College Promise: Two Options for HCC Students

College Promise programs make the cost of community college more affordable to qualifying students. Promise programs look different, depending on institution and state. Funding sources may also vary. Hagerstown Community College is pleased to offer two College Promise options for eligible students. With the HCC Promise Pathway Program (started summer, 2017) and the Maryland Community College Promise scholarship program (to begin fall, 2019), eligible Maryland residents can attend HCC with financial assistance to offset the cost of tuition and fees. While some have called College Promise programs “free college”, that’s not an accurate phrase. Each comes with a commitment obligation on behalf of funded students. Since College Promise programs are also “last dollar” programs, students receiving a federal Pell grant and who are not successful in classes may ultimately owe a balance to the college.

College Promise Info Sessions

Attend an information session to learn about the Hagerstown Community College Promise Pathway Program and the Maryland Community College Promise scholarships, the benefits, requirements, and application process.

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What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Public, private, and home-schooled high school students who are residents of Washington County.
  • Minimum 2.5 high school GPA.
  • Intent to complete an HCC credit letter, certificate or associate degree program as a part-time or full-time student.
  • Completion of the FAFSA by March 1st.
  • Demonstration of documented family financial need, as determined by the FAFSA (generally speaking, an expected family contribution of approximately $6000 or less per year).
  • Funding is determined between 10th grade and March 1st of student’s senior year in high school.
  • Has not earned a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree.
  • Maryland residents who completed a Maryland high school diploma or a Maryland GED within the last two years.
  • Minimum 2.3 high school GPA.
  • Intent to complete a Maryland community college credit certificate or associate degree program as a full-time student (at least 12 credits per semester).
  • Completion of the FAFSA by March 1st and the Maryland Promise application (Supporting Documentation) by June 15th. If ineligible to submit a FAFSA, students must qualify for in-state tuition.
  • If an applicant is single or resides in a single-parent household, their annual adjusted gross income (AGI) may not exceed $100,000. If an applicant is married or resides in a two-parent household, their annual AGI may not exceed $150,000.
  • Funding is determined by MHEC and based on financial need of all applicants; award notification will take place between June 15th and the start of fall classes.
  • Has not earned a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree.
  • Has not been awarded another educational grant or scholarship that covers the applicant’s full cost of attendance at the community college.

How soon can students become part of College Promise Programs?

  • Students may enroll as early as 6th grade as prospect students. By enrolling early, prospect students are connected to HCC and invited to attend HCC events.
  • Students will be notified as early as 10th grade, after completion of the FAFSA, if they are eligible to become funded students for the following year. 
  • Funded students will remain funded through the completion of a degree, certificate, or letter (as long as eligibility is maintained). 
  • HCC Promise requires a one-time application.
  • Students may apply for the Maryland Promise by June 15, 2019 prior to starting Fall 2019 classes. 
  • Funded students may remain funded through the completion of a degree or certificate program (as long as eligibility is maintained, applicants re-apply annually and funding is renewed by the state).
  • Maryland Promise requires an annual application.

How do you stay eligible?

  • Maintain a minimum of 2.5 GPA.
  • Complete the FAFSA each year by March 1st and continue to meet financial need requirements.
  • Continuous enrollment is required.
  • Meet with the Early College Specialist (an assigned academic advisor) as requested, register for the next semester by the published dates (typically, mid-May for the fall and mid-November for the spring).
  • Maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.
  • Complete the FAFSA each year by March 1st and the Maryland Promise renewal/application (Supporting Documentation) by specified deadlines.
  • Continue to meet financial need requirements. If ineligible to submit a FAFSA, students must qualify for in-state tuition.
  • Continuous full-time enrollment is required (at least 12 credits/semester).
  • Complete program of study within three years.

What do you get (or how much aid do you receive)?

  • HCC’s Promise will cover the balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other aid has been applied, plus a small stipend for other college-related expenses (depending on financial need and enrollment status).
  • Maryland Promise awards range from $200 - $5,000 per recipient per year to assist with tuition and mandatory fees.
  • Initial awards will be provided to recipients on a first-come, first-served basis based on greatest demonstrated financial need among all Maryland applicants.

What do you give (or to what must you commit)?

  • Students who do not attend or satisfactorily complete classes will be discontinued from HCC Promise; students receiving federal Pell grant aid may owe money back to HCC as a result of loss of financial aid and/or HCC Promise funding.
  • Students who do not attend or satisfactorily complete classes will be discontinued from Maryland Promise; students receiving federal Pell grant aid may owe money back to HCC as a result of loss of financial aid and/or Maryland Promise funding.
  • Recipients are required to maintain full-time employment in Maryland for at least one year for each year awarded. Maryland Promise awards convert to loans if the recipient fails to fulfill this service obligation.
  • Recipients are required to maintain continuous full-time enrollment and complete a certificate or associate degree program within three years. Maryland Promise awards convert to loans (payable to the state) if the recipient fails to fulfill this obligation.

How do I apply?

  • Complete a HCC Promise application, can be done as early as 6th grade or as late as March 1st of your senior year in high school.
  • Complete an Application for Admission to HCC, can be done as early as one year prior to attending HCC.
  • Completion of recommendation form and receipt of transcripts from your school principal or guidance counselor.
  • As early as 10th grade, complete the FAFSA by March 1st to determine financial need.
  • Register for classes by mid-May for your first fall semester classes.
  • Complete the Maryland Promise application by June 15, 2019. When available, the application can be found by visiting the Maryland Higher Education Commission website.
  • Complete an Application for Admission to HCC, can be done as early as one year prior to attending HCC.
  • Complete the FAFSA by March 1st to determine financial need or Complete Separate State Application by March 1st for students ineligible to receive federal aid but eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Register for classes by mid-May for your first fall semester classes.

How will I be notified?

  • If admitted to the HCC Promise program as a prospect student, you will be notified by letter from the Office of Admissions shortly after receipt of all of your application materials.
  • Funded students, as early as 10th grade, will be informed of eligibility for HCC Promise funding by the end of May. Students may begin to use HCC Promise funding for summer classes if they choose.
  • Maryland Promise award recipients will be notified by the Maryland Higher Education Commission between June 15, 2019 and the start of fall classes. Additional information is available by visiting the Maryland Higher Education Commission website.

Questions?

Contact Samantha Willard, Coordinator of Recruitment Operations and Communications in HCC’s Office of Admissions & Enrollment Management. slwillard@hagerstowncc.edu , 240-500-2340

Contact the Maryland Higher Education Commission by visiting the Maryland Higher Education Commission website or contact HCC’s Student Financial Aid Office. finaid@hagerstowncc.edu, or 240-500-2473

Both College Promise programs require completion of the FAFSA by March 1st. Complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov. HCC’s school code is 002074. For best consideration, applicants are encouraged to file the FAFSA early, starting Oct. 1st of each year, and no later than March 1st of each year.