Deadline Approaches For Maryland Student to Apply For State Debt Relief
SALISBURY, MD- Time is running out for college students looking to get relief for their college loan debt this year.
The Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit Program deadline of September 15 is just under two weeks away, and Comptroller Peter Franchot and Maryland College Officials are urging students to take advantage of the program that would wipe away up to 5,000 dollars of debt for Maryland college students and graduates with over 20,000 dollars in loans towards in-state tuition.
“They’re faced with something that is depressing it strikes them as just an impossible task this is what we are trying to create an exit out for them,” said Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.
Franchot believes this program can act as that exit, and help students not only pay off more of the loans, but by design, the tax credit is only applicable towards the principle of the loan, allowing the student to pay the total amount due, quicker.
Salisbury Administrators say students may not be aware of these programs, or those who don’t fall under in-state tuition, believe they may not get enough back to make it worth applying, but they believe that would be a mistake.
They say they are committed to making sure those who want to attend, currently attended and even alumni receive every piece of financial aid they can, including this program.
“These smaller amounts, they might seem small in the grand picture but they add up and I think working with your financial aid office is really essential to make sure you take advantage of every opportunity offered to you,” said Salisbury University Assitance Vice President for Enrollment Management.
Kohler told 47ABC, he was a first-generation student himself and understands how daunting it can be to pay back loans.
He says this aid can help to be part of a greater picture of financial aid for students entering the university, and for their success long after they leave, which according to Comptroller Franchot is an even bigger focus of the program.
“These relatively small amounts of student debt are a huge problem for young adults in our state,” he said.
Mark Welsh of TGM Accounting Group in Salisbury told 47ABC, that while the payments are important, in his experience students often only qualify at most 1,500 dollars from the cap of 5,000; far from enough in his view.
“To be clear any amount of money is a big factor for the debt that you have versus your income and I don’t want to minimize it but [students] need more help,” he said.
Welsh believes that debt is not inherently bad, but if a student is saddled with 30 years’ worth, that robs them of the ability to take on other necessary debt in the future such as homeownership, car leases, or capital for investments towards small businesses.
Welsh believes there needs to be an expansion of the program so that more students can take advantage, and points that under its current form, payments won’t make their way to students until at least February, but the interest pause on student loan debt is set to end in January, leaving at least on monthly payment open to students who are able to take advantage of the extra cash.
Franchot believes the program can be expanded on the state level to cover up to 30,000 dollars of debt for individuals over a 5 year period, he says it can be used to entice young professionals to come work, live, and settle down in Maryland with the promise of their employment helping them to become debt-free.