RUST BELT

Stanford will pay for your MBA—provided you then go work in this “underserved region”

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Seeking an MBA? Stanford will give you one for free—if you promise to then go live for two years in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin.

A new fellowship program at the school’s highly ranked Graduate School for Business will cover the full cost of tuition and associated fees (around $160,000 in total) for students who demonstrate financial need and prove a “strong commitment” to the US Midwest, meaning they must take a professional role there for at least two years after graduation. The point of such a program—modeled after a similar venture Stanford is making in Africa—is to help spur “economic development in underserved regions” of America.

Selection of the Midwest as the target of the fellowship is not entirely random. In the last few years, the region has seen a nascent boom in entrepreneurship on its own, and many people are finding the competitive salaries and reasonable housing costs of the “Silicon Prairie” to be much better alternatives to living in the overcrowded, wallet-squeezing tech hubs of California.

Silicon Valley’s companies are eyeing the region, too. Amazon, for instance, recently pledged to bring 2,000 new jobs to Ohio with a new distribution center.

Up to three applicants interested in a post-grad relocation to the Midwest will be selected for the Stanford USA MBA Fellowship in its inaugural 2016-17 academic year, and up to eight the following year, but the program also plans to expand in both scope and geography soon after.

The US Southeast is being considered for next year, according to Bloomberg; future business leaders with a “strong commitment” to Mississippi and Alabama will be in luck.

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