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Higher Education in Maryland


2015-2016 Application available now in MD CAPS.

Who may apply: Current high school seniors who will complete a college preparatory program or a student who graduated prior to the current academic year who provides written documentation explaining why they were unable to attend college within one (1) year of graduating from high school.

How to apply: Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov, and complete and file the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant application online at https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us (see below for application instructions)..

When to apply: Students are encouraged to apply by March 1. Applications submitted after March 1 will be considered as long as funds remain available.

Eligible majors: All majors are eligible.


To apply for the 2015-2016 academic year, please apply through the MD CAPS system at: https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us after January 1, 2015. New users will be required to create a user ID and password.  You will then be sent an email with an activation link.  You MUST activate your account prior to logging in to your account  You will then be able to apply online for programs, as well as check the status of your application.

If you are unable to apply online, contact our office at (800) 974-0203.


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; audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit hours required for full-time status), degree-seeking, undergraduate student, and you must demonstrate financial need. All applicants must have a minimum, unweighted cumulative 2.5 high school grade point average (GPA) and meet the following income requirements:

2015-2016 Guaranteed Access Grant Family Income Requirements:

1 $ 15,301 $ 17,655
2 $ 20,709 $ 23,895
3 $ 26,117 $ 30,135
4 $ 31,525 $ 36,375
5 $ 36,933 $ 42,615
6 $ 42,341 $ 48,855
7 $ 47,749 $ 55,095
8 $ 53,157 $ 61,335
Each additional person add $5,408 $6,240


A GA Grant is determined by financial need. Your need for a GA Grant is determined using the following formula:

                                OSFA College Cost of Attendance
                             -  EFC + or - Regional Cost of Living Adjustment
                             -  Certain State scholarship awards (if awarded)
                             -  Federal Pell Grant (if eligible)
                             = Financial Need


The amount of a GA Grant equals 100 percent of the student's financial need. The minimum annual award amount is $400 and the maximum award is $17,500. You may hold the GA Grant with all State awards, except the Educational Assistance Grant and the Part-Time Grant. The total dollar amount of all State awards may not exceed your cost of attendance, as determined by your school’s financial aid office or $19,000, whichever is less.

Funds may not be available to award all eligible students.


To renew an award, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress at the college you are attending. Students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA no later than March 1 each year. Eligible students who submit the FAFSA after March 1 will be considered as long as funds remain available. You must also continue to demonstrate financial need. You may receive a GA Grant for a total of four years of full-time, degree-seeking, undergraduate study.


Conditions of Award for New Awardees 2015-2016 (PDF)

Conditions of Award for Renewal Awardees 2015-2016 (PDF)

GA Counselor Certification Form 2015-2016 (PDF)

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