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Financial Aid and Scholarships Procedure - 50.01.01

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College (HCC) believes that students should not be restricted from attending the institution because of limited financial resources.  To this end, the college maintains a program of grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment for eligible students in good standing who are accepted, enrolled, and seeking a degree or certificate in a financial aid eligible area of study, and for students taking career-related noncredit continuing education classes.  However, the number of students in noncredit classes who receive noncredit financial aid is dependent on the amount of funds available.

Financial Aid for Credit Students

HCC maintains or coordinates grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment for students.  Full descriptions of the areas of study and associated eligibility criteria can be found in the HCC student handbook, college catalog, or on the financial aid services page of the HCC website.

Application Information

Students seeking financial aid for credit classes must be admitted to HCC and have a valid social security number on file.  Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year to be considered for financial aid.  Information regarding the FAFSA form and a link to apply is available on the HCC website.  Students seeking financial aid are strongly urged to apply by the March 1 priority filing date.  Financial aid files completed by March 1 will be given first priority for limited grant funds; however, the financial aid application process can be completed anytime during the academic year.

Transfer students seeking financial aid must add HCC’s federal school code (008175) to their FAFSA with the federal processor by going online to the FAFSA website (  Transfer students who borrowed loans at a previous school must cancel any remaining loan disbursements at that school and reapply for a Federal Direct Loan at the HCC financial aid services website.  Transfer students who received a Maryland State Scholarship at a previous school must update their school attendance information to include HCC on the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) website using the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MD CAPS).

The Howard Community College Educational Foundation, Inc.  (HCCEF) provides scholarships to new and returning students who demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, or financial need.  Priority is given to students who apply by March 1. Students should complete the HCC Institutional Endowment/Scholarship application located on the HCC website each academic year to be considered for these awards.

Eligibility Criteria

Credit students are eligible for financial aid if:

  • They are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • They have a valid Social Security Number. 
  • They have a high school diploma;  the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a general education development (GED) certificate or other state-sanctioned test or diploma-equivalency certificate;  or completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law.
  • They are enrolled in a financial aid eligible certificate or degree program at HCC and enrolled in coursework required for the certificate or degree program.  (Note that not all areas of study at HCC are eligible; check the schedule of classes for eligibility for degree programs.  Students seeking to obtain a certificate are encouraged to contact the financial aid services office to confirm if their certificate is eligible for financial aid.)
  • They are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of a degree or certificate.
  • They are not in default on a Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan, or Federal PLUS Loan.
  • They are not in an overpayment status for any federal aid program at any post-secondary institution or have exceeded the aggregate loan limits.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated at the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer) for all students enrolled at Howard Community College. It is evaluated based on the student’s cumulative academic record from the date of entry to the college. Financial aid recipients are required to be in good academic standing and to maintain SAP toward their degree/certificate requirements for each term in which they are enrolled. Failure to maintain SAP, in accordance with HCC’s SAP standards each term will result in the cancellation of future financial aid awards. For complete requirements relating to SAP, refer to the college catalog, student handbook, Financial Aid Services page of the HCC website, or visit the Financial Aid Services office.”

Continued Eligibility for Receipt of Financial Aid

Student aid awards are normally issued for one academic year.  Continuation of award is dependent on meeting application priority deadline dates each year, re-establishing financial need, meeting SAP requirements, and continuing to enroll for at least one eligible financial aid credit each term the student is enrolled (certain awards require half-time or full-time enrollment).  Financial aid is applicable only to coursework that is a required course or elective towards the student’s certificate or degree program.

Determination of Need

Financial need is defined as the difference between a student’s cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, transportation and miscellaneous expenses) at HCC and the expected family contribution (EFC), which is determined when the FAFSA has been completed and processed.  Students who receive financial aid must demonstrate financial need and maintain SAP as determined by HCC in accordance with federal regulations.  Need for credit financial aid is determined by the following calculation:

Cost of Attendance (COA)
Less Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Equals Financial Aid Need

The EFC is a measure of the family’s financial strength and is calculated according to the Federal Methodology formula established by the U.S. Congress.  The household size, number in college, and the family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula.   When a student completes the FAFSA, the family contribution is calculated and reported on the Student Aid Report (SAR), which is emailed or mailed to the student by the federal processor.

Student Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

Section 493.A of the Higher Education Act requires post-secondary educational institutions to disseminate relevant, candid information on student financial aid programs available at the college.  These rights and responsibilities may be found in The Student Guide, a publication of the United States Department of Education.

Federal Return of Funds Policy

Students receiving financial aid for credit classes have the responsibility to follow the college’s drop and withdrawal procedures as outlined in the HCC catalog.  Federal financial aid recipients who withdraw from their classes or stop attending their classes and do not complete the term may not be eligible to keep all the federal aid for that term.   Full descriptions of the Federal Return of Title IV Funds Policy can be found in the student handbook, the college catalog, or on the financial aid services page of the HCC website.

Financial Aid for Noncredit Students

Application Information

All students seeking financial assistance for noncredit courses should obtain application procedures from the office of continuing education and workforce development.

Eligibility Criteria

Noncredit students are eligible for financial aid if:

  • They show proof of income and demonstrate financial need.
  • They have been a resident of Howard County for at least three months and can provide required proof of residency.
  • They are 16 years of age or older.
  • The course work is job or career related.
  • They meet any additional entrance requirement for the class or program as applicable.

Financial assistance for noncredit courses is not available to individuals who are receiving financial aid from other organizations, an employer, or for those individuals receiving tuition waivers.

Noncredit students are expected to attend all scheduled classes and successfully complete all course assignments.  Students who do not complete or pass courses are not eligible for future noncredit financial aid.

Students will be asked to provide follow-up information on employment or career changes as a result of the noncredit course.

Determination of Need

Financial aid eligibility is determined by U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annual income guidelines—an average between low and moderate income—and is limited to course tuition and fees only.  The maximum award for noncredit financial aid is 80 percent of the total cost of tuition and fees and does not usually exceed $2,000 per year, depending on availability of funds.

Information about financial aid for noncredit students can be obtained through the division of continuing education and workforce development and the HCC continuing education website.  Funds for noncredit students are primarily disbursed through the HCCEF.

Effective Date:  12/13/19

President's Office Use:  VPSS - CAT

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