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“College in Maryland is free now?” Not quite. But the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is a great way to attend a Maryland community college without taking loans.

If you’re eligible, you only have to do two things to apply:

  1. Submit the FAFSA (or MSFAA) by March 1, 2020 and list AACC or your local Maryland community college on the FAFSA/MSFAA.
  2. Respond to follow-up requests for additional information from MHEC.

About the Award

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program will be available for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Promise Scholarship provides up to $5,000 in tuition assistance to help eligible students attend one of Maryland’s 16 public community colleges. As a “last dollar” scholarship, it covers any remaining tuition and mandatory fees after other grants and scholarships are applied.

Recipients must complete their program and work full-time and pay Maryland income tax for one year for each year they received the Maryland Promise. If recipients fail to meet these requirements, the funds convert to a low-interest student loan.

Initial awards are prioritized by the greatest financial need, but renewal awards will be prioritized over all others.

More information is available from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.


Eligibility Criteria

You’re eligible for the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program if you:

  • Graduated from high school or successfully completed a GED in Maryland less than two years ago
  • Earned an overall high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.3 or the equivalent
  • Are eligible for in-state tuition, as determined by the community college
  • Are enrolled in a public community college and are seeking an associate degree, approved certificate or registered apprenticeship.
  • Complete at least 12 credits per semester at the community college
  • Have not been awarded another educational grant or scholarship that covers your full cost of attendance at the community college
  • Have an annual adjusted gross income of not more than:
    • ​​​​​$100,000 if you’re single or reside in a single-parent household
      – or -
    • $150,000 if you’re married or reside in a two-parent household
  • ​Have not already earned a bachelor’s or associate degree

Service Obligations Requirements

If you receive the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program, you must sign an agreement to work full-time and pay Maryland income taxes for each year that you received Maryland Promise funds.

Unless deferred for circumstances such as transfer to a four-year institution, disability or military service, the service obligation begins within one year of earning your certificate or associate degree.

If you fail to fulfill the service obligation, the award will convert into a low-interest student loan.


How to Apply

You must:

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov by March 1 and list a Maryland Community College on the application.
    • For any applicant who is ineligible to receive federal aid but is eligible for in-state tuition, submit the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) online through MDCAPS by March 1 and list a Maryland Community College on the application.
  • Check your email after the March 1 deadline. Eligible students will be notified by email of the required documentation to submit for further consideration of the Promise Scholarship. You can also login to your MDCAPS and check your "To Do List" for a complete listing of all required documentation.
  • Submit all required documentation by the stated deadline to MHEC.

Renewing an Award

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is renewable for up to two consecutive years. Renewal awards will be prioritized over others.

You will need to submit the FAFSA or alternative application and the MHEC application by the deadlines each year you wish to receive the scholarship.

You remain qualified by:

  • Remaining eligible for in-state tuition
  • Completing at least 12 credits per semester
  • Maintaining a cumulative college GPA of at least 2.5
  • Making satisfactory academic progress toward a certificate or associate degree
  • Meeting the income requirements

IMPORTANT: The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. Please visit the MHEC website for updates regarding regulations and deadlines.

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