Governor Larry Hogan announced the 2017 Student Debt and Tuition Relief Initiative Tuesday afternoon at the University of Maryland.
The proposal includes legislation to make student debt interest payments tax-deductible for all Marylanders earning less than $200,000 per year. It also provides funding to cap tuition growth at Maryland colleges and universities at a maximum of 2 percent.
“Having a college education is more important now than ever before, but the harsh reality many face today is that earning a college degree often goes hand-in-hand with accumulating crippling college debt,” Hogan said. “We believe that our new Student Debt and Tuition Relief Initiatives will provide much-needed relief from student loan debt, and will help us continue to make college in Maryland more affordable.”
Under the proposal, the vast majority of Marylanders will be able to deduct 100 percent of the interest paid on their student loan debt from their income tax return. Beginning in 2018, individuals making less that $200,000 and couples with combined earnings less than $250,000 will not pay any Maryland income tax on their student loan interest payments. According to Hogan's office, this proposal is expected to save Marylanders $20 million each year.
Governor Hogan also announced his plan to provide tuition relief. Maryland universities had requested to increase tuition by as much as 5 percent, but Hogan announced that the state would partner with the universities to cap tuition growth at 2 percent. The state will invest an additional $17.5 million at 14 Maryland colleges, including all 12 University System of Maryland institutions, Morgan State University and St. Mary's College.
In addition, the governor announced an investment of more than $380 million in the 2017 capital budget for higher education projects across the state,
- $89 million for construction of the new Biomedical Sciences Education facility at the University System of Maryland, Universities at Shady Grove Education Center
- $40 million to continue construction of the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- $26 million to start construction for a new science facility at Towson University
- $9 million to begin construction of Morgan State University’s Student Services building
- $25 million for continued construction of the James Clark Bioengineering Building at the University of Maryland, College Park
Maryland's community college will also receive $56 million to fully fund their requested projects for the year. An additional $8 million will also be invested for projects at Goucher College, McDaniel College, and St. John's College.
This is the second year in a row that Governor Hogan has provided major tuition relief in Maryland.