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Mortgage Help for Ohio College Grads

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has been given the green light to develop a program providing mortgage assistance to new college graduates, says a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.�� The OHFA is a public/private agency that is headed by a board of trustees mostly appointed by the governor.�� The agency's mission is contributing to the development of affordable housing; this particular initiative is aimed at keeping recent college graduates in Ohio.

Many of the details on the initiative have yet to be worked out, but it has been announced by the agency due to the recent passage of a funding bill signed by Governor Ted Strickland a week ago.�� The "Grants for Grads" program will provide mortgage assistance to college graduates from a public or private university or from a college in Ohio who agree to stay in Ohio for five years after graduation.�� The mortgage assistance is available to all students who graduate with a college degree at the associate's level or higher.

The mortgage assistance comes in the form of a loan that becomes a grant after five years of residence.�� The available grant money would provide up to three percent of the home's value, cash to be put towards the up-front costs of acquiring a home in the form of an unconventional loan.�� If the resident moves within a year, the entire loan must be repaid.�� If the move occurs after three years, 40% of the loan must be repaid.�� After five years, the entire loan is forgiven.�� Application for the grant must be made within eighteen months after graduation.

The legislation to fund this program was prompted by a survey showing that seventy nine percent of Ohio's college students from out of state plan to leave the state after graduation.�� More telling was the survey result showing that fifty one percent of the native Ohioans currently enrolled in college intend to depart after graduation.�� Ohio is one of many states where the sensitivity about higher education currently emanating from Washington has taken hold.�� The state ranks thirty eighth in the country for residents with college degrees.

Along with affordable housing for young people, another issue that is drawing constant press attention is the cost of attending college.�� Students that graduate with heavy loan obligations are generally not in a position to attempt the purchase of a home.�� The federal government is taking steps to lighten the burden of college loans; the Grants for Grads program may those with a new degree build some equity while working at retiring their college debt.

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