2015-2016 application deadline
The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance
Grant (WSSAG) program is for students who plan on working in
specific career/occupational programs upon graduation.
Eligible fields include: child care, human services,
teaching, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social
Who may apply: Current high school seniors,
full-time and part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and
graduate students enrolled in an eligible accredited
Maryland postsecondary institution.
How to apply: Complete the Workforce
Shortage Student Assistance Grant application online at
instructions are below) and submit
official transcripts from all institutions you have ever attended. To be
considered based on need, students must file the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
www.fafsa.gov for the application year. The FAFSA is not required; however, it
will be used to determine the order in which students will
Certain majors may
require additional documentation, which will be noted on the
When to apply: Complete
and submit the WSSAG application
and all supporting documents by
Faxed documents are not acceptable and must be received
in office by close of business on July 1. Documents
postmarked on July 1 will not be accepted.
Eligible majors: Eligible majors and employment
fields will be determined by an Advisory Council biennially
and will address statewide and regional workforce needs.
Employment fields may be limited to certain occupational
areas within a field. Eligible majors and employment
fields for academic year 2015-2016 are listed below.
Major/Service Area A:
Development or Early Childhood Education:
Recipients must become employed full-time in the State of
Maryland as a director or senior staff member in a licensed
Maryland childcare center or as a licensed family day care
provider in Maryland. You may
NOT be a teacher to serve this obligation.
Major/Service Area B:
Ida G. and L.
Leonard Ruben Scholarship (Human Services Degree Programs):
Aging services, counseling, disability services, mental
health, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy,
psychology, rehabilitation, social work, special education,
supported employment, vocational rehabilitation, or, any
other concentration in the healing arts or programs
providing support services to individuals with special needs
including child welfare and juvenile justice, and the
alcohol and drug workforce. Recipients must be employed in a
Maryland community-based program that is licensed by the
Developmental Disabilities Administration or approved by the
Mental Hygiene Administration or certified by the Office of
Health Care Quality; or in a residential program that
is licensed by the Department of Human Resources or the
Department of Juvenile Justice. Recipients must be a direct
service employee or provide first-line supervision of
employees who provide habilitation, rehabilitation,
residential, or related community support services to
individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health
disorders, or who are dependent on alcohol or drugs; or
who serve children in the custody of a local Department
of Social Services or in any residential childcare program
licensed by the Department of Human Resources or the
Department of Juvenile Justice.
Major/Service Area C:
Christa McAuliffe Scholarship (Education):
Approved teacher education program leading to certification
in a critical shortage field, which includes:
Chemistry (grades 7-12);Chinese (grades7-12); computer
science (7-12); earth/space science (7-12); ESOL (preK-12);
Family and Consumer Sciences (7-12); mathematics (7-12);
physical science (7-12); physics (7-12); Spanish (7-12);
special education: [infant/primary (birth-grade 3);
elementary/middle (grades 1-8); secondary/adult (grades
6-adult); hearing impaired; severely & profoundly disabled;
or visually impaired]; and technology education.
Elementary Education is not
a critical area. Physical Education is not a health occupation.
Recipients must become
certified teachers in Maryland in the certification area in
which they applied and were awarded and then be employed in
a Maryland public or private elementary or secondary school
as a full-time classroom teacher in that area.
Major/Service Area D:
Parren J. Mitchell
Public Service Scholarship - Nursing:
Recipients must be
employed as a nurse in a Maryland licensed hospital, adult
day care center, nursing home, public health agency, home
health agency, an eligible institution of postsecondary
education that awards nursing degrees or diplomas, or other
organization authorized by the Secretary of Health and
Mental Hygiene (employment as a nurse at a health
maintenance organization (HMO) or a physician’s private
office does not meet the service requirement).
Major/Service Area E:
Physical Therapy Assistant; Occupational Therapy;
Occupational Therapy Assistant:
be employed as a therapist or therapy assistant
to handicapped children in a public school in Maryland or
handicapped children placed in an approved
non‑public education program or to provide physical or
occupational therapy in a State
determined by the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to
have a severe shortage of physical or occupational
Major/Service Area F:
Donald Schaefer Scholarship - Law (designed to prepare
individuals for a career in law):
Recipients must be
employed in Maryland public service to assist in providing
legal services to low-income residents in the State.
Eligible employment is defined as employment in government
at any level, public interest organizations, public schools,
and nonprofit organizations under 501(c)(3) or (4) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, such as those whose primary
purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons, or
disabled individuals, or to protect the environment.
Major/Service Area G:
Ruth M. Kirk Public Social Work Scholarship:
Recipients must be
employed as a social worker in the public or nonprofit
sectors under 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code
of 1986 in which there is a shortage of qualified
practitioners to low-income or underserved residents or
areas of the State.
Major/Service Area H:
Parren J. Mitchell
Public Service Scholarship - Other (majors other than
nursing, social work and law) (designed to prepare
individuals for a career in public service):
Recipients must be employed in services in the public or
nonprofit sectors under 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986 in which there is a shortage of
qualified practitioners to low-income or underserved
residents or areas of the State.
You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) must
be Maryland residents. You must enroll at a two-year or
four-year Maryland college or university as a full-time (12+
credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per
semester) degree seeking undergraduate student, or a
full-time (9+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-8
credits per semester) degree seeking graduate student.
Audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit
hours for full-time or part-time status.
NOTE: Individuals who have received scholarships
in prior years under MHEC's former career/occupational
programs (Child Care Provider; Developmental Disabilities,
Mental Health, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Workforce
Tuition Assistance Program) will continue
to receive their awards as long as they remain eligible. Students who receive one of these former awards are not
eligible to also receive a WSSAG award.
Both merit and need-based criteria will be used when making
awards. Applicants will be ranked by Grade Point Average
(GPA) and then by need within each occupational field.
Those students with the greatest need within each GPA range
will be awarded first.
To determine a student’s merit ranking, transcripts will be
required. To determine the GPA ranking of students, a
cumulative, unweighted GPA will be used. If necessary, GPAs will be
recalculated to be considered on a standardized 4.0 scale.
To determine a student’s need ranking, a Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed by the
applicant and received by OSFA by the March 1 deadline; however, it is not
mandatory to file the FAFSA to be eligible to receive an award.
Award amounts are set at the
statutory minimum and are based on the type of institution
and the student’s enrollment status. The award is $2,000 per
year if attending a Maryland community college full-time
(12+ credits per semester) or $1,000 per year if part-time
(6-11 credits per semester). The award is $4,000 per year if
attending a Maryland four-year institution full-time (12+
credits per semester for undergraduate; 9+ credits per
semester for graduate) or $2,000 per year if part-time (6-11
credits per semester for undergraduate; 6-8 credits per
semester for graduate).
The total dollar amount of all State awards may not exceed
a student's cost of attendance as determined by the school's
financial aid office or $19,000, whichever is less.
Funds may not be available to award all eligible
Your award will be automatically renewed for up to the
maximum of 5 years as long as you continue to meet all the
eligibility requirements and maintain the satisfactory
academic progress standards of the institution you are
You must sign and return a promissory note agreeing to begin
fulfillment of your service obligation in the employment
field for which your award was received within one year of
completing your degree (the degree for which you received
the award, not a subsequent degree). Employment fields for academic year
2015-2016 are listed above.
If you work full-time, you must fulfill your obligation at a
rate of one-year for each year that you received the
scholarship, even if you were enrolled on a part-time basis
for some of the semesters. If you work part-time, you must
fulfill your service obligation at a rate of two-years for
each year the scholarship was received, even if you were
enrolled on a part-time basis. Full-time employment is
considered to be at least 35 hours per week and part-time is
at least 20 hours per week.
The service obligation
begins after completion of your degree program, and
cannot be fulfilled prior to completion. If you hold this
scholarship with any other award requiring a service
obligation, you must perform your service in consecutive
CONDITIONS OF AWARD:
2015-2016 Conditions of Award
Return to Program Description page