As students return to colleges and universities — many for the first time in more than a year — COVID-19 lingers and continues to impact their collegiate experience.

At the same time, another dilemma looms large for many students and their families: How to pay for that education.

As Maryland’s comptroller, I want to make sure all taxpayers have the information they need to receive any tax relief possible. Maryland’s Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit can help save you money, but you need to act fast because the deadline to apply is Sept. 15.

The program, which is administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), provides an income tax credit for Maryland residents making eligible undergraduate and/or graduate education payments on loans from an accredited college or university. These include loans obtained in pursuit of an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, professional graduate, doctoral or post-doctoral degrees.

To be eligible, you must also meet these criteria:

  • File 2021 Maryland state income taxes.
  • Have incurred at least $20,000 in undergraduate and/or graduate student loan debt.
  • Have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt remaining when applying for the tax credit.

Applications for this credit must be sent by Sept. 15. You’ll need to provide the required graduate and/or undergraduate student loan information, including Maryland income tax information and college transcripts.

MHEC will prioritize tax credit recipients and amounts based on qualified taxpayers who have higher debt burden to income ratios, graduated from an institution of higher education located in Maryland, did not receive a tax credit in a prior year and were eligible for in-state tuition.

Selected recipients must show that they used the full amount of the tax credit for the repayment of eligible student loans. If that cannot be verified, you may have to repay the credit.

If you or someone you know may be eligible for this tax credit, I urge you to spread the word and apply by Sept. 15.

For more information, or if you have additional questions, contact the Maryland Higher Education Commission at 410-767-3300 or 1-800-974-0203 or

And, of course, I want to extend my best wishes to students, parents, faculty, support staff and administrators embarking on another semester at all our fantastic colleges and universities. I am grateful for all the work you do in the face of our current challenges.

Peter Franchot is the 33rd Comptroller of Maryland.

(11) comments


Ridiculous. Parents need to properly plan before having children. That includes a plan for saving for their children's education. Parents already have their income taxed less simply because they chose to have children and certainly those who have more than two children are causing additional harm to environmental problems, and are making climate change worse by helping to grow the human population. Now we are going to give them additional money for any college debt. How about if we are going to do that, at least only lower the debt for those who get degrees tat are truly useful to society?

Prioritizing tax credit recipients and amounts based on qualified taxpayers who have higher debt burden to income ratios only serves to rewards those financially more irresponsible and likely those who chose private schools over public schools. I wonder how many basket weaving type degrees we will be paying for with this program.


Instead of this useless cycle of easy credit, followed by loan defaults & tax credits, why not pursue the root of the problem. Why does a college education cost so much? Part of the problem is that endless infusions of loans made raising tuition levels so much easier, & probably inevitable..


The cost of something will rise proportionally with the ability to pay, blueline. Since a lot of people don't understand finance, or simple facts of compound interest, they get sucked into the vortex offered by school "financial counselors" (a misnomer). One of my kids was accepted into RIT, and they presented us with a financial aid package that was a joke; mostly student loans at market rates. Needless to say, he went elsewhere, and has no student loan debt and a PhD.




Ok. What’s your solution?


There are many approaches mrsniper, and I have discussed it here previously. My folks couldn't afford to send me to college, so I started part time at a county college, and worked full-time in a grocery store. After graduation I got a job as a lab tech and took classes at a state school (Rutgers), earning a BA. I continued through grad school, taking advantage of tuition reimbursement programs. It took longer than usual, but slow progress is better than no progress. Nobody says you only have four years to complete an undergraduate degree. I moved here and earned two more graduate degrees, again, taking advantage of tuition reimbursement. Zero student debt. As for my kids, we took advantage of the 529 programs, and put away enough for each of them. There are a lot of tuition assistance programs and scholarships for those students that are serious, set goals, and apply themselves to achieve those goals.


Tuition was so much lower & wages so much higher when you went to school. It’s nice you helped your kids get through school. Most people get little to no help. So really your “solution” amounts to a combination of figure it out or get your parents to pay for it. Precisely the “solution” that got us to this point.


No mrsniper. Those tuition reimbursement programs are still around, as are community colleges. I took advantage of tuition reimbursement programs myself only 10 years ago with my last degree. The military is also an option for those so inclined. Kids who apply themselves and get good grades get scholarships. There are so many options available if folks just look for them. However, nobody ever said it would be easy as parents paying the full ride. If you're serious about being successful, you do what you need to do to reach your goals.


Sir, you don’t get to create your own reality. It is an indisputable fact wages have remained stagnant since the ‘70s. It is also a fact that tuition has risen against inflation faster than any other expense except maybe healthcare. I’m not worried about the best students. They will always have a way. I also find it immoral to be forced to join the war machine just to get a decent education. Your way works. For a tiny few. The majority are saddled with crushing debt for decades. If you can’t acknowledge that reality, we can end this conversation now.


Mrsniper, nowhere have I denied the facts that a college education has gotten more expensive, and I agree that wages have not increased. So we are in agreement on two points, correct? However, you discard any potential solution for some people because it doesn’t work for all people. That’s playing argumentative whattaboutism whack-a-mole, and is weak. Why the defeatist attitude? Immoral to serve one’s country? How patriotic of you, given your nom de plume. Some people may choose the military as a way to fund their education. However, it may not be for everyone. You will also note that I pointed out that community colleges are available, whose tuition is affordable, and whose credits will transfer to a four-year State school. Are you now going to whine that there might not be a local State college within bicycling distance, and that the only local college is a private and expensive one? You will also note that I said that if one cannot attend full-time, that part-time while working a full-time job is always a viable option. It may take longer, but it is better than not starting at all. It is how I had to start my academic career; working full-time in a low-wage job in a supermarket, paying rent, buying the necessities like food, and gas for my POS car, foregoing non-essentials, until I was finally in a place where I can truly afford them. Because of that sacrifice back then, I significantly raised my standard of living from what it was to a point that I could afford my kid’s tuition to a State university for undergrad (grad was on them). My success allowed my kid’s success. Is such behavior beneath you? Did you voluntarily assume such crushing debt? Did you not understand basic finance and the effects of compound interest? I sure did. College “tuition assistance officers” often just phone it in when it comes to financial planning for education. They should be steering potential students away from market rate private educational loans. However, you do realize why such loans are at such high rates, correct? Finally, face it; college is not for everyone, no matter their stated “wish”. Some students simply cannot prioritize their education above all else, despite it being their A1A job, fall behind, unnecessarily extend their stay, drop out, and get stuck with high debt and a low paying jobs. Do you not acknowledge that fact either?


Here are a few more references for you mrsniper:

How to Pay for College Without Student Loans


The Debt-Free Degree

Published on October 28, 2020 by Best Colleges

How to Pay for College without Student Loan Debt

By Mark Kantrowitz April 1, 2020

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