When it comes to paying for college, almost everyone knows about financial aid. But do you know what types of grants are available, those for which you are eligible, and how to apply for and receive them?

As Seniors begin their final semester of high school, many have already submitted their FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Good for them! Some students, however, may be just beginning the financial aid process. Completing FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid is the first step toward accessing federal and state grants to pay for college.

FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid for the 2023-2024 academic year opened on October 1, 2022. Please be aware that each state, as well as every postsecondary education institution (college, university, career/trade school), determines its own financial aid deadline. Of these deadlines, students should note their earliest one and be sure to submit FAFSA before it passes. Maryland’s FAFSA deadline is March 1, 2023.

Complete FAFSA to Obtain Federal Student Aid

Go to FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid to begin the financial aid application. After FAFSA is submitted and processed, students will be notified by email and can log in to review their SAR (Student Aid Report), which details the Federal grants and/or loans for which they are eligible. 

Include One Maryland College on FAFSA to Access State Financial Assistance

Maryland grants and scholarships can be generous. While the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6895, Maryland’s Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant, which is also need-based, covers 100% of an eligible student’s need up to $20,000.

For students who include at least one Maryland college, university, or career/trade school on FAFSA, their application will automatically be sent to the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s State Financial Assistance Programs to be reviewed.

After reviewing the student’s application, the Maryland Higher Education Commission may contact (by email) those students who might be eligible to receive state grants. It is important for students to monitor their email carefully. If a student receives a grant opportunity notification from the Maryland Higher Education Commission and fails to follow the steps outlined in the email, the grant opportunity will likely be rescinded. 

Where to Get Help

No one should pay for assistance in the financial aid process.  

If you have questions, the following free resources are recommended:

Upon completing the federal and state financial aid processes, students can turn their attention to scholarship applications for further education funding. Please see CCPL’s blog posts Think Scholarships! and Scholarship Resources to learn how to access Gale’s “Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans” database.

Did you know that CCPL has a special program series for those who are interested in attending college? Check out our College Bound Series, where Tamara Baptiste-Wallace (The College Application Specialist) as she demystifies the college application process, including financial aid and the Common App. Find them all on our Event Calendar!