How to Get Money for College in Maryland
Am I eligible for financial aid?
To qualify for federal financial aid you must:
- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
- have a valid Social Security number,
- register (if you haven't already) with the Selective Service, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
- maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school, and
- show you're qualified to obtain a postsecondary education
What are the types of financial aid?
- Grants and Scholarships - Do not have to be repaid
- Loans - Have to be repaid
- Work-study - College aid in exchange for work, often campus employment.
What is FAFSA?
The FAFSA is a form you have to fill out to get financial aid. This is the first step in applying for financial aid. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Colleges and Universities also use the FAFSA to award state and college aid. You will need a FSA ID to “sign” your online FAFSA, make corrections, and more. The process is free. Never pay to apply for federal financial aid.
To fill out the FAFSA you will need:
- income tax returns (yours and most likely your parents), W-2 forms, and other records of income, and
- Identification documents (social security cards, driver’s licenses).
Note: Complete the FAFSA each year, starting on January 1. Be sure you meet application deadlines. The priority filing date for Maryland is March 1.
Ask people in your community about scholarships that may be available to you:
- Financial aid office of colleges or career schools you are applying to,
- Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups,
- Organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest,
- Ethnicity-based organizations, and
- Your employer or your parents' employers.
- Scholarships and Grants Search - Librarian-selected websites to search for scholarships, grants, tax benefits and more.
- Scholarship Search - Use category or keywords to search for scholarships. Example: music, art, biology (Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor).
- Student Aid on the Web - Take a career quiz to find a major, use the financial aid wizard to calculate college costs, use the college matching wizard to find a college, and use the college savings calculator to help you save money for college. (United States Department of Education website).
- Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) - Programs and application forms for scholarships and grants available to only Maryland students.
- College Bound - Scholarships for Baltimore City Public High School seniors
Contact the Social Science and History Department for current materials. Scholarship books for minorities, veterans, women, and more.
Beware of scams
Be careful where you find information. For-profit companies try to sell you information you can get for free from scholarships books at your library, and Student Aid on the Web.
If you need more help
Contact us through our Ask A Librarian Service, call (410) 396-5430, or write:
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Or, if you are outside of Maryland, contact your local library.