Tuition increases next fall at Maryland's public colleges and universities would be capped at 2 percent, and student loan interest would become fully deductible on many people's state tax returns under proposals Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.
Hogan said the proposals, if approved by the General Assembly in the session starting Wednesday, will provide relief from crippling debt and help make a college degree affordable.
He noted that nearly 60 percent of Maryland college students graduate with debt averaging more than $27,000.
"This financial burden is preventing many young Marylanders from achieving early financial security," including home ownership and retirement savings, the Republican governor told a news conference at the University of Maryland in College Park.
He said he's budgeting $17.5 million to enable the state's 14 colleges and universities to cap tuition increases at 2 percent for the second straight year. The schools would otherwise have to raise tuition by up to 5 percent, Hogan said.
Tuition at the flagship College Park campus this school year is $10,181.
Hogan also proposed allowing Marylanders earning less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000 to deduct all their student loan interest on their state income tax returns starting in 2018.
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Currently, Marylanders earning less than $80,000 can deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest. Hogan said his proposal would save Marylanders $20 million a year.
College Park senior Brandon Enriquez, a student member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, applauded the proposals. He said the prospect of high debt compels some students to choose majors based on earning potential rather than their passions.
Katherine Swanson, the student government president at College Park, said the proposals sound good but lack details.
"We're going to have to wait and see what is actually introduced in the session," she said.