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Rural Opportunity Zone News

wheatfield.jpgOn April 11, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. ROZs are designed to reverse dramatic population declines over the past decade in rural areas of Kansas. The program is a central component of a broader plan by the Brownback Administration to spur economic development in and expand job growth in 50 counties around the state. The program will take effect July 1, 2011.

The program has two main incentives:

  • A state income tax exemption for up to five years to individuals who move to a ROZs county from outside the state. Individuals must not have lived in Kansas for the past five years, nor have Kansas source income of more than $10,000 per year over the past five years.
  • Student loan forgiveness of up to $3,000 per year ($15,000 maximum benefit) for individuals who graduate from an accredited post-secondary institution and move to a ROZs county.

The student loan forgiveness portion of the program is a county-state partnership, and counties must opt in to participate. As of Nov. 1, 2011, the following counties have joined the student loan forgiveness program: Barber, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Decatur, Edwards, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita and Woodson. We will update this list as other counties decide to participate. The official application form for the student loan repayment program can be accessed below.

To help answer additional questions about the program, the Department has provided a Frequently Asked Questions document (Updated Nov. 1, 2011).

Kansas ROZs map (updated Nov. 1, 2011)

Rural Opportunity Zone Guidelines

The Marion County Commission voted September 26, 2011 to opt in to the student loan repayment portion of the ROZs program, allowing the state and the county to repay up to $3,000 per year for up to five years of an individual’s student loans from an accredited post-secondary institution.  Funds are limited so applicants must be approved by the State and County.
Official application forms will be available from the Department of Commerce. More information on the program can be found at the Kansas Department of Commerce website or by contacting Dan Lara, Public Information Officer for the Department at (785) 296-3760 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The program also provides an income tax exemption for up to five years to individuals who relocate to a ROZ county from out of state. Counties do not need to opt in to participate in this portion of the program but must notify the State, who will notify the County .

The program designates 50 counties as ROZs counties. They are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.