Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced new legislation that would help Howard County public school teachers repay their student loans. This is the first student loan repayment program in Maryland for the county’s teachers.

The Howard County Council unanimously passed Council Bill 14, or the Student Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Teachers, which will provide $1.5 million over five years for student loan repayments. Full-time teachers with a minimum of five years of service within the Howard County Public 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.

“Educators support our community and bring us together, yet more and more future educators are pushed out of the workforce before they ever enter a classroom,” said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Rigby. “In Howard County, we’re supporting educators with increases in their take home pay and by establishing this loan repayment program. This program will help us retain a workforce that is vital to our community’s success.”

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

“Educational loans can be a significant financial burden for many to entering and staying in the teaching profession,” said HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano. “The Student Loan Assistance Repayment Program is a wonderful collaboration that explores opportunities ‘outside the box’ to retain our phenomenal teaching staff. I am grateful to the Howard County Delegation for passing the legislation needed for this opportunity, and to the county executive and County Council members who supported the establishment of this program and who are committed to funding this program for years to come.”