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Higher Education in Maryland

January 2009 Press Release



For immediate release: January 9, 2009                                    Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
                                                                                                             Communications: (410) 260-4511



College-Bound Students Applying for Financial Aid Need to File the FAFSA

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 9, 2009) - Students planning to attend Maryland’s two- and four-year public and independent colleges or universities or private career schools for the 2009-2010 academic year need to start filling out and submitting their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible for student financial assistance.

The FAFSA form determines whether a student qualifies for need-based, federal aid – such as the Pell Grant and Stafford Loans – and for Maryland’s numerous scholarship programs.

Filing the FAFSA has become much easier over the years. Students can access the form online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The deadline for filing the FAFSA for State need-based aid programs, such as the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant and Educational Assistance Grant programs, is March 1.

Higher Education Secretary, James E. Lyons, Sr. said that competition for federal and State financial scholarships and grants will be especially tight this year, which is why he encourages potential college students to file their FAFSA right away.

“Simply put, to determine eligibility for State financial aid, students must file a FAFSA.” Secretary Lyons said.

For information regarding State financial aid programs, prospective students can click the following link: http://www.mhec.state.md.us/financialAid/descriptions.asp. There they will find a description of each program and will be able to gain access to that particular scholarship’s application.
If students have questions regarding scholarship program eligibility they may e-mail the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) at osfamail@mhec.state.md.us or contact the agency at 1-800-974-1024 or 410-260-4565.
Due in part to Governor O’Malley freezing tuition at the University System of Maryland and Morgan State University the past three years, the State set yet another record for enrollment in the fall 2008 semester, up 3.5 percent overall from last year.

“Governor O’Malley’s tuition freeze at the University System of Maryland and Morgan State University was a tremendous achievement,” Secretary Lyons said. “It has provided a more affordable, and therefore more accessible, education to hundreds of thousands of students at our tremendous postsecondary institutions in Maryland. I believe everyone who wants to pursue an education should do so, especially as our economy remains in a recession and national statistics show the country falling behind others in today’s competitive, global workforce.”

In addition to freezing tuition, Secretary Lyons said the O’Malley-Brown administration has helped more than 58,000 students pay their college bills by budgeting nearly $110 million in financial assistance to OSFA each year they have been in office.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 326,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.


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