Garance Franke-Ruta comes up with a way to simultaneously decrease our burgeoning student-loan debt crisis, and help distressed American communities stave off pervasive cases of brain-drain:
Cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Gary, Indiana, need people. Young people, college-educated people, people with an entrepreneurial spirit who might be willing to put down roots and pay local taxes and taken on renovation projects and bring new views and businesses and opportunities to distressed, underpopulated communities.
Debt-burdened recent college graduates, for their part, need cheap housing and to pay off their student loans. They need to live in a place they can afford, and they need some means of reducing the principal on their debt in a timely fashion so they can get on with their lives. Even the existing program that allows people to pay no more than 10 percent of their income on federal student loan debt isn’t enough, because as helpful that may be to those in the program, it does nothing about the real problem — enormous underlying principal balances, thanks to the massive ramp-up in college costs — for 20 years.
Sign me up. I’d happily live in a place like Cleveland for a set-amount of time in order to get out from spending the rest of my life — and probably my death — paying back Uncle Sam for going to college.
(Photo: Michael Cote)