The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant (WSSAG) program is for students who plan on working in specific career/occupational programs upon graduation. Eligible fields include: child care, human services, teaching, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work, and public service.
Who may apply: Current high school seniors, full-time and part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an eligible accredited Maryland postsecondary institution.
How to apply: Complete the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant application online at https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us (application instructions are below) and submit official transcripts from all institutions you have ever attended. To be considered based on need, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov for the application year. The FAFSA is not required; however, it will be used to determine the order in which students will be awarded.
Certain majors may require additional documentation, which will be noted on the application.
When to apply: Complete and submit the WSSAG application and all supporting documents by July 1.
Faxed documents are not acceptable and must be received in office by close of business on July 1. Documents postmarked on July 1 will not be accepted.
Eligible majors: Eligible majors and employment fields will be determined by an Advisory Council biennially and will address statewide and regional workforce needs. Employment fields may be limited to certain occupational areas within a field. Eligible majors and employment fields for academic year 2017-2018 are listed below.
Major/Service Area A:
Hattie N. Harrison Memorial Scholarship (Child Development or Early Childhood Education): Recipients must become employed full-time in the State of Maryland as a director or senior staff member in a licensed Maryland childcare center or as a licensed family day care provider in Maryland. You may NOT be a teacher to serve this obligation.
Major/Service Area B:
Ida G. and L. Leonard Ruben Scholarship (Human Services Degree Programs): Aging services, counseling, disability services, mental health, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, rehabilitation, social work, special education, supported employment, vocational rehabilitation, or, any other concentration in the healing arts or programs providing support services to individuals with special needs including child welfare and juvenile services, and the alcohol and drug workforce. Recipients must be employed in a Maryland community-based program that is licensed by the Developmental Disabilities Administration or approved by the Department of Health or certified by the Office of Health Care Quality; or in a residential program that is licensed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Juvenile Services. Recipients must be a direct service employee or provide first-line supervision of employees who provide habilitation, rehabilitation, residential, or related community support services to individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, or who are dependent on alcohol or drugs; or who serve children in the custody of a local Department of Social Services or in any residential childcare program licensed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Juvenile Services.
Major/Service Area C:
Sharon Christa McAuliffe Scholarship (Education): Approved teacher education program leading to certification in a critical shortage field, which includes:
Chemistry (grades 7-12);Chinese (grades7-12); computer science (7-12); earth/space science (7-12); ESOL (preK-12); Family and Consumer Sciences (7-12); mathematics (7-12); physical science (7-12); physics (7-12); Spanish (7-12); special education: [infant/primary (birth-grade 3); elementary/middle (grades 1-8); secondary/adult (grades 6-adult); hearing impaired; severely & profoundly disabled; or visually impaired]; and technology education.
NOTE: Elementary Education is not a critical area. Physical Education is not a health occupation.
Recipients must become certified teachers in Maryland in the certification area in which they applied and were awarded and then be employed in a Maryland public or private elementary or secondary school as a full-time classroom teacher in that area.
Major/Service Area D:
Parren J. Mitchell Public Service Scholarship - Nursing:
Recipients must be employed as a nurse in a Maryland licensed hospital, adult day care center, nursing home, public health agency, home health agency, an eligible institution of postsecondary education that awards nursing degrees or diplomas, or other organization authorized by the Department of Health Secretary (employment as a nurse at a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a physician’s private office does not meet the service requirement).
Major/Service Area E:
Physical Therapy; Physical Therapy Assistant; Occupational Therapy; Occupational Therapy Assistant:
Recipients must be employed as a therapist or therapy assistant to handicapped children in a public school in Maryland or to handicapped children placed in an approved non public education program or to provide physical or occupational therapy in a State therapeutic hospital determined by the Department of Health Secretary to have a severe shortage of physical or occupational therapists.
Major/Service Area F:
William Donald Schaefer Scholarship - Law (designed to prepare individuals for a career in law):
Major/Service Area G:
Ruth M. Kirk Public Social Work Scholarship:
Recipients must be employed as a social worker in the public or nonprofit sectors under 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in which there is a shortage of qualified practitioners to low-income or underserved residents or areas of the State.
Major/Service Area H:
Parren J. Mitchell Public Service Scholarship - Other (majors other than nursing, social work and law) (designed to prepare individuals for a career in public service):Recipients must be employed in services in the public or nonprofit sectors under 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in which there is a shortage of qualified practitioners to low-income or underserved residents or areas of the State.
You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) must be Maryland residents. You must enroll at a two-year or four-year Maryland college or university as a full-time (12+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester) degree seeking undergraduate student, or a full-time (9+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-8 credits per semester) degree seeking graduate student. Audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit hours for full-time or part-time status.
NOTE: Individuals who have received scholarships in prior years under MHEC's former career/occupational programs (Child Care Provider; Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Workforce Tuition Assistance Program) will continue to receive their awards as long as they remain eligible. Students who receive one of these former awards are not eligible to also receive a WSSAG award.
Both merit and need-based criteria will be used when making awards. Applicants will be ranked by Grade Point Average (GPA) and then by need within each occupational field. Those students with the greatest need within each GPA range will be awarded first.
To determine a student’s merit ranking, transcripts will be required. To determine the GPA ranking of students, a cumulative, unweighted GPA will be used. If necessary, GPAs will be recalculated to be considered on a standardized 4.0 scale.
To determine a student’s need ranking, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed by the applicant and received by OSFA by the March 1 deadline; however, it is not mandatory to file the FAFSA to be eligible to receive an award.
Award amounts are set at the statutory minimum and are based on the type of institution and the student’s enrollment status. The award is $2,000 per year if attending a Maryland community college full-time (12+ credits per semester) or $1,000 per year if part-time (6-11 credits per semester). The award is $4,000 per year if attending a Maryland four-year institution full-time (12+ credits per semester for undergraduate; 9+ credits per semester for graduate) or $2,000 per year if part-time (6-11 credits per semester for undergraduate; 6-8 credits per semester for graduate).
The total dollar amount of all State awards may not exceed a student's cost of attendance as determined by the school's financial aid office or $19,000, whichever is less.
Funds may not be available to award all eligible applicants.
Your award will be automatically renewed for up to the maximum of 5 years as long as you continue to meet all the eligibility requirements and maintain the satisfactory academic progress standards of the institution you are attending.
You must sign and return a promissory note agreeing to begin fulfillment of your service obligation in the employment field for which your award was received within one year of completing your degree (the degree for which you received the award, not a subsequent degree). Employment fields for academic year 2017-2018 are listed above.
If you work full-time, you must fulfill your obligation at a rate of one-year for each year that you received the scholarship, even if you were enrolled on a part-time basis for some of the semesters. If you work part-time, you must fulfill your service obligation at a rate of two-years for each year the scholarship was received, even if you were enrolled on a part-time basis. Full-time employment is considered to be at least 35 hours per week and part-time is at least 20 hours per week.
The service obligation begins after completion of your degree program, and cannot be fulfilled prior to completion. If you hold this scholarship with any other award requiring a service obligation, you must perform your service in consecutive years.
WSSAG Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
DOWNLOAD Service Obligation Questionnaire
2017-2018 Conditions of Award Renewal (PDF)
The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant program regulations have been published online under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). Please click the following link to access the program regulations: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/COMAR/subtitle_chapters/13B_Chapters.aspx
Return to Program Description page
6 North Liberty Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 767-3300
Toll Free: (800) 974-0203 (If calling outside of the Baltimore City area)