Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant​

The Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant provides postsecondary financial assistance to eligible students currently enrolled as high school seniors who will complete a college preparatory program or a student who graduated prior to the current academic year who provides written documentation explaining why they were unable to attend college within one (1) year of graduating from high school.

How much money can you get?​

The amount of a GA Grant equals 100 percent of the student's financial need.  Students may receive up to $18,400 annual.  Funds may not be available to award all eligible students.

​What’s the Application Process?

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually by March 1st
  2. Meet the required GA income limits as noted below; 
  3. Submit all required documentation as applicable by April 2nd. Documentation received after April 2nd will not be accepted;
    Students who meet the eligibility requirements based on the FAFSA information will be notified by MHEC;
  4. Students should create a Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) account and click on their “ToDo list” to view a listing all documentation required for further consideration of the GA Grant Click here to create your MDCAPS account;
    Students who have submitted all required documents and are eligible to receive the GA grant will be awarded in mid-April of 2018.
​*Note: March 1 deadline to file the FAFSA and April 2nd deadline to submit all required documentation

Eligibility Requirements

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; audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit hours required for full-time status), degree-seeking, undergraduate student, and you must demonstrate financial need. All applicants must have a minimum, unweighted cumulative 2.5 high school grade point average (GPA) and meet the following income requirements:

2018-2019 Guaranteed Access Grant Family Income Requirements:

1 15,678 18,090
2 21,112 24,360
3 26,546 30,630
4 31,980 36,900
5 37,414 43,170
6 42,848 49,440
7 48,282
8 53,716 61,980
Each additional person add 5,434 6,270​

How Is the Award Determined​?

A GA Grant is determined by financial need. Your need for a GA Grant is determined using the following formula:

                                OSFA College Cost of Attendance
                             -  EFC + or - Regional Cost of Living Adjustment 
                             -  Certain State scholarship awards (if awarded)
                             -  Federal Pell Grant (if eligible)
                             = Financial Need

You may hold the GA Grant with all State awards, except the Educational Assistance Grant and the Part-Time Grant. The total dollar amount of all State awards may not exceed your cost of attendance, as determined by your school’s financial aid office or $19,000, whichever is less.

Enrollment Status​

Students must be a full-time student (minimum of 12 credits per term (Fall and Spring).

Is the Award Renewable?​

The GA Grant is renewable for three additional years of full-time degree seeking undergraduate enrollment if the student: 
  • Maintains Satisfactory academic progress at the college;
  • Annually submit the FAFSA by March 1st;
  • If applicable submit annually all required documentation by April 2nd;
  • Continue to demonstrate financial need

Credit Completion Requirements​

Students who receive the GA Grant for at least two years beginning with the 2015-2016 award year and thereafter must meet certain credit completion requirements as follows:
  • Completion of 30 credits at the end of the student’s second academic year of enrollment and each academic year thereafter, allows the students to renew their award for the maximum award amount; or
  • Completion of at least 24 credits but less than 30 credits at the end of the students second academic year of enrollment and each academic year thereafter, allows the students to renew their award but at a prorated amount.

Credits earned in the fall, spring, and summer semesters all count towards the credit completion requirements 30 credit requirement Click here for more information.​​​

What is the Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP)?

The Guaranteed Access Partnership Program (GAPP) provides a matching grant award to eligible Maryland students who receive a GA Grant and enroll at a participating Maryland independent college or university as a new undergraduate student. 

The Maryland institutions that are participating include: Capitol Technology University, Goucher College, Hood College, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Institute College of Art, McDaniel College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Stevenson University, St. John’s College, Washington Adventist University, and Washington College.

For more information about the GAPP program, please contact your institution’s financial aid office so that they may assist you in completing the process. ​

Renewing An Award

To renew an award, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress at the college you are attending. Students must submit the FAFSA no later than March 1 each year. Eligible students who submit the FAFSA after March 1 will be considered as long as funds remain available. You must also continue to demonstrate financial need. You may receive a GA Grant for a total of four years of full-time, degree-seeking, undergraduate study.

Students must successfully complete at least 30 credits by the end of your second academic year of enrollment and each academic year thereafter. This means that if you are eligible for either the GA grant, you must complete at least 30 credits per academic year, beginning in your second year and thereafter, in order to receive full (non-prorated) eligibility of your State grant award.

Credits earned in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, of the 2018-2019 award year all count towards the 30 credit requirement 

*** If you successfully complete at least 24 credits but less than 30 credits at the end of your second academic year and thereafter, your GA award will be prorated.


GA Counselor Certification Form 2018-2019 (PDF)​