The mayor of a village near downtown Cleveland is proposing student loan relief for people who buy homes there.
Mayor Trevor Elkins’ proposal offers to pay up to $50,000 or half of outstanding student loans, whichever is less, to homebuyers in the village of about 2,000 people.
The homebuyer would have to stay for 10 years to collect 80 percent of the grant, 15 years for the full amount.
Elkins says the idea came from hearing about the nation’s looming student loan debt crisis and watching the village’s population shrink.
“I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by tackling both problems in a way that was a win-win for Newburgh Heights but also for individuals that had a challenge of their own as it related to student debt,” said Elkins.
He estimates the income tax collected from the new residents will come close to paying for the program. The income tax rate in Newburgh Heights is 2 percent.
“They’re on average going to have a higher income tax base than say the average citizen who just has a high school degree,” said Elkins.
He added that Newburgh Heights, which lacks amenities like a grocery store and restaurants, is also working to create a commercial strip on city-owned land near I-77.
If approved, the program would be administered by the village’s community investment corporation and come back to council for renewal after five years.
Newburgh Heights Village Council will start considering the proposal at its meeting Tuesday.