Refinancing 24 March 2023

7 Best Maryland Student Loan Forgiveness Programs of this Month

Residents of Maryland can take advantage of the various student loan forgiveness programs available at their disposal. Read on to find out which one is right for you.

Maryland loan forgiveness programs

Paying off your student loan can be constricting and financially challenging since you commit yourself to more than 10 years of loan payments, all aimed at clearing your debt. Student loan forgiveness programs can come to the rescue, giving you the opportunity to have your student loan canceled, forgiven, or discharged. Having said that, student loan forgiveness in general does not come easy as there are a number of factors that need to be considered. In this guide, you will learn more about the programs offering student loan forgiveness in Maryland and the eligibility requirements involved with each. 

Maryland Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

The state of Maryland has student loan forgiveness programs dedicated to residents of its state as well as those who choose to pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies within the state. The student loan forgiveness programs are tailored to borrowers residing in the state pursuing in-demand and service-based professional careers. Consider any of the following options available and see which one is best for you.

#1 Maryland Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: maximum of $5000

Administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland Student Loan Debt Relief Tax is dedicated to the taxpayers of the state. The student loan borrowers need to have incurred at least $20,000 in student debt and have a current minimum balance of $5,000. In the event that you receive this tax credit award, the amount given needs to have been paid to your student loan balance within two years of receiving the award.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a taxpayer residing in Maryland 
  • Be a graduate from a higher learning institution in Maryland
  • You should not have received a tax credit for the previous year

How to Apply

  • Fill in an online application
  • Attach supporting documents which include proof of payment to your loan servicer
  • Fill in the student loan information
  • Fill in the income information
  • Fill in the tax credit information
  • Sign and submit

#2 Maryland State Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: Up to $100,000 each year for a two-year service obligation

The Maryland State Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals recruits health professionals to work and serve underrepresented communities and marginalized areas in Maryland. Up to $100,000 per year for a two-year service obligation is forgiven for physicians, physician assistants, and medical residents within their final year of residency. This program uses mixed funding, so eligibility may defer.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have an existing student debt that is not in default
  • Have a clean record;  no court order violations, child support violations, or delinquency in your records
  • Practice as a full-time primary care physician or physician assistant
  • Practice at a public or nonprofit medical institution in Maryland
  • Be serving in a health professional shortage area/ medically underserved area.

How to Apply

  • Complete and fill out an online application form from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH)
  • Attach the necessary supporting documents
  • Sign and submit

#3 Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: Up to $30,000 over a period of three years

The Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program is dedicated to Maryland residents providing public service in the state. This program has varying award amounts that range up to $30,000 distributed over three years. Applicants need to serve in local government or a nonprofit organization in Maryland and the eligible professions include nurses, social workers, lawyers, teachers, speech pathologists, and licensed clinical counselors.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have earned a degree from a college in Maryland
  • A graduate of a law school in Maryland
  • Must have acquired a resident teacher certificate from the Maryland State Department of Education
  • Have an annual gross income of below $ 75,000 for single borrowers and $ 150,00 for married borrowers
  • Employed full time

How to Apply

  • Create an account (student log-in) through Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS)
  • Fill in the application form
  • Attach relevant documents and submit

#4 John R. Justice Grant Student Loan Repayment Program

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: Varies

The John R. Justice Grant Student Loan Repayment Program is a forgiveness program available to public defenders and prosecutors. The award is based on the recipient’s ability to a) meet their monthly loan repayments and b) commit to a three-year service commitment. Funding is limited and varies, as each appellate court district is assigned a certain fixed amount for its prosecutors and public defenders.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have an outstanding loan balance on a qualifying federal student loan
  • Be licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland
  • Be employed on a full-time basis by the state of Maryland or local government and serve as a prosecutor or defender
  • Should not be in default of any federal loan, scholarship, or grant program

How to Apply

  • Fill in a John R. Justice Grant application form
  • Attach supporting documents- proof of loans and sign the various agreements
  • Fill in and attach an employer certification form
  • Submit the application

#5 Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program (MDC-LARP)

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit:  maximum of $23,740 for each year of obligated service, up to a maximum of 3 years of service.

This repayment program is offered to Maryland dentists who are state residents, working full-time, and who care for Maryland’s most vulnerable populations. This is a renewable amount and you can renew it for up to two years.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a practicing dentist in Maryland
  • Graduated from an accredited US dental school
  • Have a valid unrestricted license to practice in the state
  • Working full-time
  • Have at least 30 percent of their patient population are Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMAP) recipients
  • Currently paying off outstanding student loan debt
  • Is NOT in default on a loan and does not have an incomplete service obligation

How to Apply

  • Complete and submit an MDC-LARP application online available through the Maryland Department of Health (MDH)

#6 Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Foster Care Recipients

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: 10% of the total debt or $5000

The Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Foster Care Recipients’ purpose is to assist in loan forgiveness of former foster care recipients employed by the state, county, or municipality government. Foster care recipients receive amounts of up to 10% of their total student debt, or $5,000 canceled on their student loan. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a higher learning education institution in Maryland
  • Must have been in foster care for over 3 years in any state in the U.S
  • Have federal student loans to support an undergraduate or graduate program
  • Work for a state or local government agency in Maryland
  • Agree to continue working in a qualifying position for at least one year after receiving the loan repayment award.

How to Apply

  • Fill in an online application
  • Attach all the required documentation such as employment verification form, proof of foster care, lender verification form 
  • Complete and submit the application

#7 Maryland SmartBuy 3.0 Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Loan Forgiveness Amount Limit: Minimum of $1000. Not more than 15% of the home purchase price and not beyond $50,000 maximum

This unique student loan forgiveness program in Maryland gives student loan borrowers an opportunity to purchase a home in Maryland while they are paying off their student debt. The student debt needs to be at least $1000 and upon purchasing a property, the state will contribute 15% of the home’s purchase price towards your debt.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have an existing student debt of a minimum of $1,000
  • Must meet all eligibility requirements of the Maryland Mortgage program which are as follows:
    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Have a valid social security number
    • Buyers’ total “Household Income” needs to be at or under certain limits, (limits vary by location and household size​​​​​)
    • Buyers’ liquid assets must be below 20% of the purchase price

How to Apply

  • Complete homebuyer education prior to approval
  • Find a lender and get lender pre-approval
  • Find a realtor
  • Submit an offer once you have found your house
  • Apply for the house loan and wait for approval
  • Sign the contract to get the house loan and 15% of the purchase price to pay off your student loan debt

Federal Loan Forgiveness programs

Whether you are furthering your studies in Maryland or elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Education presents various forgiveness programs that you may be eligible for. These forgiveness programs are only available to borrowers with federal student loans. Private student loans do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness. Consider the following programs as a means of accessing student loan forgiveness.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is for borrowers employed by the government or not-for-profit organizations. The program forgives the balance on your student loan after you have made 120 (continuous and regular) qualifying payments. To receive forgiveness, you must be enrolled under a qualifying repayment plan and be employed by a qualifying employer. Borrowers with loans received through the federal Direct Loan Program receive loan forgiveness under PSLF. Other federal loan programs, such as Federal Family Education Loan Program and Federal Perkins loans, must be consolidated to remain eligible for loan forgiveness through the PSLF program.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan

The Income-Driven Repayment Plan (IDR) adjusts monthly student loan payments based on your income and family size. There are four income-driven plans: Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, Income-Based Repayment Plan, and the Income Contingent Repayment Plan. With these programs, a percentage of your discretionary income is set aside to pay off your debt and the repayment period is generally 20–25 years. After making 10 years of qualifying payments, your loan is then forgiven. For those with loan balances, after the loan term is over, the remaining balance is only forgiven at the end of the repayment period.

How to Make Loans More Manageable in Case You Can't Get Loan Forgiveness?

If you are unable to qualify for student loan forgiveness in Maryland, the following ways can help make your existing loan easier to pay off.

Refinancing Student Loans

Refinancing refers to paying off your existing student loan with a new private loan.  You can select the refinancing company that offers a lower interest rate and better repayment terms. A lower interest rate on the new loan will reduce the total cost of your loan and bring down monthly payments too. On the other hand, if you are able to extend the repayment term, it can help reduce your monthly payments making them easier to pay off.

You can compare multiple lenders to get the best rates and terms possible. Following are some of the best refinancing companies you can compare and choose from.

LenderScholarooratingOur viewFixed ratesstarting (APR)Variable ratesstarting (APR)Learn more

Laurel Road

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4.9/5Best for Low Interest Rates with Discounts4.99%4.74%Visit website

College Ave

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4.9/5Best for Flexible Repayment Options5.99%5.99%Visit website


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4.8/5Best for Refinancing Parent Plus Loans4.99%5.99%Visit website


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4.7/5Best for Refinancing without Cosigner4.96%5.32%Visit website


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4.5/5Best for Mid-Income Earners4.49%5.02%Visit website

ISL Education Lending

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4.5/5Best for In-School Refinancing6.50%N/AVisit website

Federal Loan Consolidation

Student loan consolidation is similar to refinancing. With refinancing, you can refinance both private and federal student loans, but you can only consolidate federal loans. Direct consolidation gets you a new repayment term between 10 to 30 years at a fixed interest rate.


There are many options for scholarships available with which you can pay off a part of your loan. While the money you get from scholarships may not be enough to cover the total cost of a loan, it can help reduce the burden a little and make things easier.

Scholarships usually require a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, and recommendations. Many scholarships also require an essay which they use to pick the winners. There are essay-free scholarships but they are highly competitive and harder to get.

Side Jobs

Side jobs are jobs that can be done alongside your full-time job or study. They can help generate some extra cash to pay off the monthly loan installments. You do not even have to go out for many of these jobs as they can be easily done online from home. You can allocate a few hours on the weekend or fit them around your working hours during the week. Such jobs are usually quite flexible and, therefore, easy to do along with a full-time commitment.


Here are some frequently asked questions.

Does Maryland tax students loan forgiveness?

No, the state of Maryland does not tax student loan forgiveness. Maryland does not treat student loan relief as taxable income. The American Rescue Plan Act (temporarily) does not tax loan forgives and the state of Maryland, therefore, excludes debt forgiveness from the state’s income tax bases.

How can I get my loans forgiven for free?

You can get your loan forgiven for free by applying to the various federal and state-specific forgiveness programs. But before that, you must ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria as different programs have different qualifying factors.

How do I qualify for loan forgiveness?

You qualify for loan forgiveness by having a federal student loan that is not in default, working full-time for a qualifying employer, making 120 qualifying payments towards your student loan, and working in the public service for the government, local state, or a non-profit organization.

Final Thoughts

Loan forgiveness programs are dedicated to students who are pursuing or have graduated in in-demand careers and service-based vocations that aim at serving the public. States such as Maryland and the federal government offer these programs to borrowers as a way to help ease the burden of loan payment amidst situations such as unemployment, low-paying jobs, and other economic hardships. It’s important to note that loan forgiveness does not come easy, so it’s imperative that you commit to the requirements to maintain your eligibility. Having your student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged is a relief that most borrowers with federal loans yearn for – so make sure that you place yourself in the best possible position to reap the benefits thereof.