- When the State of Maryland offers you a scholarship or grant, the
Office of Student Financial Assistance will send you an official award
notification. This notification will list the name of the scholarship or grant, how
much money you will receive and which school the award is for. The award
will be sent to you via email and/or regular mail. You must
accept the award online in our MD CAPS financial aid system at
- The total amount of money it will cost for you to go to college for a
year is called the cost of attendance. This amount includes tuition and
fees, room and board or housing/living costs, and allowances for books,
supplies and other necessities. Where you choose to live (on-campus,
off-campus or with your parents) is also a factor used in determining
the total cost of college. The total amount of financial aid
a student receives may not exceed the student's cost of attendance.
- This figure is determined by the information you
report on the FAFSA and is calculated by federal methodology. Your
EFC combined with your college costs will determine your eligibility for
a Federal Pell Grant and other need-based aid.
- Federal Methodology is a formula used to calculate the amount of money
that you and your family are expected to pay for college. This formula,
established by Congress, is used nationwide for all students. The most
important factors in the formula are the income and assets of you and
your parents and the size of your family.
- The FAFSA is the primary application you must complete and file to apply
for federal student aid, State of Maryland financial aid, and most
institutional financial aid that colleges award to students. If you are
a dependent student according to the FAFSA, you must complete your section of the FAFSA
and you must have your parents complete the parent section of the FAFSA.
You may file the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.
- Your financial aid package consists of the total amount of financial
aid you receive. Your package may contain federal grants, loans and
work-study, State scholarships or grants, and scholarships, grants or
loans from your college. A student may not receive more financial
aid in their package than their cost of attendance, as determined by the
- The difference between the cost of attending your college and the
amount of your EFC is your financial need. Your financial aid package is
based on the amount of your financial need.
- If you enroll as an undergraduate for 12 credits or more each
semester, you are considered a full-time student. If you enroll as a
graduate student for 9 credits or more each semester, you are considered
a full-time student.
- Your GPA is the average of your grades, where the grades have been
converted to a 4.0 scale, with 4.0 being an A, 3.0 being a B, and 2.0
being a C. A cumulative GPA is the average of all your
grades when you attended a high school or college (i.e., cumulative GPA
of grades 9-12 of high school).
- A college student who is enrolled in a master's or doctoral program is
called a graduate student.
- Grants are financial aid you do not have to pay back and are usually
for students who have financial need. The largest Maryland State grant
program is the Howard P. Rawlings Educational Assistance Grant. The largest federal grant
program is the Federal Pell Grant.
- A loan is money you borrow that you must pay back with interest.
Federal funds provide most of the money used in making educational
loans. The Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan are federal loan programs.
An official transcript is a list of all classes taken and all grades
received by the student, and is sent by the school in a sealed envelope,
usually with an original signature of a school official and an official
- A student may not receive more
financial assistance, from all sources combined, than their cost of
attendance. Cost of attendance is determined by the institution's
financial aid office.
- If you enroll as an undergraduate for 6-11 credits, you are considered
a part-time student. If you enroll as a graduate student for 6-8
credits, you are considered a part-time student.
- If you accept a scholarship that has a service obligation, you must
sign a promissory note. The note is a binding legal document that states
the terms and conditions of repayment of the scholarship should you not
complete the service obligation.
- A scholarship is financial aid you don't have to pay back and is
usually given to students who are recognized for academic achievement,
athletic ability, or other talents.
- Some scholarships and grants require that you work in State or local
government or non-profit agencies in your chosen field after you
complete your education. If you fail to complete your service
obligation, you must then repay the money you received, with interest.
- The SAR summarizes the information you included on the FAFSA you
filed. The SAR will tell you your EFC and whether you are eligible for a
Federal Pell Grant. You should receive your SAR approximately 3 days
after you file your FAFSA online at
- When you complete the FAFSA, you need to indicate the six-digit Title
IV code for each college or university you list on the form. You can find a list of the
Title IV school codes online at
www.fafsa.gov or at www.finaid.org.
You can also obtain the information at your high school guidance office, college
financial aid office, public library, the Federal Student Aid
Information Center, or the Office of Student Financial Assistance.
- A college or private career school student who is enrolled in a
certificate, nursing diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree
program is called an undergraduate student.
- Work study is part-time employment during the school year, usually at
an on-campus job.