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Academic Common Market

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In-State Tuition for Select Out-of-State Programs


Contact information
Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 N. Liberty Street, 10th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Fax: 410-332-0270

What is The Academic Common Market (ACM)?:
The Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition-savings program that operates on the premise that if public institutions (not including private institutions) in a student’s home state do not offer a degree program major (undergraduate or graduate) that a student intends on pursuing, then s/he may attend a participating ACM out-of-state institution offering the degree of interest through the ACM and be granted a waiver of out-of-state tuition charges.

Which States Participate in the ACM?:
Only Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia participate in ACM. Florida and Texas do not participate at the undergraduate level in ACM. These States offer ACM benefits to graduate students only.

Which degree programs do not qualify for ACM benefits?
Associate degree programs and non-degree programs are not eligible for ACM benefits. First professional degree programs, such as law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and optometry are also not eligible for ACM benefits.

Which degree programs do qualify for ACM benefits?

No, it is not a financial aid program or affiliated in any manner with scholarships, award money or financial aid packages that students receive. The ACM program is not competitive, merit-based, or need-based. Given that the ACM program represents a cooperative agreement among 15 states, the State of Maryland also reciprocates and reduces tuition for students from partnering ACM states.  

Who may apply?
Currently enrolled Maryland high school seniors, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students who have been fully accepted or are already enrolled in an eligible program of study at a participating public college/university may apply.

Additionally, students who have switched ACM majors must also reapply as “new” ACM applicants and abide by the Maryland deadlines. Once granted the ACM tuition waiver, it is not necessary to reapply each year as long as the student remains enrolled full-time and in good academic standing (both defined by institution), does not change majors or institutions (even to another ACM major or institution); and maintains home state residency.

When to apply?
The ACM application and accompanying documents must be submitted to the State ACM Coordinator by the following deadline date(s):

Fall semester deadline - June 30th
Summer semester deadline - March 31st
Spring semester deadline - November 30th

***ACM application deadline dates are firm and may not be appealed***
**Students, not the institutions, are held fully responsible for being informed about the ACM application deadlines as well as the institution’s deadlines**

Besides Maryland’s ACM application closing deadlines, are there any other important dates?

First time ACM applicants are advised to contact the university and be fully informed of the institutional deadlines.

What are the ACM eligibility requirements?
In order to become eligible for the ACM tuition waiver, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • Proof or Maryland residency (see Section D of application)
    Apply for a program listed in the current ACM inventory and available to Maryland residents (see list of Undergraduate/Graduate ACM Programs for Maryland Residents)
  • Include a letter of acceptance into the specific program of study offered at the out-of-state institution on institution letterhead with the ACM Application
  • Plan to enroll full-time (continuously) and remain in good academic standing (both defined by the institution) while pursuing the degree program
    Submit the ACM Application and accompanying documents by the deadline
    How to apply?

    Maryland residents interested in studying at an out-of-state ACM program; those who are transferring from one ACM major to another; or returning to college after a leave of absence must file an ACM application with the State ACM Coordinator by the deadline and be certified as a Maryland resident per the instructions below:
  • Complete the: ACM Application for Maryland Residents (DOC);
  • Select an available ACM program/institution
  • Must be fully admitted to the ACM program major by following the admission procedures for the institution and program department
  • Gather all required documents and attach to the ACM application
  • Fill out and mail the ACM Application for Maryland Residents (DOC)
  •  (certified) with documents or email (recommended) the to the State ACM Coordinator at the address on the form by the deadline
  • Forward the application to the ACM Coordinator by the deadline

    Is it necessary to reapply every year for ACM benefits?
    No, provided students:
  • Remain enrolled full-time (defined by institution)
  • Do not change majors or institutions (even to another ACM major or institution)
  • Maintain good academic standing (defined by institution)
  • Retain home state residency
    What will happen once ACM is approved?
    Once a “complete” application is received, the State ACM Coordinator will:
  • Verify the student’s residency, confirm the programs eligibility for ACM benefits and certify the student as a Maryland resident
  • Notify the applicant and institution of the student’s eligibility/certification via mail within 4-6 weeks
  • NOTE: we are unable to accommodate requests to process applications more rapidly; the average production rate is 4-to-6 weeks if not longer depending on the time of application.  Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.
    Can the waiver of out-of-state tuition be applied retroactively?
    The ACM tuition waiver is applicable only for the institution, degree major and start date specified in the ACM certification letter. Southern Regional Education Board policy prohibits retroactive ACM tuition waivers.
    Who can help me with a student account question?
    For questions about adjustments to a student account, contact the campus Registrar. This agency cannot interfere with institutional business nor student appeals involving ACM institutions.

    ACADEMIC COMMON MARKET DISCLAIMER: As the coordinating agency for the State of Maryland’s participation in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market (ACM) and Electronic Campus (EC), The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) reserves the right at its discretion and at any time to remove academic programs offered by Maryland institutions from the ACM and EC and/or remove access to academic programs at out-of-state institutions offered to Maryland residents through the ACM and EC. Students interested in applying to the ACM or EC are encouraged to contact MHEC when application is made to an out-of-state institution/program and to inquire on the program’s status (either active or inactive) for Maryland residents. Students who begin studies at one institution with the intent to transfer to an ACM institution/program are not guaranteed ACM access if the respective program is removed from the ACM during their time at the institution of origin.