with a new focus on luring people to one of the 40 localities in Southwest and Southside for hard-to-fill jobs.
The population in Southwest and Southside has continued to decline. The birth rate in those regions has dropped also. State and local officials say young people are leaving and not coming back. There’s a shortage of people to fill certain jobs like doctors and nurses, science and math teachers, and industrial and electrical engineers.
The revised student loan repayment program has two parts, and the commission would spend $5 million on it every two years.