Paying for College

  • Your first step to financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will now be available on October 1.

    Don't let college costs change your college plans! There are many sources of dollars for college — this brochure from the Maryland Higher Education Commission Adobe PDF icon   provides a snapshot of the Maryland's financial aid programs. You could be eligible for some or all, depending on your and your family's circumstances.

    The main sources are summarized at the links below; your school guidance counselor can provide more details about each.
    • Scholarships — Money that is awarded on the basis of merit (for example, high academic achievement), skill or unique characteristics, and does not need to be paid back

    • Grants — Money that is awarded on the basis of need, and usually does not need to be paid back

    • Student loans — Money students and parents borrow to help pay for college expenses, and usually must be repaid once education is complete

    • Work-study — Money students earn while in school to help pay education expenses. Work-study jobs pay at least minimum wage and are often located on campus. Work-study is needs based, so interested students should complete the FAFSA as the first step and then contact the financial aid office at the institution they plan to attend to see if a work-study program is offered.
    • College Savings Plans of Maryland new window — Money set aside by families in special investment accounts, well in advance of their children enrolling in college