Community College Promise Scholarship

IMPORTANT: During the 2020 Legislative Session, changes were made to the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship Program. The service obligation and the age requirement have been eliminated in an effort to offer more students the opportunity to be eligible for up to $5,000 annually to attend a community college. 


These changes and the information of this site is effective July 1, 2020 for the 2020-2021 academic year.



The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is a last dollar award, available to students who plan to enroll in credit-bearing coursework leading to a vocational certificate, certificate, or an associate degree; or in a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification; or in a registered apprenticeship program at a Maryland community college for the 2020-2021 academic year.  

Who May Apply?

Any 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 should submit a high school transcript, official or unofficial)

  • 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 2018 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 applicants’ full cost of attendance at community colleges.

 

To be considered for the Promise Scholarship an applicant must:

  • Submit a completed 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online or 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, 2020. 
  • Applicants who meet the income requirements as reported on their FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1, 2020 will be notified by email of the required documentation to submit for further consideration for the Scholarship. Applicants should login to their MDCAPS accounts and review their “Check Application Status” section for a complete listing of all required documentation that must be submitted to MHEC; and  
  • Submit all documentation, if required, to MHEC by July 15 (Late submissions will not be accepted).

Applicants who failed to complete the FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1, 2020 are ineligible for the Promise Scholarship. For more information regarding the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) click here.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: 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 July 15, 2020:

 

·         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.

What are the application requirements for Non-Credit Applicants?

Any applicant who plans to enroll at the community college as a non-credit “Continuing Education” applicant in a sequence of  non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification or a registered apprenticeship program must complete the Promise Non-Credit Application online through the MDCAPS portal and meet all other requirements for consideration of the Promise award. For Continuing Education applicants only, the deadline to complete the application is a rolling deadline for each academic year. Applicants should monitor the MHEC website for updates concerning the final deadline date for the academic year. The Promise Non-Credit Application will become available in the MDCAPS portal after June 1, 2020.

 

Enrollment Requirements

  • 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. Additionally, eligible applicants may use the scholarship to attend a community college that has on-campus residential facilities for students;
  • Applicants who plan to enroll as candidates in credit-bearing vocational certificates,  credit-bearing certificates, or associate degrees must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester at a community college; and
  • Applicants who plan to enroll in a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification must enroll in the next available courses offered at the community college for their sequence. 

Awarding Process

  • The Promise Scholarship is a last dollar award that is calculated to eligible recipients after all State or Federal student financial aid received by the recipient has been applied to their tuition;
  • A recipient selected for Federal verification must submit all required documents and complete the verification process before MHEC can determine the student’s award eligibility for the Promise Scholarship;   
  • Eligible recipients may receive an award of up to $5,000 per year to cover any remaining tuition and mandatory fee expenses at the community college after all Federal and State financial aid has been applied; and
  • Initial awards will be provided to recipients based on greatest demonstrated financial need as determined by MHEC.

For example: If a recipient’s tuition and mandatory fee expenses at the community college is $5,000 annually ($2,500 per semester), and the recipient is receiving a Federal Pell Grant award in the amount of $6,345 ($3,172.50 per semester), the recipient’s annual tuition and mandatory fee expenses are covered by the federal Pell Grant award, so the recipient is ineligible for the Promise scholarship because they have no unmet tuition and mandatory fee expenses.

2020-2021 Renewal Recipient Requirements

A recipient of a Promise Scholarship is eligible for up to two years of a renewable award if the recipient continues to:

  • annually complete the FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1;
  • remain eligible for in–state tuition;
  • enroll in and complete either:
    • ​​​a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification; or
    • ​12 credits at the end of each semester in credit bearing programs.
  • maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative college GPA if enrolled in a credit bearing program;
  • make satisfactory progress toward a vocational certificate, a certificate, or an associate degree;
  • participate in a registered apprenticeship program; and
  • meet the income requirements.

For more information concerning the Maryland Community College Promise scholarship click here to access the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) guide​​.​