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Financial Aid Resources & Information

Many families can benefit from financial aid, or funds provided by an outside source to help pay for college or career training. Grants, work-study, loans and/or scholarships can help make post-high school options more affordable. The financial aid process and availability may look different for each student and family, depending on a number of variables including student merit, family income and more.

All students/families are encouraged to apply for financial aid, regardless of presumed eligibility. Applying may afford students access to funds or resources currently needed, as well as if they are needed in the future.

Jump to: Federal Aid | State Aid | CSS Profile | Types of Aid | Additional Resources

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Federal Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the application for federal student aid. Completing the FAFSA form provides the documentation necessary to determine eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid. The FAFSA additionally is used by the Maryland state government and the majority of colleges to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid.

Students may be eligible to complete the FAFSA if you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Complete eligibility requirements can be found online.

StudentAid.Gov Account Creation

Every contributor (anyone required to provide information on the FAFSA form) needs a account before accessing and completing their section of the online form.

Maryland State Financial Aid

The State of Maryland has an extensive array of financial aid programs for students who want to further their education beyond high school. These programs require a separate application, in addition to the FAFSA. Visit the Maryland Higher Education Commission website for information on financial aid resources, student loan debt and much more.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission recently announced a new financial aid tool that streamlines the process when applying for State scholarships and grants. The new tool, MHEC One-App, is found in the student’s Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) account. Students who do not currently have an account are required to create one, including undocumented students who are eligible for in-state tuition.

The new MHEC One-App tool replaces the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA), which is also located in a student’s MDCAPS account. Once logged into the MDCAPS account, click on the MHEC One-App link and follow the prompts to review and apply for scholarships available through the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

CSS Profile

The College Scholarship Service Profile is an online financial aid application created and maintained by the College Board. While the FAFSA is required for federal financial aid, the CSS Profile is used by many colleges, universities and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for their institutional aid programs. The CSS Profile goes beyond the FAFSA in its depth of information collection, which allows institutions to make more informed decisions about distributing their own financial aid resources.

Participating schools may have different deadlines; be sure to check dates with each school you are applying to.

Types of Financial Aid

Types of financial aid may include grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships to help make college or career school affordable.

Each school creates a financial aid package/award letter based on the information provided in the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, and sends electronically to families. Financial aid packages can vary greatly from school to school. Comparing financial aid packages is important in determining which institution best meets your financial needs.


Scholarships do not have to be paid back, and are based on academic achievement, athletic merit, talent or a particular area of study. Scholarships may be awarded through government, private employers, companies, nonprofits, community or religious groups, professional or social organizations, or directly from colleges and career schools.

! IMPORTANT ! A scholarship will affect your other student aid, which added together can’t be more than your cost of attendance at your college or career school. Be sure to let your school know if you’ve been awarded a scholarship so that the financial aid office can subtract that amount from your cost of attendance and any other aid you might have been offered.


Grants are based on financial need and merit, and provide aid that does not need to be paid back. Grants may be awarded from the federal or state government, a school, or an organization.


Loans must be paid back, with interest. Students can receive loans from the federal or state government, a school, or private agencies.

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program includes:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: Commonly referred to as Stafford Loans and made to eligible students who demonstrate financial need. These do not incur interest while you are a student.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Made to eligible students and not based on financial need. These accrue interest during the duration of the loan.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: For parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need.

Families also may find loan opportunities through private lenders, such banks, credit unions, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations.


The Federal Work-Study Program allows students to earn money through full- or part-time employment at their college/institution. Students who participate in work-study earn at least minimum wage.

Work-study awards depend on when you apply, your level of financial need, and your school’s funding level.

Work-study opportunities may be on- or off-campus. Additionally, the amount you earn can’t exceed your total Federal Work-Study award. When assigning work hours, your employer or your school’s financial aid office will consider your class schedule and your academic progress.

Additional Financial Aid Resources A federally maintained website that houses all information related to financial aid. Watch videos, learn about loans, scholarships, grants, and the financial aid process. Families also complete the FAFSA from this website.

Maryland Higher Education Commission

Maryland Higher Education Commission: The Office of Student Financial Assistance at the Maryland Higher Education Commission provides a number of state grants, scholarships, and loan assistance repayment programs for eligible Maryland residents.

Additional Resources

  • Aid for Military Families: Sources of aid from federal government and nonprofit organizations offering money for college to veterans, future military personnel, active-duty personnel, or those related to veterans or active-duty personnel.
  • A comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools.
  • Coalition for College: Made up of over 150 colleges and universities committed to improving access to higher education, the Coalition’s website offers event listings, resources and more.
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling: NACAC has compiled alist of trusted, up-to-date sources to help students and their families navigate the financial aid process.
  • uAspire: Seeks to improve the economic mobility of underrepresented students by creating financial solutions to diverse postsecondary pathways.