Higher ed loan program bill re-upped for Ohio legislature’s consideration

By: - July 28, 2022 3:50 am

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When the Ohio legislature comes back from its summer break, lawmakers will reconsider a loan program for higher education that includes loan forgiveness for students who stay in Ohio.

House Bill 514 was introduced last December, but has since been re-referred twice to two different committees, landing in the Ways and Means Committee.

The bill has bipartisan sponsorship, from state Rep. Jon Cross, R-Hardin County and state Rep. Sedrick Denson, D-Cincinnati.

The sponsors have called the bill a recruitment tactic to attract and keep students in Ohio after graduation.

The recruitment tactic may be needed as an abortion law and potential bills expanding abortion regulation following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court face harsh criticism and risk a potential movement by some residents to more abortion-friendly states.

The move also came after the state started a recruitment campaign that included billboards in other states attempting to bring in new residents.

Under the bill, graduates could receive a full refund on state income tax payments if they take a job in Ohio rather than moving away. The incentive would last up to three years.

Scholarships could also be available under the bill, 100 to be specific, worth $25,000 each to students enrolling in a four-year program who finish high school in the top 5% and pursue a STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – degree.

That scholarship would be forgivable as well, with more of the outstanding loan forgiven the longer the student stays in Ohio after graduation.

Staying an Ohio resident for one year would allow for 33% forgiveness, 50% for those staying two years, and the remaining loans paid after three years, according to a Legislative Service Commission summary.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.