Topeka Interest continues to grow in a new state program aimed at increasing economic activity in rural Kansas counties and reversing population declines.
The Department of Commerce says 40 out of 50 eligible counties have agreed to participate in a student loan forgiveness program. Approved applicants who have graduated from accredited universities and technical colleges can receive up to $3,000 a year for five years in loan assistance.
The program is part of a rural opportunity zone initiative developed by Gov. Sam Brownback and his administration. Participating counties have experienced population declines of as much as 10 percent the past decade.
New residents moving to the counties from outside Kansas are also eligible to apply for an exemption from the state’s income tax for five years.