Governor Larry Hogan today announced a comprehensive series of initiatives to make a college education more affordable and provide relief to Marylanders burdened by student debt. Governor Hogan made the announcement at the Universities at Shady Grove.
The governor was joined by University System of Maryland Chancellor Dr. Robert Caret, Maryland Secretary of Higher Education Dr. James Fielder, Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management’s Office of Personnel Services and Benefits Cindy Kollner, and Deputy Chief of Staff Tiffany Robinson. Also attending were university presidents and personnel including University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman Hrabowski, University of Maryland Baltimore President Jay Perman, University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke, Bowie State President Aminta Breaux, University of Maryland University College Chief Academic Officer Alan Drimmer, and University of Maryland Provost Mary Ann Rankin, as well as students participating in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program.
“In Maryland, nearly 60 percent of all of our college students are graduating with thousands of dollars in student debt. This financial burden is preventing young Marylanders from achieving financial security and has become a roadblock to home ownership and saving for retirement,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “That changes today, as we provide real and pragmatic solutions for our students and continue to invest, a record $7 billion, into making college affordable and relieving crushing student loan debt.”
Governor Hogan announced that he will reintroduce the administration’s Student Debt Relief Act as emergency legislation on the first day of the 2019 legislative session, allowing Marylanders to deduct 100 percent of the interest paid on their student loans from their income tax return.
The proposed legislation will also expand the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program to include four-year Maryland public institutions. Students who qualify for the Promise Scholarship and fulfill the requirements by graduating from community college with an associate’s degree while maintaining at least a 2.3 GPA will receive free tuition for the remaining two years.
The new comprehensive SmartStart website can be found at SmartStart.Maryland.gov.
Since taking office, Governor Hogan has invested more than $7.1 billion in higher education and has diligently worked with Maryland’s public colleges and universities to cap tuition growth at two percent annually for Maryland residents at these schools, a commitment the governor reaffirmed today.
“Governor Hogan has demonstrated a true understanding of education’s critical role and its impact on Maryland’s workforce, economy, and quality of life,” said Chancellor Caret. “The governor’s vision, which is shared by the University System of Maryland, will create more high-paying jobs in Maryland, more educated citizens to lead the state, and a better quality of life for all.”