Refinancing with Laurel Road
Refinancing rates from 1.89% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
As a student in Maryland, your college education might come at a hefty price. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 55% of Maryland students graduated with debt in 2018, and the average amount of Maryland student loans was $29,178.
While you want to avoid borrowing too much money, a reasonable amount of student loans could be a way to cover college costs.
To help you navigate the process, we’ve put together all your best options for Maryland student loans, whether you’re looking to borrow one or you need to deal with the loans you already have. This can be broken down into three categories:
- Maryland student loan options
- Maryland student loan forgiveness programs
- Consolidating and refinancing Maryland student loans
Once you’ve completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are accepted into a school, you’ll learn how much money you’ll receive in federal grants, scholarships and loans.
For extra help, browse state-specific grants and scholarships for Maryland students. Some might require extra forms for you to be eligible, though.
The financial aid award letter you receive will detail your Expected Family Contribution. To determine how much money you’ll need to borrow, you have to know much aid you’ll receive.
Once you have an idea on whether you need loans (and if so, how much), you’ll have two main options: federal and private. Here’s a rundown on each:
Federal student loans
Your award letter also will tell you how much money you’re able to receive from loans. For Maryland students, there are a few student loan options for you:
- Direct subsidized loans: These loans are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The government covers the cost of interest while you’re in school.
- Direct unsubsidized loans: These loans are available to students regardless of need. The interest starts accruing as soon as the loan is taken out.
- Direct PLUS loans: These loans are available to parents who want to help cover costs for their college-enrolled child, as well as to graduate students who are paying for advanced degrees.
Interest rates on federal loans are typically lower than for private student loans. Also, federal loans give you more flexibility in paying back your loans after school, including through income-driven repayment plans.
Private student loans
If you’re still coming up short on college funds, you can tap into private student loans.
Private student loans are more stringent than federal loans. They aren’t based on need, so other factors determine your eligibility.
Private lenders, such as banks and credit unions, check your credit when you apply for a loan. If you have poor credit, your interest rate could be higher than with a federal student loan. Since most undergraduate students can’t meet requirements on their own, they apply with a cosigner, such as a parent.
Private loans don’t have the same flexibility as federal loans. Income-driven repayment plans are available only through federal loan programs. And if you want to explore your private student loan refinancing options, you’ll have to work with a private lender.
Keep all this in mind when you apply. If you decide a private student loan is right for you, make sure to shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders, such as online lenders or credit unions. That way, you can find a private student loan with the lowest costs of borrowing.
After graduation, you may get the chance to have your loans forgiven if you meet certain criteria. Besides federal student loan forgiveness plans, there are a few different programs just for Maryland students:
- Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP)
- Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program (MDC-LARP)
- Nancy Grasmick Teacher Award
- Maryland SmartBuy
To qualify for this program, you need to be a resident who provides public service to low-income or underserved residents in state or local government, or at a nonprofit agency in Maryland. Some eligible employment fields include lawyer, health care worker, social worker and teacher.
If you’re not in default on a loan and your gross income doesn’t exceed $60,000 a year, you might be eligible for a student loan repayment assistance award of up to $30,000.
The MDC-LARP is a student loan repayment program for dentists. You must be a Maryland resident and a graduate of a U.S. dental school who serves Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMAP) recipients (at least 30% of your patients must meet this designation). If you qualify, you could receive up to $23,740 per year for each year of obligated service up to a maximum of three years.
To be eligible to receive the Nancy Grasmick Teacher Award, you need to have taught in Maryland for the past two years and provide proof of your student loan debt, among other eligibility requirements. You must meet the Janet L. Hoffman LARP requirements to qualify. If you do, you could receive up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of three years.
To qualify for the Maryland SmartBuy homebuyer assistance and forgiveness program, you need to purchase a home owned by the state. If you have at least 5% for a down payment, the state of Maryland will provide up to 15% of the purchase price toward outstanding student loans for a maximum of $40,000.
But you must pay off all your student loans before you make your home purchase, as well as meet all the requirements for the Maryland Mortgage program.
If you’ve already graduated from college, it could be worth exploring refinancing your student loans for better rates and new terms.
Refinancing your student loans will replace multiple loans with a single loan. Depending on your credit (or your cosigner’s credit), you could qualify for a lower interest rate, which could save you a lot of money over the life of your loan.
Refinancing also gives you the opportunity to choose new repayment terms. You could choose a short term to get out of debt fast and save on interest or a longer term to lower your monthly payments.
Explore all your options when you’re planning to refinance your Maryland student loans. Consider the interest rate (is it fixed or variable?) and repayment term (is it five, 10, 15 or 20 years?) to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
And make sure you’ve weighed the pros and cons of refinancing. Even though it could save you money, refinancing federal student loans also means sacrificing federal repayment plans and protections.
If you don’t want to turn your federal loans private but still want to simplify repayment, you could look into federal student loan consolidation. Direct loan consolidation combines your federal loans into one streamlined loan for easy payment while letting you choose a new repayment plan.
Student loans don’t need to hold you back
Whether you’re exploring your options for Maryland student loans as you enter school or are looking for ways to alleviate your debt after graduation, you have ways to save on student loans.
Land as much money as you can through grants and scholarships before taking out student loans.
If you need loans, try federal student loans before you consider private options. It’s OK to get loans for school as long as you use them wisely and have a plan for paying them back after graduation.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!
|1.24% – 11.44%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|1.25% – 11.15%*,2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.24% – 11.98%3||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|1.24% – 12.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.80% – 11.89%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.71% – 12.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.52% – 9.50%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers. |
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.76% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.80% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.98% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.97% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 11.26% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. 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. Information current as of 07/10/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
6 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.