Community College Promise Scholarship

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is a last dollar award, available to students that plan to enroll in credit-bearing coursework leading to a vocational certificate, certificate, or an Associate's 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.
 

IMPORTANT: For the 2019 - 2020 academic year, the application process is still available for students who plan to enroll in a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification; or in a registered apprenticeship program. 


Who May Apply?

An individual may be eligible for a Promise Scholarship if the applicant:

  • Graduated from high school or successfully completed a GED in  Maryland within two years (on or after January 1, 2019) of applying for the scholarship; and
  • Enrolls in a public community college as a candidate in a credit-bearing vocational certificate, a credit-bearing certificate, or an associate degree program; or in a sequence of credit or non-credit courses that leads to licensure or certification; or in a registered apprenticeship program.

To be considered for the Promise Scholarship an applicant must:

  • Submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa or submit the 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. The 2020-2021 MSFAA will be available online through MDCAPS on November 15, 2019;
  • Applicants that identified a community college 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 account 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 June 15, 2020 (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

2020-2021 Initial Eligibility Requirements

An applicant is eligible for the Promise Scholarship if the applicant:

  • Is within two years after graduating from a high school or successfully completing a GED in the State on or before July 31 prior to the start of the Fall semester enrolled in a public 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.
  • Is eligible for in-state tuition, as determined by the community college in accordance with Education Article, Title 15, Annotated Code;
  • Earned an unweighted cumulative GPA of at least a 2.3 or its equivalent at the end of the first semester of your senior year in high school (Initial applicants should submit an high school transcript or report card to document the GPA requirement);
  • 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 2018 tax year as defined by MHEC;
  • ​Has not earned a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree; 
  • Has not been awarded another educational grant or scholarship that covers the applicant’s full cost of attendance at the community college; and
  • Submit all documentation, if required, to MHEC by June 15, 2020.

Enrollment Requirements

  •  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 that plan to enroll as a candidate in a credit-bearing vocational certificate, a credit-bearing certificate, or an associate degree must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester at the community college; and
  •  Applicants that 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 any student financial aid, other than a student loan, received by the recipient has been applied to their tuition. MHEC cannot determine a recipients award eligibility until the community college reports this information to MHEC;
  •  A recipient’s award eligibility is determined by MHEC after the community college has reported the recipient’s non-loan and annual tuition amounts. A recipient selected for Federal verification must submit all required documents and complete the verification process before MHEC can determine a student’s award eligibility for the Promise Scholarship.   
  • Eligible recipients are eligible to 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 other non-loan 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 $6,095 ($3,047.50 per semester). The recipients annually 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;
  • Continue to remain eligible for in–state tuition;
  • Continue to 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’s degree;
  • Continue to participate in a registered apprenticeship program;
  • Continue to meet the income limitations; and
  • Submit all documentation, if required, to MHEC by May 1, 2020.

Service Obligation Requirements

A recipient of the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship must sign an agreement at the time of receiving the award to work full-time within one year after:

  • Earning the vocational certificate, certificate, or associate’s degree;
  • Completing a sequence of non-credit courses that lead to licensure or certification; or
  • Completing a registered apprenticeship program.

The recipient must continue to reside in Maryland and use an address in the state as reported on the recipient’s state income tax return, while maintaining employment for at least 1 year for each year the scholarship was awarded. (The student may be employed outside of the State of Maryland to satisfy the service requirement, but must continue to live in Maryland).

If the student fails to fulfill the service obligation and secure employment, the award will convert into a loan payable to the state.

Deferment of the Service Obligation Requirements:

A recipient of the Promise Scholarship can defer their service obligation requirement if:

  • Enrolled full-time (12 or more credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester) in a credit-bearing course of study at any post-secondary institution;
  • If the recipient has earned at least 48 credits while enrolled at the community college and transfers to a 4-year institution before earning a degree;
  • On a temporary leave of absence, approved by the employer in the required employment field, for a period not to exceed 12 months;
  • Temporarily disabled, as determined by a licensed physician, in a manner that substantially impairs the recipient’s ability to perform the service obligation, for a period not to exceed 3 years;
  • Unable to maintain employment, for a period not to exceed 12 months, because the recipient must care for a spouse or child who is disabled;
  • Assigned military duty outside of the state, not to exceed 3 years without filing an appeal; or
  • Married to a spouse assigned military duty outside of the state, not to exceed 3 years without filing an appeal. 

For frequently asked questions concerning the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, click here.