Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant

Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant

Priority awarding for 2017-2018 is complete! Please check your MD CAPS account for updates.


The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students and parents to transfer tax information directly to the FAFSA, will be unavailable for an extended period of time, based on a recent announcement made from the U.S. Department of Education.

In the meantime, students who have a requirement listed under the “To Do List” of their MDCAPS account  for a parent, student, and/or spouse tax return transcript, may now submit a signed copy of the 2015 (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) Tax Return for each individual as applicable in lieu of the tax return transcript.   

If a student has a requirement listed under the “To Do List” of their MDCAPS account for a parent, student, and/or spouse “IRS Non-Tax Filer Statement,” they may now submit a notarized letter (from the individual associated with this requirement) which certifies that they, their parent(s), or spouse as applicable have not filed and is not required to file a 2015 income tax return.  This notarized letter may be submitted in lieu of submitting the “IRS Non-Tax Filer Statement.”

The process to be considered for the 2017-2018 Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant has changed. Students are no longer required to complete an application through MDCAPS!

Below are the steps required for consideration of the 2017-2018 GA grant:

  1. Submit the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by visiting

    *The 2017-2018 FAFSA will be available as early as October 1, 2016.  To minimize errors and expedite the FAFSA process, students and parents are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA.  

    *Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1, 2017.

  2. Students who meet the eligibility requirements for the GA program based on the FAFSA information provided will be notified and must submit additional documentation required for final consideration of the GA grant.

    *Students are encouraged to create an account through MDCAPS at  where they will find a listing of all documents required if notified.

  3. Students who have submitted all required documents and are eligible to receive the GA grant will be awarded in mid-March of 2017.

    *Awardees must accept the GA grant using MDCAPS within two weeks to prevent cancellation of their award.

Additional Information​

Who may apply: Current high school seniors who will complete a college preparatory program or a student who graduated prior to the current academic year who provides written documentation explaining why they were unable to attend college within one (1) year of graduating from high school.

How to apply:  Complete the FAFSA and students who appear to qualify for the GA grant will be notified of additional documentation required (see above steps required for consideration of the 2017-2018 GA grant)

When to apply: *For priority consideration students must complete the FAFSA by March 1.

Students who have submitted all required documents and are eligible to receive the GA grant will be awarded in April. 

Students must submit a FAFSA for consideration of GA no later than April 1, 2017. Students who have submitted a FAFSA after April 1st will not be considered for the GA award.  

Initial GA applicants for the 2017-2018 academic year have until July 1, 2017 to submit all requested documentation to MHEC. Renewal GA students who are required to turn in documentation for final consideration of the renewal GA award for 2017-2018 have until August 31, 2017 to submit all required documentation to MHEC.  

Documentation for consideration of the 2017-2018 GA grant will not be accepted beyond the aforementioned dates.

​Eligible majors: All majors are eligible.

Eligibility Requirements

You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) must be Maryland residents. You must enroll at a two-year or four-year Maryland college or university as a full-time (12+ credits per semester; audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit hours required for full-time status), degree-seeking, undergraduate student, and you must demonstrate financial need. All applicants must have a minimum, unweighted cumulative 2.5 high school grade point average (GPA) and meet the following income requirements:

2017-2018 Guaranteed Access Grant Family Income Requirements:

1 15,301 17,655
2 20,709 23,895
3 26,117 30,135
4 31,525 36,375
5 36,933 42,615
6 42,341 48,855
7 47,749 55,095
8 53,157 61,335
Each additional person add 5,408 6,240

*Special Announcement*

Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP)

The Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP) provides a matching grant award to eligible Maryland students who receive a Guaranteed Access (GA) grant and who enroll at a participating Maryland independent college or university as a new undergraduate student starting in the 2016-17 academic year. 

The Maryland institutions that are participating include: Capitol Technology University, Goucher College, Hood College, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Institute College of Art, McDaniel College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Stevenson University, St. John’s College, Washington Adventist University, and Washington College.

You are eligible for a GAPP award if you receive a GA grant, complete the financial aid application process as required by the participating institution, and demonstrate eligibility for institutional need-based assistance. 

The award amounts for the GA grant and matching GAPP grant are determined by your financial need and your chosen institution’s cost of attendance. An eligible student may receive a GAPP grant equal to the GA grant award up to the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. 

For more information about the GAPP program, please contact your institution’s financial aid office so that they may assist you in completing the process. ​

Financial Need

A GA Grant is determined by financial need. Your need for a GA Grant is determined using the following formula:

                                OSFA College Cost of Attendance
                             -  EFC + or - Regional Cost of Living Adjustment 
                             -  Certain State scholarship awards (if awarded)
                             -  Federal Pell Grant (if eligible)
                             = Financial Need

Award Amount

2017-2018 Maximum Award is $18,400​.

The amount of a GA Grant equals 100 percent of the student's financial need.  You may hold the GA Grant with all State awards, except the Educational Assistance Grant and the Part-Time Grant. The total dollar amount of all State awards may not exceed your cost of attendance, as determined by your school’s financial aid office or $19,000, whichever is less.

Funds may not be available to award all eligible students.

Renewing An Award

To renew an award, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress at the college you are attending. Students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA no later than March 1 each year. Eligible students who submit the FAFSA after March 1 will be considered as long as funds remain available. You must also continue to demonstrate financial need. You may receive a GA Grant for a total of four years of full-time, degree-seeking, undergraduate study.


Conditions of Award for New Awardees 2017-2018 (PDF)

Conditions of Award for Renewal Awardees 2017-2018 (PDF)

GA Counselor Certification Form 2017-2018 (PDF)​

Return to Program Description Page​​​​​​​