Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OHFA program to retain Ohio grads launches

A new program designed to keep Ohio's college graduates in the state, has officially launched, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced yesterday.

Grants for Grads will provide 2.5 percent of the purchase price of a new home to prospective buyers in the form of a zero-interest, second mortgage to help with down payment and closing costs.

The loan is forgivable after five years. Participants who move out of the state within those five years must pay back 20 percent of the loan amount for every year remaining on the agreement.

To be eligible, applicants must have graduated from an Ohio high school and must apply for the program within 18 months of earning an associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or other postgraduate degree. Income and price restrictions for the program vary by county.

"We look forward to working with talented graduates to assist them in achieving their homeownership dream as they begin the next chapter of their lives," said Doug Garver, executive director of OHFA. "By working to keep more of our homegrown talent in the state, we can continue to strengthen our communities."

The program was introduced by State Senator Stephen Buehrer (R-Fremont) and included in this year's biennial budget.

The number of 18- to 34-year-old Ohio residents has declined by 30,000 people – or about 1 percent – this decade.

A study of 800 students at seven Ohio colleges, conducted by Thomas B. Fordham Institute last February and March, found that 51 percent of native Ohioans plan to leave the state after graduation, and 79 percent of non-natives said that they plan on leaving.

Ohio ranks 38th nationally in the number of residents with college degrees – just 24 percent have bachelor's degrees, compared to the national average of 27.5 percent.

"By offering the program, we can better position the state to meet the needs of future graduates as they make plans to build their personal and professional lives in Ohio after college," said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. "Retaining educated and qualified graduates will also help to attract new jobs and prevent others from leaving the state."

Previous reading on BC:
Valley Homes redevelopment awaiting approval (8/18/09)
OHFA to administer program to keep college grads in ohio (7/27/09)
Two Cincinnati projects win federal tax credits (7/7/09)
Cincinnati supports tax credits for Evanston rental project (3/18/09)
$10.2M St. Leger Place rental project seeks tax credits (3/10/09)