Ohio lawmakers to consider bill aimed at retaining, luring students

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Graduates of any Ohio college, public or private, who take a full-time job in the state would be exempt from state income tax for up to three years, under legislation proposed Monday by a Republican lawmaker with an aim of recruiting and retaining Ohio college students.

Businesses that offer paid college internships would receive a tax break, the state would offer up to 100 merit-based scholarships of $25,000 to out-of-state students, and more money would be added to Ohio’s college grant fund for students with associate degrees pursuing a bachelor’s, according to the plan from Rep. Jon Cross of Kenton.

Students would have to be in the top 5% of their graduating class and pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math to receive the out-of-state scholarships.

The goal “is to incentivize Ohio’s younger population to live, learn, work and prosper in Ohio vs. leaving the state after graduation,” said Cross, chairperson of the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.

Cross didn’t have a price tag for the measure, but said its cost had to be weighed against the potential revenue gain of people staying in the state or coming to Ohio as a result of the incentives. Cross noted that at one time, Ohio had 24 congressional districts, but because of population shifts in other parts of the country it’s down to 15. His legislation should put the state in position to return to 24, he said.

That could be a heavy lift: the states that have gained House seats in recent years—including Texas, Florida and Colorado—have also experienced strong population growth, while Ohio, with about 11.8 million people, has experienced only minimal growth.

Cross was joined by several university presidents at Monday’s announcement, including the leaders of Ohio State, Bowling Green State University, the University of Cincinnati, Marietta College, and Ursuline College in suburban Cleveland.

Twenty-six percent of students at the University of Findlay are from out of state, and 62% of the school’s alumni work in Ohio, said Findlay president Katherine Fell.

“We would like that to be a larger percentage, and with this bill we believe that will happen,” she said.

Cross said creative approaches are necessary, noting that plenty of other states provide incentives to attract students, including Alabama, which offers generous scholarships to qualifying out-of-state students.

“Who the hell wants to go to Alabama? I don’t,” Cross said. “But there’s a pipeline of students in Ohio that go to Alabama. So we have to get competitive.”

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5 thoughts on “Ohio lawmakers to consider bill aimed at retaining, luring students

  1. Indiana needs something similar for Teachers and Nurses

    Go to a State School, Work in the State at public school or local hospital for X years and your Federal Loans are cleared or dramatically reduced.

    1. The state has no role in the federal loan program, hence is cannot “clear or dramatically reduce” what any student owes. What Indiana can and should do is offer all high school graduates the first year of community college at no cost to the student, and if the student earns a C or better the second year would also be free. This would be an easier, less costly way to better prepare Hoosier kids for better employment opportunities or advancing to a full four-year college degree.

    2. What Indiana can also do is restore the funding cuts made to higher education in 2007/2008 with the stipulation that each school also restores the cuts in the number of in-state students that IU/Purdue/Ball State are admitting.

      Because all of them filled the budget hole, as they said they would, be admitting less Indiana students and taking more out-of-state students who pay a lot more.

  2. This is going to be a total flop. Taxes aren’t the problem in Ohio, it’s social conservatism and austerity budgets. People are willing to pay more to live in places that have better public services and don’t gerrymander their economic centers out of representation. Bottom line is that the politics of Ohio (and Indiana, for that matter) absolutely suck and people don’t want to live there because of it.