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These 5 cities or states will pay you to live there, and you can apply right now

Many programs and applications are surprisingly clunky, but these are a breeze.

These 5 cities or states will pay you to live there, and you can apply right now
[Photo: Flickr user Bob P. B.]

Free money alert! This week Topeka, Kansas, joined the list of off-the-beaten-path regions that will pay you to move there.

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Upon closer inspection, though, most funding meant to lure you to, say, North Platte, Nebraska, or Grant County, Indiana, involves convoluted applications or home purchases or employer-matching programs. (Topeka’s program requires you to live there for a year, for example.) In other words, nothing you can simply apply for in one step. We tracked down the programs that you can easily sign up for right this moment, wherever you are, and lock down funding before you buy your plane ticket:

  • If you’re a full-time remote employee: Think Vermont. Applications open in January for this program that pays you up to $10,000 over two years just for setting down new roots.
  • If you’re a very recent grad or went to college in Maine: Opportunity Maine. Pay off your loans in a state that refunds recent grads for loan payments. The refund comes as a tax credit so, for example, if you pay $2,500 in loan payments and your state income tax bill is $2,100, you would only pay $400 in taxes.
  • If you’re a freelancer or work remotely: Tulsa Remote. Get $10,000 and a coworking space. The hip program, funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, initially planned to attract 20-25 people and was deluged by applications, which organizers capped at 10,000. They’ve recently welcomed over 100 new residents, and now the program is back, looking for Tulsa’s 250 newest movers and shakers.
  • If you’re a recent STEAM grad: Go Hamilton. The one in Ohio, which will pay off up to $10,000 of your student loans over three years. That’s totally worth a three-year detour to Butler County.
  • If you’re still buried by student loans 7-10 years out of school: St. Clair County, Michigan, is calling your name and willing to pay back up to $15,000 of your loans through its Come Home Award.

Happy trails.

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