Gardner co-sponsors savings act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Saturday, 23 November 2013 18:13
Two senators are leading a new effort to make a college education more affordable in Ohio, with Senate Bill 244 introduced Wednesday.
Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) along with Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) sponsored the Ohio College Savings Act, which would increase the maximum tax deduction for families investing in college 529 savings plans to $10,000 per student.
Current law allows a $2,000 annual deduction, one of the lowest amounts in the nation.
Gardner, chairman of Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education, said the bill would help families save for college while ultimately helping the state's economy.
"If Ohio was just at the national average in college attainment we would increase personal incomes and purchasing power for Ohio families," Gardner said. "This bill is not a fiscal burden on Ohio's budget. Instead, this effort would be a major educational and financial benefit for Ohio families and Ohio's future."
To date, a total of 13 Republican senators and one Democrat have joined as co-sponsors of the bill, including three members of Senate GOP leadership.
"We are very encouraged with the support we are receiving so far for this bill," Jones and Gardner said. "We believe the prospects are strong that this will be enacted into law."
The bill has already received support from the higher education community, including Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio.
"This incentive attacks head on what is, arguably, the biggest issue facing students contemplating college today-borrowing to pay for their college education and going into debt as a result," Johnson said.
C. Todd Jones, president of the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Ohio, agreed.
"Savings are a critical part of financing a college education, and AICUO fully supports increasing the 529 limits to encourage families to save," Jones said.
The bill also creates the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability, which would make recommendations as to additional ways Ohio can improve college opportunities with the goal of greater degree completion and reduced student debt.

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