Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship
NEW: Maryland’s Promise program requirements were recently revised and are currently being finalized. There were two key changes of interest to students and families made to the Promise program during spring 2020.
- Promise recipients are no longer required to work full-time and pay Maryland income taxes after completing their college program. This obligation will be waived for students who had previously committed to it. (This former requirement, called the “service requirement” or “service obligation” used to require Promise recipients to commit to working full-time and paying MD state income taxes for a specified time period.)
- Eligibility is no longer limited to students who graduated from high school or completed their GED less than 2 years before applying. (Applicants must still meet all other eligibility criteria.)
Applicants who listed a four-year institution on their FAFSA or MSFAA, and now plan to attend a community college, may change their school of choice prior to the deadline of June 30, 2021.
While some have called this “free” college, that’s not an accurate phrase. The basic elements are outlined below, and more detailed information will become available as the Maryland Higher Education Commission continues to update state regulations.
The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is a “last-dollar scholarship” that is available to students who enroll at a Maryland community college and now has NO SERVICE OBLIGATION REQUIREMENT OR AGE REQUIREMENTS. Eligible students can receive up to $5,000 to cover any remaining tuition and mandatory fee expenses after Federal or State financial aid has been applied.
Who May Apply?
A Maryland high school graduate or GED recipient who is planning to enroll, or is currently enrolled at a Maryland community college as a candidate in:
- a credit-bearing vocational certificate;
- a credit-bearing certificate;
- an associate degree program;
- a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification; or
- a registered apprenticeship program
Applicants must be eligible for in-state tuition, as determined by the community college in accordance with Title 15 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
High school applicants must have earned an unweighted cumulative GPA of at least a 2.3 (or its equivalent):
- at the end of the first semester of their senior year in high school; or
- at the end of their senior year in high school
Applicants currently or previously enrolled at a community college must have earned either:
- a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.5 from the community college; or
- a high school unweighted cumulative GPA of at least a 2.3 or its equivalent at the end of the first semester or end of their senior year in high school
(Applicants should submit an official or unofficial high school OR community college transcript.)
Applicants whose annual adjusted gross income was not more than:
- $100,000 if the applicant is single or resides in a single-parent household; or
- $150,000 if the applicant is married or resides in a two-parent household for the 2019 tax year as defined by MHEC
Applicants who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree; and
Applicants who have not been awarded other educational grants or scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance at community colleges.
- Submit a completed 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online or the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) online through MDCAPS for any applicant who is ineligible to receive federal aid but is eligible for in-state tuition by March 1.
- Applicants who meet the income requirements as reported on their FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1 will be notified by email of the required documentation to submit for the Scholarship. Applicants should log in to their MDCAPS account and review their “To Do List” section for a complete listing of all required documentation that must be submitted to MHEC by June 30, 2021 at email@example.com. (Late submissions will not be accepted.)
All eligible applicants must attend the community college located in their county, or in the case of a regional community college, the region in which they live. However, if the community college located where the student lives does not offer the degree or program in which they enrolled, the student may attend any other Maryland community college that offers that program.
Applicants who plan to enroll as candidates in credit-bearing vocational certificates, credit-bearing certificates, or associate degrees must enroll in and complete at least 12 credits per semester at a community college.
Applicants who plan to enroll in a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that lead to licensure or certification must enroll in the next available courses offered at the community college for their sequence.
Applicants who listed a four-year institution on their FAFSA or MSFAA, and now plan to attend a community college, may change their school of choice in one of the following ways prior to the deadline of June 30, 2021:
Go to the student’s Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) account and click on the “Enrollment” tab; or
Go to the student’s completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or completed Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) to add the new college.
How to Renew Your Scholarship
- Students must complete 2020-2021 FAFSA application by March 1, 2020, and include the Carroll Community College school code (031007).
- Students must submit all documentation, if required, to MHEC by July 31, 2020.
- Students must complete the FAFSA annually and may hold the award for three years after enrolling, with priority given to recipients who remain eligible.
- Students must be enrolled continuously and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
- If you have specific questions about the Promise Scholarship, please email the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have specific questions about the Promise Scholarship, please e-mail the financial aid office at email@example.com