Howard County Times

Howard County to offer schoolteachers help repaying student loans

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The Howard County Council unanimously passed legislation Monday designed to help public schoolteachers repay their student loan debt.

The Student Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Teachers will provide $1.5 million or $300,000 per year for the next five years for student loan repayments, County Executive Calvin Ball said Tuesday.


The program is the first student loan repayment program in the state according to a county news release.

“As we approach annual Maryland Educator Appreciation Day next week, it’s the perfect time to not only celebrate all that our educators do for us and our students, but to also acknowledge their sacrifices,” Ball said during a Tuesday news conference. “Our educators deserve our respect and should not only be valued but feel valued.”


About 45% of educators have taken out a student loan to fund their education, with the average total amount standing at $55,800, according to a 2021 report by the National Education Association. Fourteen percent of educators with unpaid student loan debt have a current balance of $105,000 or higher, according to the report.

The specific award amount will be determined after a collaborative effort between the Board of Education, county government and the Howard County Educators Association, according to the release.

Colleen Morris, HCEA president, said the new legislation will help attract new teachers to the school system.

“Twenty percent of HCPSS staff did not come back after the pandemic and we continue to have unfilled positions,” she said. “This student loan program is just one of many incentives that we need to entice new graduates to come to Howard County and we thank both the delegation for enabling the legislation and Dr. Ball for enacting it.”

Full-time teachers with a minimum of five years of service within the school system will be eligible for the program.

Additional qualifications for teachers include a degree from an accredited college, board certification and no defaults on existing loans.