State Representative John M. Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) offered testimony on Wednesday for the “Ohio Graduate Debt Assistance and Employment Incentive Act,” House Bill 246. The Graduate Debt Assistance Act would adjust the taxable income of recent graduates based on their student loan debt load, and it would offer incentives to employers who hire recent graduates.
The Graduate Debt Assistance Act, jointly sponsored with Terry Blair (R-Washington Twp.), received its first hearing in House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday. Both Rep. Rogers and Rep. Blair offered sponsor testimony.
“It’s exciting to see this important legislation move forward,” said Rep. Rogers. “So many young people went to college and took on student debt in order to pursue the American Dream. But all too often, individuals face boundaries in achieving success following graduation largely due to the debt they have incurred. Rep. Blair and I are encouraged to see the Graduate Debt Assistance Act gaining traction in committee, as this bill would potentially offer relief to many graduates seeking careers in Ohio.”
The Graduate Debt Assistance Act is designed to adjust the taxable income of recent graduates based upon their out of pocket Qualified Higher Education Expenses incurred for tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment, room and board, and special needs beneficiaries. The act’s second major provision includes an economic incentive for employers who expand their workforce by hiring a new graduate. For employers, the newly hired graduate’s employment related expenses are used as to adjust the receipts upon which the employers’ Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) is calculated.