FAQs for the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship

​Q1. What is the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship?

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship provides tuition assistance for eligible students to attend one of Maryland’s public
community colleges.


Q2. Who is eligible for the Promise Scholarship?

Students who graduated from
high school on or after January 1, 2018 and/ or successfully completed a General Education Development (GED) in the State of Maryland on or before July 31 prior to the start of the Fall 2019 semester, and meet the following requirements:

  • Enroll in a Maryland public community college as a candidate in a credit-bearing vocational certificate, a credit-bearing certificate, or an associate degree program;
  • Completes at least 12 credits per semester;
  • Be eligible for in-state tuition, as determined by the community college in accordance with Education Article, Title 15, Annotated Code;
  • Have earned an unweighted cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.3 or its equivalent;
  • Had an annual adjusted gross income of 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 most recent tax year (2017) as defined by MHEC;
  • ​Has not earned a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree (or graduate degree or Ph.D.); and
  • Has not been awarded another educational grant or scholarship that covers the applicant’s full cost of attendance at the community college.


Q3. How do I remain eligible for the Promise Scholarship?

Once awarded, a student must maintain eligibility by:

  • Submitting the FAFSA or Separate Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) for students’ ineligible to receive federal aid but eligible for in-state tuition by March 1;
  • Applying annually online through their MDCAPS account by the established deadline;
  • Submitting all required documentation by the established deadline;
  • Remaining eligible for in-state tuition;
  • Completing at least 12 credits per semester at the community college;
  • Maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5;
  • Maintaining satisfactory academic progress toward a credit-bearing vocational certificate, credit-bearing certificate, or associate degree; and
  • Continuing to meet the income requirements.


Q4. How many years am I eligible to receive the Promise Scholarship?

Students can receive the scholarship for up to three years at the community college, as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for renewing the award.


Q5. If I am already enrolled at a community college can I still apply for the Promise Scholarship

Yes, as long as the student is within two years of graduating from high school or receiving a GED and meet all other eligibility requirements.


Q6. Can homeschool students apply for the Promise Scholarship?

Yes. A homeschooled student must provide documentation indicating graduation from: (1) a public high school, (2) an MSDE-approved nonpublic school, (3) a religiously exempt school, or (4) an institution or other entity supervising home-school instruction.
See http://marylandpublicschools.org/about/pages/dee/npsa/index.aspx

Alternatively, the applicant may demonstrate successful completion of a GED.


Q7. Who will verify that I meet the in-state tuition requirements? 

The community college the student is attending will confirm in-state tuition requirements and eligibility for the Promise Scholarship. For additional information regarding documentation may be required, contact the community college in which you are planning to attend directly.

Application Details

Q1. How do I apply for the Promise Scholarship?

To apply for the Promise Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year, students must:

  • ​​​Complete either the FAFSA or MSFAA application

    1. You are eligible to complete the FAFSA at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa if you are a:​
      1. ​Permanent Resident
      2. Eligible non-citizen
      3. T Visa holder​

    2. You are eligible to complete the MSFAA if you are:
      1. ​Undocumented
      2. Meet the non-resident exemption as described under §15–106.8. of the MD Education Article.

        For more information concerning how to complete the MSFAA click here (the link to the MSFAA FAQ sheet will go here). The MSFAA is available online through the MDCAPS student portal at https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us/MDCAPS/login.aspx?c=-8586543744589274723&ReturnUrl=/MDCAPS/int/FinAid/index.aspx​
Note the Promise Scholarship Application will not be available for the 2019-2020 academic year until after April 1, 2019.
 
  • After completing the FAFSA or MSFAA and Promise Scholarship Application, students may be required to submit additional documentation and therefore should check their “To Do List” online in their MDCAPS student portal.

Q2. Is there a deadline to complete the Promise Scholarship Application and submit required documentation?

Yes, applicants must apply and submit all required documentation for the Promise Scholarship by the deadline date as established by OSFA. 
Documentation received after the deadline will not be accepted.


Q3. Is there a certain passing score I must receive on the GED to apply for the Promise Scholarship? 

No, applicants are not required to have a certain passing score on the GED. Applicants are only required to have successfully completed a GED in the State to be eligible for the scholarship.


Q4. Does the Promise Scholarship consider “weighted” GPA for the high school GPA requirement?

No. The
unweighted cumulative high school GPA is used to determine qualification for the award.


Q5. If I apply for the Promise Scholarship and submit all required documentation on-time, am I guaranteed to receive the scholarship

Students who meet the eligibility requirements and apply by the deadline will be considered for the scholarship. Scholarships are contingent upon available State funding. 

Award Details

 

Q1. What is the award amount for the Promise Scholarship

The annual award amount is $5,000 per recipient, or actual tuition (after all non-loan aid is applied), whichever is less.

The minimum award amount is $200 annually ($100 per semester).


Q2. Will awards be prioritized?

Yes. Since the 2019-2020 academic year, is the initial year for the scholarship, eligible applicants will be prioritized based on greatest demonstrated need.


Q3. Does the Promise Scholarship cover all community college cost?

No. The Promise Scholarship helps pay for community college tuition (after all other non-loan aid has been applied). The Promise Scholarship does not cover other cost such as books, room, and board.


Q4. Are students’ who are dual enrolled in high school and the community college university eligible for the Promise Scholarship?

No, a dually enrolled student is ineligible for the Promise Scholarship while enrolled in high school. However, once the student graduates from high school they can apply for the scholarship.
 


Q5. How will I be notified if I received the award? 

Students will be notified by email that is indicated on their MDCAPS account if they have been awarded the Promise Scholarship. Also, students can monitor the status of their application online through their MDCAPS portal.


Q6. When will awarding occur for the 2019-2020 academic year? 

Awarding for the 2019-2020 award year will occur after September 1, 2019. Applicants should continue to monitor their MDCAPS account for updates.

 

Information for Undocumented Students

 ​

Q1. Are undocumented students eligible for the Promise Scholarship?

Yes, if they qualify for in-state tuition. Students must meet all eligibility requirements for the scholarship and qualify for in-state tuition under  §15-106.8 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, available here:  
http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=ged&section=15-106.8&ext=html&session=2019RS&tab=subject5

Undocumented students must complete the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) (instead of the FAFSA) and complete the Promise Scholarship application online through the MDCAPS portal.


Q2. Where can I find more information on the eligibility requirements for in-state tuition requirements for undocumented students?

The requirements are set forth in §15-106.8 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, available here
:  http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=ged&section=15-106.8&ext=html&session=2019RS&tab=subject5​

You should consult your institution with questions.


Q3. How do I complete the MSFAA?

You, may complete the MSFAA online through the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) at
https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us/MDCAPS/login.aspx?c=-8586522852886551316&ReturnUrl=/MDCAPS/int/FinAid/index.aspx

 

Service Obligation Requirements

 

Q1. What is the service requirement for the Promise Scholarship?

The service requirement for the Promise Scholarships requires students to work full-time in the State within one year after earning the credit-bearing vocational certificate, credit-bearing certificate, or associate degree.


Q2. Why do I need to sign a Promissory Note and Service Obligation Agreement before my award can be disbursed to the community college?

Once a student is awarded the Promise Scholarship, the disbursement of the award is contingent upon the recipient signing both the Promissory Note and Service Obligation Agreement.

An award recipient must sign the promissory note and service obligation agreement, agreeing to work in the State of MD within one year after earning the credit-bearing vocational certificate, credit-bearing certificate, or associate degree.

If the recipient fails to sign the Promissory Note and Service Obligation Agreement agreeing to the requirements of the scholarship they are ineligible for the award.


Q3. If I receive the Promise Scholarship award and transfer to another college/university before earning either a credit-bearing Vocational Certificate, credit-bearing Certificate, or Associate Degree; will my scholarship award convert into a loan?

Yes, an award recipient of the Promise Scholarship that transfers to another college or university before earning a credit-bearing Vocational Certificate, credit-bearing Certificate, or Associate Degree; will have the scholarship converted into a loan that must be repayable to the State of Maryland.