App version: 0.1.0

Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness in Maryland (MD)

Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness in Maryland (MD)
Rebecca Safier
Rebecca SafierUpdated August 31, 2023
Share this article:
Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Residents in Maryland are more likely to have student debt than those that live in other states. The average student loan debt of Maryland residents currently sits at $42,861. If you’re one of these students that took out loans to pay for your education, it’s worth exploring your options for student loan forgiveness. The state of Maryland offers several student loan forgiveness and repayment assistance programs to residents, which could help you reduce or even eliminate your debt balance. Read on to learn about your options. 

Does Maryland Have Any Student Loan Forgiveness Programs?

Maryland offers a variety of student loan forgiveness programs to state residents. Some programs are reserved for healthcare professionals, while others offer student loan assistance to lawyers or public servants. Maryland also offers a unique assistance program for prospective homebuyers with student loans, whether you’re moving to one of Maryland’s popular cities for recent grads or somewhere else in the state. Read on to learn about your options for student loan assistance as a Maryland resident. Recommended: Guide to State-Based Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

7 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs in Maryland

Here’s a closer look at Maryland’s student loan forgiveness programs, including award amounts and eligibility requirements. 

1. Maryland Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit

If you borrowed at least $20,000 in student loans — and still owe a minimum of $5,000 — you could qualify for a tax credit of up to $5,000. This credit is not guaranteed. Instead, the state considers your debt-to-income ratio and other factors when determining whether you qualify. 

2. Maryland SmartBuy Homebuyer Assistance & Forgiveness Program

Maryland offers a unique homebuyer assistance program for prospective homebuyers who owe student loans. As long as you have a minimum down payment of 5% and purchase a home owned by the state, Maryland will reward you with student loan repayment assistance. The award amount is up to 15% of the home purchase price or $40,000, with a minimum of $1,000. Your loans must be in good standing to qualify — borrowers with student loans in default aren’t eligible. 

3. Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program

This program offers loan repayment assistance of varying amounts to Maryland residents who provide public service to low income or underserved residents. To qualify, you must have graduated from a Maryland college or earned a resident teacher certificate from the Maryland State Department of Education. Your income cannot exceed $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a married couple. If you work as a nurse faculty member, the income limit is higher at $100,000 for an individual or $185,000 per couple. 

4. Maryland State Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals

This program awards up to $50,000 per year for two years to physicians and physician assistants. Residents in their last year of residency are also eligible. To qualify for this program, you must commit to two years of service at a medical facility in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or medically underserved area (MUA).

5. Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program

Dentists in Maryland could qualify for up to $23,740 per year for three years through the Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program. To qualify for this program, you must serve full-time at an eligible site. At least 30% of your patients must take part in the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMAP). Finally, you’ll need to enroll in MMAP’s Maryland Healthy Smiles program. This program requires dentists to keep records of all their patients and report them monthly to the Office of Oral Health. 

6. John R. Justice Grant Student Loan Repayment Program

This program provides loan repayment assistance awards of varying amounts to state and federal public defenders and prosecutors in Maryland. You must commit to three years of service, and priority is given to lawyers whose debt represents a financial burden in proportion to their income. 

7. Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Foster Care Recipients

This program is designated for former foster care recipients who graduated from a Maryland school and work for a state, country, or local government organization. If you’re a Maryland resident who was placed in an out-of-home placement by the state’s social services department and meet other program requirements, you could receive repayment assistance up to $5,000.

Can You Apply for Federal and State Student Loan Forgiveness?

You can often apply for both federal and state student loan forgiveness, but it’s always a good idea to review the details of every program to see if it contains any restrictions. If you’re pursuing the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, you’ll need to make at least 120 qualifying payments on an income-driven plan. A lump sum award from a state repayment assistance program may only be counted as a single payment. If you want credit for more payments, consider requesting that the program pay out your award in monthly installments, rather than on an annual basis. 

Other Student Loan Repayment Options

Whether you qualify for a Maryland student loan forgiveness program or not, it’s worth learning about your other options for repaying your student loans. Here are some programs that could help you manage your debt. 

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

The government offers several student loan forgiveness programs that are available to borrowers nationwide. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, for instance, will forgive your remaining balance after 120 qualifying payments and 10 years in public service. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program offers up to $17,500 for teachers who work for five straight years. 

Income-Based Repayment Plans

Getting your federal student loans on an income-driven repayment plan could be helpful if you need to adjust your payments. The government offers four income-driven plans, all of which base your monthly payment on your discretionary income. Depending on your income, your payments on an income-driven plan could be as low as $0 per month. If you still have a balance at the end of your 20- or 25-year term, it could be forgiven. 

Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing student loans is another option worth exploring, especially if you have good credit or can apply with a cosigner who does. When you refinance your student loans, you might qualify for a better interest rate than you have now. You’ll also get the chance to restructure your debt with new repayment terms and combine multiple loans into one. Refinancing can result in a more affordable monthly payment and reduced costs of borrowing. However, refinancing is not the right move for everyone, as there are both cons and pros of student loan refinancing. Refinancing federal loans means sacrificing access to federal forgiveness programs, income-driven plans, and other protections.It wouldn’t be a wise move to refinance your federal loans with a private lender if you need any of these federal programs, as the process can’t be reversed. 

The Takeaway

If you’re a resident of the state of Maryland, you could be eligible for a variety of student loan forgiveness and repayment assistance programs. Most programs are based on your profession and may require a service commitment of two years or more in a designated shortage area. Outside of state loan assistance, check out your options for managing your debt. From qualifying for federal forgiveness to applying for income-driven repayment to refinancing your student loans for better rates, you can find a strategy that helps you take control of your education debt and maybe even pay it off ahead of schedule. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for the student loan forgiveness program in Maryland?
Does Maryland have any state student loan forgiveness programs?
Are federal and private student loans subject to forgiveness?
Photo credit: iStock/Halfpoint

About the Author

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca Safier has nearly a decade of experience writing about personal finance. Formerly a senior writer with LendingTree and Student Loan Hero, she specializes in student loans, financial aid, and personal loans. She is certified as a student loan counselor with the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC).
Share this article: