No, this is not a joke. We are completely serious when we tell you there is a county in Michigan that will pay you to live there.

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St. Clair County, which is about two hours outside of Detroit along the St. Clair River, is working on luring recent college graduates back to their towns thanks to its Community Foundation Scholarship.

The Come Home Award, is a special scholarship that grants up to $15,000 to help pay off student loan debt. While most scholarships are awarded as students kick off their college careers, the special  “come home award” is made to be essentially a talent retention program that helps graduates on the back-end of their college career, and in turn, brings them to live and work in St. Clair County.

The program was created back in 2013 when community officials noticed a real problem in many Michigan communities. Towns were having a very difficult time retaining college graduates or getting them to "hang their hat" and talents in the neighborhood.

How It Works

To qualify for the Come Home Award, an applicant must have received an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree in a STEAM field, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, in the last 10 years. Applicants must then agree to live in work in St. Clair County. Those who are already living in St. Clair County, or are in the process of moving back are not eligible.

In case you're wondering if this type of thing really works, it looks like it does. According to Kiplinger, a recent U.S. Census Bureau data, St. Clair County had the highest net migration of college-educated people in the state of Michigan, with a 1.6% gain.

Come Home Award applications are currently being accepted year-round. You can get more information or apply to make your move to St. Clair County here.

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On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.