Howard P. Rawlings
Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant​  

The 2021-2022 GA Application Cycle Is Now Closed​.

The Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant is a grant that provides postsecondary financial assistance to eligible in-state students currently enrolled as high school seniors who will complete a college preparatory program or a student who has obtained a General Educational Development Diploma (GED), and is under the age of 26. 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 $19,400. ​

 How Do I Become Eligible for the GA Grant? ​

  • You must be eligible for in-state tuition
  • You must file the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) if eligible for in-state tuition, but ineligible to receive federal aid. To complete the MSFAA online click here.
  • You must file your FAFSA ​by March 1;
  • You must demonstrate need and meet certain income requirements;
  • You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) must meet the in-state tuition requirements per your institution;
  • 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;
  • High School Seniors:
    • Must have an unweighted cumulative 2.5 high school grade point average (GPA);
    •  Must be under the age of 22 at the time of graduating high school
  • General Educational Development Diploma (GED) Recipients:
    • Must have scored a minimum of 165 per module on the diploma (GED) examination;
    • Must be under the age of 26 years at the time of receiving the first award; and
  • You must submit all required verification documents to MHEC. 


Income Requirements

All students being considered for the Guaranteed Access Grant for the 2021 - 2022 academic year, must meet the following income requirements.

Family Size 130% OF POVERTY LEVEL
1 $16,237
2 $21,983
3 $27,729
4 $33,475
5 $39,221
6 $44,667
7 $50,713
8 $56,459
For each additional person add $5,746

 Important Deadline Dates

  • March 1, 2021: Deadline to submit 2021 - 2022 FAFSA or MSFAA application.
  • April 1, 2021: Deadline to submit ALL required documents for the Guaranteed Access Grant.

How Can I Be Considered?​

​​Understanding the “Check Application Status” Screen in MDCAPS

Students identified by MHEC as potentially eligible for the grant must submit required documentation to MHEC for further consideration. A list of the required documents needed will display in MDCAPS under the Check Application Status screen on the students account. 

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

·         GED examination Transcript- submit the GED examination transcript that includes the score for each module​;

·         High School Transcript must include 1st semester grades from Senior Year- submit an official or unofficial high school transcript that includes all grades earned while enrolled in high school, including the quarter 1 and quarter 2 grades earned during the first semester of their senior year;

·         Dependent or Independent Student Verification Worksheet- download the respective verification worksheet from MDCAPS and complete all sections;

·         Low Income Form- download the form and complete the section that applies and include supporting documentation for all untaxed income (TANF, Food Stamps, etc.);

·         2019 Parent/Student/Spouse IRS Tax Transcript- submit the IRS tax return transcript or a signed 1040 tax return; 

·         2019 Parent/Student/Spouse Maryland State Tax Return w/Comptroller Seal- submit the Maryland state tax return w/ comptroller seal. The IRS tax return transcript or a signed 1040 tax return will also be accepted;

·         2019 Student/Spouse/ Parent W2s, 1099, or Schedule C- submit the W2,1099, schedule c or the Wage and Income Transcript from the IRS; and/or

·         2019 Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS for Parent/Student/Spouse- submit the MHEC non-filing document. The IRS Non-Tax Filing statement will be accepted as well.


All required documents must be submitted to MHEC through your MDCAPS via the NEW Electronic File Upload Tool 


How Do I Obtain a 2019 IRS Tax Return Transcript? ​

MHEC may ask students that are selected for the verification process to confirm their eligibility for the GA Grant by submitting a 2019 IRS Tax Return TranscriptThis includes as applicable, a copy of the student's, or student's spouse, and or parent(s) 2019 IRS Tax Return Transcript.  

​​​Tax Return Transcripts provide taxpayers with a computer-created record of their tax return which includes most of the line-items filed with the IRS, including any accompanying forms and schedules. ​​ For more information regarding obtaining a Tax Return Transcript, please visit Get Transcript FAQs.

If you’re unable to obtain a copy of the 2019 IRS Tax transcript, MHEC will accept a signed copy of the 2019 1040 Tax Return as required for the student, parent (s), or spouse.

 Renewing Your GA Grant Award

The GA Grant award will be renewed under the following conditions:

·  Continue to be eligible for in-state tuition;

·  Complete and file the FAFSA or MSFAA each year by March 1;

·  Continue to meet the award’s annual income requirements reported on FAFSA (students must continue to live at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level);

·  Is enrolled as a full time student in an eligible institution or community college;

·  Maintain the satisfactory academic progress standards of your institution;

·  Students that have completed their 2nd year or more of college are required to complete 30 credits in order to have their GA award reinstated for the full amount;

·  Students that complete 24-29 credits beginning with their 2nd year, their award will be prorated;

·  Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits, beginning in their 2nd year for the GA award to be reinstated; and

·  Meet the eligibility requirements as outlined above.


This award may be renewable for up to three years of undergraduate study.​

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


GA Required Forms