Maryland Student Loans: Debt Stats, Repayment Programs and Refinancing Loans

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Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.

Checking your rates won’t affect your score.

Check out Laurel Road

The average student loan balance for Maryland residents is $39,505, which is 8% higher than the national average of $36,689. The state has the second-highest average balance in the country, with only the District of Columbia outpacing it.

Maryland does have an extensive list of grants and scholarships to reduce the need for student loans, and it also has multiple student loan repayment programs to help existing borrowers.

Here’s what you need to know about your Maryland student loans.

Maryland student loans: Borrowers owe average of $39,505 in federal, private debt — and more facts

Maryland student debt overview
Average balance $39,505
Total outstanding debt $37.1 billion
Number of borrowers 0.9 million
Average total monthly payment $310
Note: Averages include federal and private student loan debt.

Opting for a public university over a private one is an excellent way to reduce your education expenses. The University of Maryland System includes 12 institutions and three regional higher education centers.

Maryland is also home to some prestigious private universities. There are more than 20 four-year, private universities within the state, including top schools like John Hopkins University and Washington College.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission operates several need-based grant and merit-based scholarship programs. Some of the awards include:

  • 2+2 Transfer Scholarship: This scholarship is designed to encourage students in community colleges to transfer to four-year, public universities. Qualifying students can receive $1,000 or $2,000 a year, depending on their major. The reward can be renewed for up to three years (or six semesters) of study.
  • Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program: Students majoring in cybersecurity subjects at either public or private universities can qualify for a scholarship to pay for tuition and room and board. In return, recipients must sign an agreement stating that they’ll work full time in Maryland for a state government unit or a public high school in the state.
  • Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant: Low-income, in-state students can qualify for this grant, valued up to $19,400. The grant can be renewed for up to three years of undergraduate study at a Maryland school.

Student loan debt in Maryland’s largest counties, from Anne Arundel to Prince George’s

Student loan debt in most populous Maryland counties
County Average student loan balance Average monthly student loan payment
Anne Arundel $38,306 $269
Baltimore $37,487 $288
Howard $37,583 $247
Montgomery $38,427 $342
Prince George’s $37,048 $304
Note: Limited to counties with a population of at least 300,000 residents; averages include federal and private student loan debt.

Student loan debt by ZIP code in Maryland’s largest city: Baltimore

Loan repayment programs for Maryland residents

While federal borrowers can qualify for loan forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Maryland residents may also qualify for one of the state’s many repayment assistance programs.

Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP)

If you live and have received your training within the state (such as a college degree, law degree or teaching certificate) and provide public service to low-income individuals through your employment with the state government, local government or a nonprofit organization, you can qualify for up to $10,000 a year in loan repayment assistance with the Janet L. Hoffman LARP.

The following professions are eligible:

  • Lawyers
  • Licensed clinical counselors
  • Nurses
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists
  • Teachers

John R. Justice Grant

The John R. Justice Grant is a federally funded program that provides loan repayment assistance to state and federal public defenders and prosecutors within the state. To qualify for the reward, public defenders and prosecutors must agree to stay employed in their roles for at least three years, and the award can only be used to repay federal student loans. The amount of the award is dependent on your income relative to your student loan balance.

There is an income limit for this grant. You can’t earn more than $60,000 a year ($130,000 if married), and have at least $40,000 in eligible student loans.

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

Maryland residents who practice dentistry and administer care to Maryland Medical Assistant Program recipients are eligible for up to $23,740 in student loan repayment assistance for each year of obligated service through the MDC-LARP. You can receive the award for a maximum of three years.

Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Foster Care Recipients

If you’re a Maryland resident and were in foster care for three years or more, you’re eligible for loan assistance up to $5,000 a year (or 10% of your total debt, whichever is less). To qualify, you must have a college or graduate degree from an educational institution in the state, and be employed by a state, local or county government agency on at least a part-time basis. The reward for the Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Foster Care Recipients is renewable for up to three years.

Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Physicians

Physicians, physician assistants and medical residents within their last year of residency are eligible for the Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Physicians. Recipients can get up to $50,000 a year in loan repayment assistance. In exchange, you must make a two-year commitment to work full time in a health professional shortage area or medically underserved area. The award is renewable, up to a maximum of $200,000.

Maryland SmartBuy

The Maryland SmartBuy program is a unique initiative that helps qualified borrowers with student loan debt become homeowners. Maryland SmartBuy financing provides up to 15% of the home purchase price or up to a maximum of $30,000 (whichever amount is lower) for the borrower to repay their student loans. The portion designated for student loan payoff is structured as a 0% interest deferred loan, and is forgivable over five years.

To qualify, you must have a 5% down payment saved for the home, have at least $1,000 in student loans, and your student loan balance can’t exceed 15% of the home’s purchase price. You must also complete homeownership counseling and live in the selected house as your primary residence.

For example, let’s say you had $30,000 in student loans and wanted to buy a $200,000 home. The SmartBuy program would require you to have a down payment of at least $10,000 — 5% of the home’s purchase price. In exchange, the state would give you up to $30,000 — 15% of the home’s price — for you to pay off your student loans.

Maryland SmartWork

With Maryland SmartWork, state employees working in designated shortage areas — including nursing, public safety, psychology and information technology — can get up to $20,000 over 10 years of service to repay their student loans or a child’s education debt.

Maryland federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — and more comparisons

How to refinance Maryland student loans

In Maryland, 10.7% of borrowers owe $100,000 or more in federal or private student loans. With such a large loan balance, high interest rates can be especially costly, and you could owe far more than you initially borrowed.

If you have high-interest debt, student loan refinancing may be a valuable solution. You can apply for a loan from a refinancing lender for the amount of your existing debt and use it to pay off the old loans. Going forward, you’ll have just one loan instead of several, and your new loan can have different repayment terms than you had before. Depending on your credit and selected repayment term, you could qualify for a lower interest rate and save money over the life of your loan.

Along with major banks and online lenders, there are some Maryland-based credit unions that also offer student loan refinancing:

  • FedChoice Federal Credit Union: With FedChoice, you can refinance your loans and pay only the interest that accrues for the first four years. After that, you’ll pay principal and interest for 11 years. Cosigner releases are available after 12 consecutive months of full payments (both principal and interest).
  • SECU: SECU allows you to refinance up to $150,000 in student loans, with loan terms as long as 15 years.

However, there are some drawbacks to refinancing, particularly if you have federal loans. Refinancing turns federal loans into private ones, and you’ll lose federal benefits like access to income-driven repayment plans and forbearance. Some private lenders offer alternative payment options if you’re dealing with financial hardship, but not all do. Check with the lender to see what options are available.

Sources

  • U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020
  • mappingstudentdebt.org

Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.88% – 6.15%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.88% – 5.64%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.88% – 5.64%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

2.50% – 6.85%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

2.25% – 6.39%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.90% – 5.25%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

1.89% – 5.90%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

2.13% – 5.25%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit PenFed

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of June 1, 2021.


2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application..

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.88% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


3 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

1. NaviRefi loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC, a member of the Navient family of companies, subject to individual approval and underwriting criteria. California residents only: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license. Additional terms and conditions apply.

– To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen permanent resident of the United States, reside in a state we lend in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.navirefi.com/help-and-questions. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Loan terms are subject to eligibility. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application. Loan approval is subject to confirmation that your debt-to-income, free cash flow, credit history and application information meet the minimum requirements. You must have a minimum FICO score to be considered.

– You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 2.75% – 6.04% APR (2.50% – 5.79% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.13% – 5.89% APR (1.88% – 5.64% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.

– You can take advantage of the 0.25% Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. NaviRefi rate ranges are current as of June 1, 2021 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

– The information provided on this page is updated as of 06/1/2021. Earnest Operations LLC reserves the right to modify or discontinue (in whole or in part) this loan program and its associated services and benefits at any time without notice. Check www.navirefi.com for the most up-to-date information. Terms and Conditions apply. Call 855-284-4893 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

– Earnest Operations LLC – NMLS #1204917, CA CFL #6054788 – 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Navient Solutions, LLC – NMLS #212430 – 123 Justison St., Wilmington, DE 19801. Visit https://navirefi.com/lending-licenses for a full list of licensed states.


4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance:1. Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.74% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.12% plus 2.38% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


7 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.