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Published: Saturday, 8/22/2009

Ohio aid for grads may begin in October


COLUMBUS - A new program providing help to recent college graduates in buying their first homes as an incentive to keep them in Ohio is expected to be rolled out in mid-October.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency is still in the process of finalizing rules for how the Grants for Grads program will operate, but spokesman Erin Biehl said an Oct. 19 start is anticipated.

At that time, would-be homebuyers would be able to apply for grants that would serve as second mortgages on their homes that would be forgiven after they've stayed in the state at least five years after graduation.

The mortgages would be awarded through the agency's existing First-Time Homebuyer Program and would have to be used within 18 months of graduation.

Mr. Biehl said the agency will begin training lenders next month for the program.

The program, pushed by state Sen. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta), was inserted in Ohio's $50.5 billion, two-year budget signed into law last month.

Participants are expected to get lower interest rates on their first mortgages and, assuming they fulfill their part of the bargain, would have the second mortgage forgiven. If the graduate fails to stay in the state for five years, the agency would recoup the second loan by placing a lien against the property that would have to repaid when the house is sold.

The agency plans to post more information on the program on its Web site at www.ohiohome.org as it becomes available.

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