Howard P. Rawlings
Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant​ 

The Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant is a need- based grant that 
provides financial assistance to eligible applicants enrolled at postsecondary institutions. The amount of the GA Grant equals 100 percent of the student’s financial need and a student may receive an award for up to $20,700​.


Who May Apply?

An eligible individual who meets the income requirement levels, is eligible for in-state tuition, and plans to enroll at a two-year or four-year Maryland college or university as a full-time (12 credits per semester) degree-seeking undergraduate applicant. The applicant must be:

·        Current high school senior who will complete a college preparatory program; or

·        An individual who has obtained a General Educational Development Diploma (GED) and is under the age of 26.   


How do I Apply?

Submit by March 1 either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) OR Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA).

  • The MSFAA should only be completed by undocumented individuals who are ineligible to receive federal financial aid.

Grade Point Average (GPA) & General Education Development (GED) Requirements for Initial Applicants

GPA Requir​ements

Current high school seniors enrolled must have earned an 

unweighted cumulative 2.5 GPA at the end of their first semester

of high school and be under the age of 22. 

Rounding of GPAs is not allowed.

GED Requirements

GED applicants must have scored a minimum of 165 per 

module on the GED examination and be under the age of 26 at 

the time of receiving the award.


Income Requirements for Initial Applicants
To be eligible for the GA Grant initial applicants must meet the following income requirements:​

Household Size

130% of Poverty Level (Initial Applicants)












$46​​ ,254​





For families/households with more than 8 persons, for each additional person add


​Important Deadlines​

            March 1: FINAL deadline to submit the FAFSA or MSFAA

            March 15: PRIORITY deadline to submit all required documentation

            April 15: AWARDING performed for renewal recipients and initial applicants that                                                                                    submitted all required documentation by March 15

            May 15: FINAL deadline to submit ​required documentation ​

All awards are contingent on the availability​​ of funds.

Required Documentation

After completing the FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1, eligible applicants must submit certain documentation for further consideration of the award.

Renewal recipients who are selected for verification are required to submit documentation for further consideration of the GA Grant award.

MHEC may notify applicants by email of the required documentation to submit.  A list of the required documents needed will display in the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) under the Check Application Status screen.


Below you will find a list of required task that ​may be displayed on your MDCAPS account and the type of information that should be uploaded by the established deadline:

  • GED Examination Transcript –  copy of GED examination transcript must include the scores for each module.
  • High School Transcript must include 1st semester grades from Senior Year  –  copy of high school transcript must include all grades earned up to the first semester (quarter 1 & quarter 2) of senior year in high school. Report cards are not acceptable. 
  • Dependent​ or Independent Student Verification​ Worksheet - download the respective verification worksheet from MDCAPS and complete all sections.
  • 2021 Parent/Student/Spouse IRS Tax Transcript - submit either a copy of the IRS Tax Return transcript or signed copy of the 1040 tax return. 
  • 2021 Parent/Student/Spouse​ Maryland State Tax Return - submit either a copy of the Signed Maryland Tax Return, IRS Tax Return Transcript, or 1040 Tax Return.
  • 2021 Student/Spouse/Parent W2s, 1099, or Schedule C - Submit the W2, 1099, Schedule C or the IRS Wage and Income Transcript, and/or
  • 2021 ​Verification of Non-filing Form the IRS for Parent/Student/Spouse - submit the MHEC non-filing Form or the IRS Verification Non-Filing Letter.

Renewal Requirements

To remain eligible for the award, recipients must meet the following requirements:

·        Continue to be eligible for in-state tuition.

·        Annually file the FAFSA or MSFAA by March 1.

·        Continue to meet the annual income requirements (students must continue to live at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level).

·        Enroll as a full-time student at an eligible institution.

·        Maintain the satisfactory academic progress standards of your institution.

·        Students who have received the award for at least two years and thereafter must:

o   Annually complete 30 credits in order to have their awards renewed for the full amount or​

o   Annually complete 24-29 credits in order to have their awards renewed for a prorated amount.

For an overview on the Credit Completion Requirements click here.


Income Requirements for Renewal Recipients​
​To be eligible for the GA Grant, renewal recipients must meet the following income

Household Size

150% of Poverty Level (Renewal​ Applicants)

















For families/households with more than 8 persons, for each additional person add


​If a recipient of a Guaranteed Access Grant becomes ineligible because of a change in family
income, the recipient shall remain eligible for the full award for the full award term
applicable to the recipient, if the recipient remains eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant.


More information on the renewal requirements.


What is the Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP)?

The Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP) provides a matching grant award to eligible Maryland students who receive a GA Grant and enroll at a participating Maryland independent college or university as a new undergraduate student. 

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.

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

​​The Guaranteed Access Grant regulations have been published online under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR).

Frequently asked questions regarding the Guaranteed Access Grant Program


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


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