Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid helps students to identify and apply for financial support of their college education. St. Mary’s College of Maryland believes that qualified students should have an opportunity for a college education. The primary responsibility for paying the cost of education is the family’s. However, as a public institution St. Mary’s College recognizes that students and their families are not always able to fund the full cost of a college education. Financial aid is designed to bridge the gap between family resources and the cost of attending St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s offers a variety of programs designed to assist in meeting college expenses. These programs include scholarships, grants, loans, work opportunities, and a tuition payment plan. St. Mary’s participates in all applicable federal and Maryland financial aid programs. To gain an objective assessment of a candidate’s ability to contribute to educational cost, St. Mary’s recommends applicants complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA provides St. Mary’s with the expected family contribution to the student’s comprehensive expense, as well as the estimated contribution of any federal grants for which the student may be eligible. St. Mary’s then prepares a package of financial assistance consisting of a combination of loans, grants, scholarships, and/or work opportunities intended to meet the portion of expenses that cannot be met by other sources. In the end, the goal is to ensure that qualified applicants have the opportunity to obtain a liberal arts education at St. Mary’s.

HOW TO APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID

To be eligible for most federal, state, and institutional aid programs, students must be U.S. citizens or must meet eligible non-citizen criteria; be admitted to and pursuing an eligible degree program; and be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

First-year and Transfer Students

To be considered for most forms of aid, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of March 1. Because it takes approximately two to four weeks for government processing, applicants should submit the completed FAFSA form between January 1 and February 15 of the semester preceding fall matriculation. Applicants for spring matriculation should file their applications by November1 of the preceding year. By filing the FAFSA, applicants are applying for grants, loans, and work-study. First-year applicants receive notification of financial aid in April; transfer students receive notification in May.

Returning Degree Students

Applicants submit the completed FAFSA or Renewal Application between January 1 and March 1. Awards are based on academic performance and/or financial need. Returning students receive notification of their financial aid in June.

HOW TO ACCEPT FINANCIAL AID

All students receiving St. Mary’s College and/or federal financial aid: Upon receiving their aid package from St. Mary’s, applicants make a decision to accept or reject each form of aid offered (loan, grant, scholarship, work), once eligibility has been confirmed. Applicants indicate their decision by accessing their financial aid awards in the Portal.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS

Financial aid recipients must do the following:

  1. Maintain good academic standing and make satisfactory progress as required. Detailed information may be obtained from The Office of Financial Aid.
  2. Report changes in names, addresses, and dependency status to the Office of Financial Aid. (Changes in name and address also must be reported to the Office of the Registrar.)
  3. Report to the Office of Financial Aid the receipt of any financial assistance (scholarship, grants, and so forth) received from other groups or organizations.
  4. Consult with the Office of Financial Aid prior to making any changes in enrollment status (change from fulltime to part-time, or withdrawal from the College).
  5. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or the Renewal Application) before the priority deadline of March 1. Maryland residents who file after the March1 deadline may not be considered for Maryland state assistance. Note: St. Mary’s reserves the right to adjust aid awards at any time when there are changes in enrollment or residency status, income discrepancies, or financial changes.

GRANTS

Grants are gifts of money awarded to students with financial need. Grants need not be repaid. St. Mary’s College offers the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Grant (SEOG), and numerous College grants for students with demonstrated financial need.

St. Mary’s Scholarships

Merit scholarships at St. Mary’s are awarded to entering full-time first-year and transfer students who show exceptional promise. Candidates are encouraged to file a FAFSA to allow St. Mary’s to consider the student for need-based aid as well as for scholarships. Scholarships are awarded competitively to academically talented students. So that St. Mary’s can recognize the accomplishments of as many students as possible, scholarship offers from St. Mary’s will not exceed the value of in-state tuition.(Tuition waivers for dependents of St. Mary’s College and University of Maryland System employees are a form of scholarship in the application of this policy.) Scholarships, unless otherwise noted, are automatically renewed for up to four consecutive years of full-time study at St. Mary’s as long as the student remains in good standing and maintains at least a 3.00 grade-point average in each semester (minimum of 12 completed hours). Students who fall below the minimum standards for GPA or credit hours per semester have one probationary semester in which to correct the deficiency. Students who fall below the minimum standards in any subsequent semester will lose their merit scholarship. The Office of Financial Aid, associate provost for academic services, and the Scholarship Review Committee monitors academic progress of scholarship recipients.

St. Mary’s Academic Achievement Awards

These awards, given to students with outstanding records of academic achievement, are made in the amount of $3,000 and go up to the equivalent of in-state tuition. Recipients of St. Mary’s Academic Achievement Awards have challenged themselves with a rigorous course of study that often includes Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, honors courses, or membership in an academic honors society.

Presidential Merit Awards

These awards, given to students with strong records of academic achievement and impressive co-curricular accomplishments, are Made in the amount of $500 to $2,000 per year. Recipients of Presidential Merit Awards have challenged themselves with a rigorous course of study that often includes Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, honors courses, or membership in an academic honors society.

OTHER SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS

Endowed Scholarships

The College also has a number of endowed scholarships which provide financial support to students. Many of these are funded through the St. Mary’s College Foundation, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting critical College needs. Scholarships in the form of one-time financial awards are given by the College and the College Foundation at the Awards Convocation ceremony in April each year. For a descriptive list of these scholarships and awards, see Honors and Awards.

Maryland State Scholarships

The State of Maryland offers a wide variety of scholarship support to Maryland residents attending college in Maryland. These Awards are based on need and on merit. Awards include Guaranteed Access Grant, Educational Assistance Grant, Distinguished Scholar Awards, Teacher Distinguished Scholar Award, Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships, Science and Technology Scholarship, Maryland Teacher and Hope Scholarships, Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health and Work force Tuition Assistance Program, and Maryland Foster Care Recipients. Information on these programs is available from the Maryland State Scholarship Administration, Maryland Higher Education Commission, 16 Francis Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 (800) 974-1024.

LOANS

A loan is borrowed money and must be repaid at a later time. In most cases, the student is the borrower and repays the loan once he or she is no longer enrolled in an institution of higher learning, graduates, or is enrolled less than halftime. There are a few loan programs where the parent is the borrower and begins repaying the loan while the student is still enrolled. All educational loans carry favorable interest rates. Some include interest benefits, meaning that the federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled. Multiple repayment plans provide the borrower with flexible repayment options. St. Mary’s College participates in all federal and state financial aid programs, such as the Federal Stafford Student Loan Program (FSSL) and Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). St. Mary’s College participates in the electronic processing of all student and parent loans. After a loan is processed, the funds are electronically wired into the student’s account. If applicable, refunds are sent directly to the student’s local address. For detailed information on these programs, borrowers should consult the Office of Financial Aid.

FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN PROGRAM

This loan program was established by the federal government in agreement with St. Mary’s College to make low interest Loans available to students with clearly established financial need. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

Part-time employment is another way many students meet their educational costs. The Office of Financial Aid administers the Federal work-study program. Work-Study aid is based on need, and job placement is administered through the Office of Financial Aid. Students are employed in many capacities throughout the College. Income from part-time employment is paid directly to the student during each two-week pay period in which the student worked, and contributes significantly to meeting individuals’ education expenses. Information about campus employment is available from the Career Development Center. St. Mary’s College of Maryland is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and a supporter of Affirmative Action initiatives.

OTHER RESOURCES

Information on alternative loan programs, such as CitiAssist, TERI, or EMAX, is available through the Office of Financial Aid. Check local civic organizations for potential funds. Investigate the local library resource section for outside funding and review the World Wide Web for other sources. For Web information, try the following Web pages: http://www.finaid.org and http://www.smcm.edu/ (see the Financial Aid section for outside resources).

FINANCIAL AID FOR STUDY ABROAD

In most cases, financial assistance is available to eligible students for both academic year and approved study-abroad programs in the summer. Students should begin this process by contacting the Office of International Education. For more information regarding aid availability, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

VETERANS BENEFITS

Individuals who wish to apply for Veterans Benefits should contact the Office of the Registrar, Glendening Hall. Telephone 240-895-4336.