ANNAPOLIS — House of Delegate members Robin Grammer, Bob Long and Ric Metzgar, R-6th, have all independently announced that the 2019-2020 scholarship application process has opened.

Eligibility for the Maryland State Higher Education Commission has an established minimum criteria for the House of Delegates Scholarship Program, which includes currently attending a Maryland college, university or private career school. Alternatively, a student must have been accepted into a Maryland college, university or private career school for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I am happy to announce that my office has opened the scholarship application process for the 2019-2020 school year,” he said.

To be eligible, students must also be enrolled as a full-time or part-time undergraduate student, with at least six credit hours per semester. Graduate student applicants must also be part- or full-time, and signed up for at least six credit hours per semester. Audited or no-credit courses do not count towards minimum credit hours. Applicants must also fill out a federal aid (FAFSA) form.

Long’s specific scholarship also requires a minimum unweighted grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Scholarships to out-of-state colleges will not be offered from Long’s office, unless the program the student is pursuing is not offered in Maryland. The delegate’s office reports the formation of a scholarship committee “comprised of local educators, business owners and parents.”

This year’s scholarship program opens just days after Governor Larry Hogan’s Friday announcement that the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) has awarded $9 million in tax credits to nearly 9,500 Maryland residents with student loan debt.

Nationally, student loans exceed $1.48 trillion and Maryland’s average is $27,455 per graduate.

”Student loan debt is a daunting and overwhelming burden for thousands of Marylanders,” Hogan said Friday. “These tax credits will help ensure access and success for students committed to furthering their education while bolstering our economy.”

Both Hogan and the General Assembly have called education a top legislative priority, with accessibility and affordability at the forefront of many policy discussions.

Approximately 9,500 students were eligible for the student loan tax credits, which were divided into in-state and out-of-state student factions. In-state students numbered 5,232 and will each receive $1,000 in tax credits. Marylanders attending college out-of-state numbered 4,263 and will receive $883 in tax credits.

Last year, MHEC authorized a total of $5 million for the Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit.

Maryland Higher Education Commission Secretary James Fielder praised Hogan’s debt relief announcement, saying that “the reforms championed by the governor are providing relief to the hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who are currently burdened by student debt.”

To further address the student debt burden, Governor Hogan also introduced the Student Debt Relief Act of 2019, which will allow Marylanders to deduct the entirety of the interest paid on their student loans from their state income tax. Other parts of the bill include an expansion to the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program to include four-year Maryland public institutions, as well as doubling the deduction for families participating in Maryland 529 savings plans from $2,500 to $5,000.

Students interested in the House of Delegates scholarship can find application information by emailing Grammer’s office at robin.grammer@house.state.md.us or calling us at 410.841.3298. Metzgar’s scholarship applications are available by e-mailing ric.metzgar@house.state.md.us.

“Graduating high school seniors who are residents of the Sixth Legislative District and plan to attend a college or university within the state of Maryland are encouraged to apply for consideration,” said Metzgar’s office. “Once a senior submits an application, it will be reviewed by a scholarship committee, and the deserving students will then be notified of acceptance.”

The deadline for submitting an application for Grammer’s scholarship is Monday, April 15. Applications for Metzgar’s legislative scholarship must be postmarked by March 15. The deadline for Long’s scholarship is Friday, March 31.

The Scholarship Committee takes into consideration academics, extracurricular activities, community involvement and those who are first generation college students.

“Our office has helped hundreds of students achieve their academic goals,” said Grammer. “If you can submit the required paperwork, I will do my best to help you achieve your goals as well.”