College is a major investment for students and their families. As a public, state university, the University of Maryland is a more affordable option than many other colleges and universities, but many students and families still need financial assistance to help afford a college education.
All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education, but how much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation—and is what is referred to as your Expected Family Contribution or EFC. Every student should complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Financial Student Aid. FAFSA is the application used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution and eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs. To be considered for federal financial aid, you must complete and submit a FAFSA. Submitting this application gives you access to the largest pool of financial aid dollars and loans with the best terms.
The University of Maryland offers many forms of financial aid, including merit- and need-based scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment (also known as Federal Work Study). Information about how to apply for financial aid at UMD is available on the Financial Aid/Scholarships section of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website.
The School of Public Health also provides some scholarships for undergraduate students in need, including:
The Jerry P. Wrenn Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship was established to honor Dr. Jerry P. Wrenn. Dr. Wrenn was a faculty member, student advisor, assistant/associate dean of student services, and finally dean of the College of Health and Human Performance (which became the School of Public Health), where his commitment to undergraduate education was well-known. Each year, this Scholarship helps fund outstanding SPH seniors who demonstrate financial need. The Jerry P. Wrenn Endowed Scholarship was originally established in 2008. Since the beginning, it has provided assistance for eight to 10 SPH students per year. Students in all SPH degree programs, including Public Health Science students at Shady Grove, are eligible to apply for a Wrenn scholarship if they meet the academic requirements.
School of Public Health Student Emergency Scholarship
This emergency fund was established to help keep current students when they are confronted with a financial emergency that could prevent them from remaining in school. The funds are used to respond to immediate financial situations that directly impact the student's ability to attend and function in classes. In response to current economic conditions, this special emergency fund was established and has already been able to provide immediate assistance to help keep students in school.
Other strategies for identifying financial support to afford college include applying for national grants, local scholarships, and public service programs. National grants include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, and National SMART Grants. Ask your guidance counselor for assistance identifying other grant programs. Many local civic and religious institutions often have financial aid available in the form of scholarships. Contact those organizations in your home community and with which you and your family are involved to learn what is available. Finally, public service programs, such as Peace Corp, AmeriCorps, National Health Services Corps, and ROTC programs offer college money in exchange for a service commitment after college. Explore these options to see if one might fit with your academic and career goals.
As with undergraduate education, many students fund their graduate education through a combination of financial support strategies. These might include loans, grants, scholarships, employer assistance, fellowships or traineeships, and teaching or research assistantships. Each type of financial support has different restrictions for use and/or conditions that must be satisfied in order to retain the financial assistance. Take the time to understand each and every type of financial aid award option.
All prospective graduate students should take time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Yes, it’s for graduate students, too! The FAFSA is used to determine your financial need for other forms of aid, too. While the deadline for submission is June 30, the earlier the application is filed, the better the financial aid package an applicant is likely to be offered, and the lower the interest rates. Prospective graduate students should work with the financial aid office of the university to evaluate the recommendations and make the best decisions for themselves.
Prospective graduate students should also seek out fellowships, traineeships, and teaching/research assistantships available through the department in which they will study and the university they will attend. At the University of Maryland, departments and programs may have fellowship or assistantship funds separate from those available through the University of Maryland Graduate School. Contact the director of the individual graduate programs for departmental funding opportunities, and the University of Maryland Graduate School for other fellowship opportunities.