"Grants for Grads" Will Help College Grads Buy Homes

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A recent study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that most of the students who graduate from Ohio's colleges don't plan on staying in the Buckeye State. The "grants for grads" program will offer an incentive for new graduates to stay and put down roots. In addition to a mortgage with a lower than market interest rate, students graduating with an associate's, bachelor's or more advanced degree can get a grant for least 2.5 percent of the home's value to help cover a down payment or closing cost. The catch is they have to stay in Ohio for at least five years, or else pay the money back.

State Senator Stephen Buehrer of Delta sponsored the original legislation. He says the fact that Ohio is ranked 38th in the country for residents with college degrees deters potential employers from setting up shop here. He hopes this measure will help improve that figure.

Buehrer: "When employers are looking for a place to locate, especially with technology or emerging technology and research type jobs, they're going to see that statistic and know Ohio is not on the cutting edge of degreed people."

Cindy Flaherty of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which will administer the program, says affordable housing is not the only solution to Ohio's economic development problems, but can play an important role.

Flaherty: "I think we have to be realistic and recognize that when people look for where they're going to get a job after college, affordable housing is probably not the top thing on their list, but if they find they have an opportunity to purchase a home, put down roots in the state, they're much more likely to stay. Once people own a home, they really made a commitment to the community."

Flaherty says the OHFA is still working out some of the details. The program is expected to start up this fall.

Caitlin Johnson

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