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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. Fill out the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) application and submit the FAFSA (or alternative application) by the established deadlines.

About the Award

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program will be available for the 2019-2020 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.

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 a credit certificate or associate degree
  • 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 for the most recent tax year as defined by MHEC 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

How to Apply

You must:

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at or a separate state alternate application provided by MHEC if you are ineligible to receive federal aid but eligible for in-state tuition. Submit the FAFSA or alternate application by March 1.
  • Apply with MHEC by the established date.
    Learn more about the MHEC application process and deadlines.

Renewing an Award

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is renewable for up to two years. 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.

Service Obligations Requirements

If you receive the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program, you must sign an agreement to work full-time in Maryland within one year after earning the certificate or associate degree.

If you receive the award for more than one year, you must work full-time in Maryland for each year you received the award.  If you fail to fulfill the service obligation, the award will convert into a loan payable to the State.