Financial aid programs are designed to assist qualified students in meeting their college-related expenses. Need-based scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans are types of financial assistance that require completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. In addition, some Maryland State Scholarships have specific application and award criteria. The Cecil College Foundation Scholarship application can be found online.
Cecil College’s goal is to make the financial aid application process understandable and easy to follow. The financial aid staff maintains a strong commitment to students and encourages responsible participation in the process. The following are a few basic guidelines to ensure that students receive comprehensive consideration for all types of financial assistance:
- apply early to be considered for all types of aid: federal, state, and college aid;
- March 1 is the priority deadline for most Maryland state scholarships; April 30 is the Cecil College Foundation Scholarship deadline;
- promptly provide all documents that are requested by the Financial Aid Office;
- regularly check your Cecil Chawk email inbox for messages from our office; and
- when in doubt, ask questions.
The following requirements must be met for students to receive federal student aid:
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
- be admitted into an eligible program of study1;
- be making satisfactory academic progress;
- not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan2;
- show demonstrated financial need by completing the FAFSA; and
- have a high school diploma, GED, or have completed state-regulated home schooling.
1 Students that have satisfied bachelor degree requirements are not eligible for Pell grants.
2 Students with student loans in active bankruptcy may not be permitted to borrow additional student loan funds
How to Apply
All of the financial aid links mentioned in this section that refer to applying for federal, state and institutional aid are conveniently organized in the student portal on MyCecil.
Once signed into the portal, students learn how to apply for financial aid as well as track the status of financial aid offers.
Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. If you are a dependent student, both parent and student should apply for a FSA ID online. Use the FSA ID to sign the online FAFSA, review and correct information, and re-apply for student aid every year. It can take up to 14 days for Cecil College to receive the FAFSA results after you receive your confirmation from the U.S. Department of Education.
*Please note, beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, in compliance of the Foster Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act (FUTURE Act) the U.S. Department of Education will be introducing significant changes to the FAFSA and aid processing. Please refer to studentaid.gov for more details.
Federal Financial Aid Programs
The federal assistance programs are designed to provide funding for students who demonstrate financial need using the FAFSA. A standard needs analysis formula, called Federal Methodology, is applied to the information submitted in the FAFSA and treats all student information equally.
Federal Pell Grant
This program provides need-based grants to eligible full and part-time undergraduate students. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the student’s credit load determine the amount of the grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This program provides supplemental funding for full- and part-time undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients. The amounts may vary from $100 to $4,000 per year.
Federal Work-Study Program
This program provides jobs for students who demonstrate financial need. Students work in various positions on campus, averaging 10 to 20 hours per week. Work-study contracts are given as funding allows.
Federal Direct Loans
The U.S. Department of Education administers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. The program provides Direct Loans for students and PLUS Loans for parents.
Under the Direct Loan program funds are borrowed directly from the federal government. Students must complete a FAFSA and Master Promissory Note (MPN), a legally binding document which describes the terms and conditions of your student loan and your agreement to pay back the funds. Students may borrow a Direct Loan if they are enrolled in an eligible program of study for at least six credits.
If you change your mind about taking out a loan, please note that you may cancel all or part of your loan by notifying a member of the financial aid staff. If your loan funds have been disbursed to your tuition account, you may cancel all or part of the loan within certain timeframes.
Entrance counseling is required of all first-time borrowers. In addition, an exit interview is required when a student withdraws, graduates, or drops below six credits. The purpose of both entrance counseling and exit interviews is to inform students of their rights and responsibilities as borrowers and to help them understand the importance of repaying their student loans and the consequences of neglecting to repay their loans as agreed in the Master Promissory Note. Repayment begins six months after graduating, withdrawing, or dropping below six credits.
To accept a Direct Loan:
- Complete the FAFSA online;
- Complete entrance counseling online;
- Complete a Master Promissory Note online;
- Complete a Direct Loan Acceptance form, located on my.cecil.edu, and submit it to the financial aid office.
Federal Direct Parent Loan
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is federal funding that parents may borrow on behalf of their dependent undergraduate student(s) who are enrolled in an eligible program of study for at least six credits. Repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. Approval is based on a satisfactory credit rating. Apply online.
Maryland State Scholarship Program
Maryland offers a variety of scholarships and grants to full- and part-time Maryland residents attending a Maryland college. The FAFSA is used to apply for most Maryland scholarships; however, certain programs require an additional application. Applications can be printed from the state’s website at www.mhec.state.md.us. Application information can also be obtained directly from the MHEC Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) at (800) 974-0203.
Veteran Education Benefits
Cecil College is approved to participate in the Veterans Educational Benefits Programs. In order to ensure the educational success of our returning Veterans, Cecil also participates in the Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans.
- New students must complete an Application for Benefits. The application can be downloaded or completed electronically online at https://www.va.gov. Once your application has been processed, the VA will send you a Certificate of Eligibility which outlines your eligibility.
- Students must submit a copy of their Certificate of Eligibility to the School Certifying Official (SCO) and are advised to schedule an appointment to discuss enrollment and benefit information.
- Students with questions about their eligibility entitlement should contact the VA directly. The toll free number for Veterans Affairs is (888) 442-4551.
- Veteran (and dependent) students with out-of-state residency status may be eligible for a tuition waiver. This tuition waiver reduces the out-of-state tuition rates to in-state tuition rates for our qualified military students and dependents in accordance with 38 ISC 3679 (c). Please refer to the “Waivers and Reductions” section of the Cecil College catalog for more information.
In addition, VA students who transfer to Cecil should have their academic transcripts evaluated for transfer credits toward their program of study. Students are required to provide official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
Veterans may receive transfer credits for military training experiences. Veterans should submit a copy of the American Council on Educators (ACE) evaluation and recommendations for military occupational specialties.
Note: Veterans must make academic progress to remain eligible for educational benefits. Non-punitive grades may result in an overpayment between the student and the VA.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Cecil College Foundation Scholarships (Institutional Scholarships)
Students are awarded scholarships each year through the Cecil College Foundation, Inc. These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of friends, corporations, and alumni who support the mission and vision of the College. Financial need and academic merit are among the eligibility criteria for selecting the awardees. Apply by April 30 each year.
All applications must be submitted online. Applications are automatically screened and matched to appropriate scholarships through the selection process. For further information, call (410) 287-1146.
Students whose applications are selected for verification must document the accuracy of the information provided in the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office may request IRS Tax Return Transcripts, W-2 forms, Verification Worksheets, and any other documents that may be needed to complete the verification process. Offers of financial aid will be made after all documents are received and the process is finalized in compliance with federal regulations.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards require that financial aid recipients must be making satisfactory academic progress in their program of study. Federal regulations require that progress be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. This means that in addition to a minimum grade point average requirement, students must complete a minimum percentage of course work by the end of the academic year.
The SAP standards for financial aid recipients at Cecil College state that:
- students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher;
- students must maintain a cumulative completion rate of at least 67 percent of total credit hours attempted/total credit hours earned. Grades of F, FX, F*, I, M, R, NG, V, W, and K are not counted as completed hours. Other grade designations may also not count as completed if they are repeated; and
- students must complete their program within a 150 percent maximum time frame. *
Students who fail to meet the SAP standards are placed on financial aid warning. During the warning semester, students may continue receiving financial aid and have an opportunity to meet the SAP standards before advancing to a suspension status. Upon completion of the warning semester a student who meets the SAP standards will be placed on a good status. If, during the warning semester, a student fails to meet the SAP standards, they will be placed on a suspension status and will no longer be eligible to receive aid. Eligibility may be restored once satisfactory academic progress standards are achieved. This will require the student to register for classes, and pay out of pocket until SAP standards are achieved. Please note that students who exceed the 150 percent maximum time frame will not receive a warning semester.
Students with extenuating circumstances who wish to appeal their financial aid suspension may do so in writing to the Appeal Review Committee. To do this, students should complete a SAP Appeal Form, attach supporting documentation, and provide a statement explaining why the deficiency occurred and what steps will be taken to ensure successful progress in the future. Statements must be signed and dated by the student and all documents should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office to be forwarded to the Appeal Review Committee.
*Please note that if a student’s total transferred credits total 25% or more of their attempted credits, the student will automatically be granted Probation approval and notified of their need to complete an Academic Success Plan (ASP) with an Academic Advisor. Note that this applies only if a student has not yet completed a SAP appeal at Cecil College.
Return of Title IV Funds
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate the federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term, the Financial Aid Office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:
Percentage of payment period or term completed equals the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term. This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
Aid to be returned equals 100 percent of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a balance to the institution.
If a student earned more than was disbursed to him or her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.
Refunds must be allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans (other than PLUS)
- Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants
Adjustments to Financial Aid
Sometimes it is necessary to adjust financial aid awards. Reasons for adjustments may include:
- dropping/adding or withdrawing from classes;
- decrease in enrollment for future terms in which aid was estimated based on assumed enrollment levels;
- receiving additional financial aid; and
- selection for verification or other clarification resulting in revisions to FAFSA data and, therefore, eligibility.
In addition, adjustments to aid cannot be made for late start classes if students were not previously registered for them by the end of the add/drop (Census) period of full semester classes. Financial aid award amounts are based on the number of credits for which students are enrolled at the beginning of the standard term. Students planning to take later-starting courses should register for them at the time they register for their full semester classes.
According to U.S. Department of Education regulations, students must be in a declared program of study to qualify for financial aid. Additionally, students may only receive financial aid assistance for courses that count towards their declared program of study. Courses taken outside of your program of study will be deemed non-financial aid hours and students will not receive aid based on those credits. Payment in full for these courses will be required by the Cashier’s Office, even if the total amount of financial aid based on other courses is sufficient to cover the cost of the non-financial aid hours. Students should contact the Cashier’s Office at 410-287-1020 to make payment arrangements for any courses not covered by financial aid.
Cancellation of Financial Aid
Many reasons warrant cancellation of financial aid. These reasons include, but are not limited to:
- default on a federal student loan;
- owing a repayment to a federal student aid program;
- incomplete verification process;
- unsatisfactory academic progress;
- non-attendance; or
- enrollment in non-financial eligible courses; or
- repeating previously passed courses; or
- enrollment in development courses beyond the federal 30 credit maximum.
Opt-Out of Electronic Communication
Any student who wishes to opt out of electronic (or any) communication to their personal email address or phone number must submit a request, in writing, to the Financial Aid Office.
Financial Aid Office
Phone: (410) 287-1003
Fax: (410) 287-1056