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Columbia MD, 21044
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Laurel, MD 20707
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The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship

The Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship is a statewide scholarship program for students who currently attend or plan to attend one of Maryland’s community colleges. This scholarship program is administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Please refer to its website for the most up-to-date information.

Does the Promise scholarship make community college free?

No, the Promise Scholarship does not make community college free, but it can help some students have a more affordable community college education.

Promise Scholarship will be awarded to students with the greatest financial need, who meet the eligibility criteria and program requirements. Once Maryland Higher Education has awarded their allocated amount, eligible students will be added to the waitlist until funds become available.

How much will it cover?

Promise Scholarships are available for up to $5,000 for tuition and fee expenses minus other federal and state aid (except Federal Work Study and Federal Direct Student Loans). 

For example, if a student's tuition and mandatory fees at the community college is $5,000 per year ($2,500 per semester), and the student is receiving a Federal Pell Grant in the amount of $6,345 per year ($3,172.50 per semester), the student's tuition and mandatory fee expenses are covered by the federal Pell Grant award. Therefore, the student is not eligible for the Promise scholarship because they have no unmet tuition and mandatory fee expenses. 

Who is eligible?

Promise Scholarship recipients must have graduated from a Maryland High School or be a GED recipient, be eligible for in-state tuition and attend their local Maryland community college full time (at least 12 credit hours each semester) while enrolled in one of the following:

  • An associate degree program
  • A credit certificate
  • A sequence of credit or noncredit courses that lead to licensure or certification
  • A registered apprenticeship program

A student’s local community college is defined as the community college located in the county where the student lives or in the case of a regional community college, the region where the student lives. If the local community college does not offer the student’s degree or program, the student may attend any community college in Maryland that offers their degree or program.

Students who have already earned a bachelor’s or associate’s degree are not eligible for this scholarship.

For the detailed list of eligibility criteria, visit the Maryland Higher Education Commission website.

How do you apply?

US Citizens and Eligible Non-Citizens should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online by March 1.

Undocumented students who are eligible for in-state tuition must complete the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) at MHEC’s website by March 1. All required documentation must be submitted to MHEC by June 30.

Additionally, students enrolling in non-credit courses that lead to licensure or certification, or are enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program, must complete an application online through MDCAPS. For more information, visit the MHEC website.

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