Higher Education Loans Program Bill Delayed for Consideration by Ohio Legislature

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When the Ohio Legislature returns from its summer recess, lawmakers will reconsider a higher education loan program that includes loan forgiveness for students who stay in Ohio.

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

The bill is sponsored by two parties, State Rep. Jon Cross, R-Hardin County and State Rep. Sedrick Denson, D-Cincinnati.

Sponsors called the bill a recruiting tactic to attract and retain students in Ohio after graduation.

The recruiting tactic may be necessary as an abortion law and potential bills expanding abortion regulation following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court are facing heavy criticism and risking a potential movement of some residents to more abortion-friendly states.

The move also came after the state launched a recruitment drive that included billboards in other states trying to attract new residents.

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

Scholarships could also be available under the bill, 100 to be specific, worth $25,000 each for students entering a four-year program who graduate from high school in the top 5% and are pursuing a STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics degree.

This scholarship would also be forgivable, with more of the outstanding loan forgiven the longer the student remains in Ohio after graduation.

According to a summary from the Legislative Service Commission, remaining an Ohio resident for one year would allow for a 33% forgiveness, 50% for those who stay two years and the remainder of the loans repaid after three years.

Follow the OCJ journalist Susan Tebben on Twitter.

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