FAQs for the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA)

As of the 2022-2023 award year, qualified children of undocumented immigrants who are eligible for in-state tuition under §15–106.8.of the MD Education Article​ ​​are also  eligible to apply for various state financial aid grants and scholarships. 

Q1. Who should complete the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA)?

The Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) is available to applicants who are ineligible to receive federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The MSFAA allows qualified children of undocumented immigrants who qualify for in-state tuition under §15–106.8 of the MD Education Article to apply and be considered for certain types of state need-based financial aid, such as: the Educational Assistance Grant, the Guaranteed​ Access Grant, the Campus Based Educational Assistance Grant, the Part Time Grant, the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, the Near Completer Grant, the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Award, the Legislative Scholarship Program, and the Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship. 

Q2. What are the requirements for qualified children of undocumented immigrants to be exempt from paying the out-of-state tuition rate at an in-state institution?

The requirements are set forth in §15-106.8 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of MarylandYou should consult your institution with questions.

Q3. Will any of my information on the application be shared?

The personally identifiable information provided on the Maryland State Financial Aid Application is confidential and used solely to determine eligibility for state financial aid.  The personally identifiable information will be disclosed only as required by law. 

Q4. What is the difference between the FAFSA and the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA)?

 Students should only complete one of the applications (not both), according to the requirements below:

​1.  You are eligible to complete the FAFSA at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa if you are a: 

  • U.S. Citizen 
  • Permanent Resident 
  • Eligible non-citizen
  • T Visa holder 

2. You are eligible to complete the MSFAA if you are:

​Q5. As an undocumented student, am I eligible for state student aid? 

If you attend an eligible Maryland public or private institution, you may be eligible for various Maryland State financial aid programs. Those programs are the: Howard P. Rawlings Educational Excellence Awards Program, Part Time Grant, Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, and the Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship. For more information concerning the eligibility requirements of these programs visit https://mhec.maryland.gov/preparing/Pages/FinancialAid/descriptions.aspx 

Q6. What should I do if I’ve already submitted a FAFSA before learning that I should have submitted a MSFAA? 

You must complete the MSFAA through the Maryland College Aid Processing (MDCAPS) portal, as MHEC will not be able to use the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state financial aid. The MDCAPS portal is found on the MHEC website at www.mhec.maryland.gov.

Q7. Can I fill out the MSFFA if I don’t have a Social Security Number?

Yes. Students are not required to have a Social Security Number to submit the MSFAA. However, students will need to meet the non-resident exemption requirements as described under §15–106.8. of the MD Education Article​ to qualify for aid.​​

Application Process 

Q8.  As an undocumented student, how do I apply for financial aid in Maryland?

The MSFAA allows qualified children of undocumented immigrants to be considered for various state financial aid programs. Eligible applicants will complete the application online through the Maryland College Aid Processing Portal (MDCAPS).Note: U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens such as permanent residents should complete the FAFSA at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa . They may be eligible for federal student aid as well financial aid through the state.

Q9. When will the MSFAA be available?

The application is available through the MDCAPS portal on October 1 for the respective academic year.

Q10. Am I required to register for Selective Service?

If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25, in most cases you are required to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) and show proof of registration to MHEC before receiving state financial aid. 

You do not need to have a Social Security Number (SSN) to register for Selective Service. If you do not have a SSN, or have been issued a SSN through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, you can register for Selective Service by completing a paper “Selective Service Registration” form, which can be picked up at any U.S. Post Office or can be downloaded for print here: https://www.sss.gov/Portals/0/PDFs/regform_copyINT_1.pdf​

Q11. Do I have to wait until my parents or I file taxes to complete my MSFAA?

Yes. Under §15–106.8. of the MD Education Article​​, the qualified children of undocumented immigrants must file taxes. MSFAA uses the prior-prior-year tax information as noted below: 

Example of Prior-Prior Tax Year: 






July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021


October 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021


​June 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022

​2021 - 2022

October 1, 2020 - June 30, 2022​


​July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023

​2022 - 2023

​​October 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023



​​Q12. When is the deadline to submit the MSFAA? 

The MSFAA must be completed by the established deadline for the scholarship or grant program for which the applicant is applying. 

To view the MSFAA deadlines for the various state financial aid grant and scholarship programs click https://mhec.maryland.gov/preparing/Pages/FinancialAid/descriptions.aspx  

Q13. What if my parents live in another country and I do not live with them? 

Students who are under the age of 24 as of December 31 of the award year and do not meet any other very limited criteria, are considered “Dependent” for financial aid purposes and therefore must provide parental information. 

One parent must sign your application, even if you do not live with your legal parents (your biological and/or adoptive parents). Widowed stepparents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster parents, siblings or legal guardians are not considered your parent(s) for financial aid purposes, unless they have legally adopted you.

If you are unable to get your parent information, complete as much of the application as you can and contact your college’s financial aid office (FAO) as soon as possible. The FAO will evaluate your situation and inform you if they can override the need for parent information. MHEC does not have the authority to override dependency or financial information. 

Q14. I applied for financial aid using the MSFAA. What’s next?

After completing the MSFAA, you will be considered for the various state financial aid grant and scholarship programs. 

Several financial aid programs require applicants to complete a separate application in addition to the MSFAA to be considered. Those grant and scholarship programs are: Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship and the Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship.  To apply for these programs you must complete an application through MDCAPS at https://mdcaps.mhec.state.md.us/MDCAPS/login.aspx?c=-8586587860093499742&ReturnUrl=/MDCAPS/int/FinAid/index.aspx 

 MHEC will notify applicants in late April if they are awarded an Educational Assistance Grant or Guaranteed Access Grant for the 2022-2023 award year. 

 Awarding for the other state grant/scholarship programs will occur in the summer and eligible applicants will be notified by email if they are awarded. Your institution will notify you if you have been awarded the Part-Time Grant and Campus Based Educational Assistance Grant award. 

Students are encouraged to monitor their “Check Application Status” in MDCAPS to verify no additional information is required for any of the grant or scholarship programs for which you may have applied. If additional information is needed, be sure to submit all required documents by the deadline.   

Note: MHEC communicates with all applicants by email. Students are strongly encouraged to provide an email address that they frequently use when submitting all applications. 

Q15. I was notified by email that I was awarded a state grant/scholarship? What do I do next?

You must accept your award online through your MDCAPS account. Students have up to six weeks to accept or decline their state grant/scholarship awards. Failure to accept your award within that timeframe will result in your award being canceled and the award will not be reinstated. If you have any questions concerning the acceptance process of your grant/scholarship award, email us at osfamail.mhec@maryland.gov

NOTE: This Q&A document is intended for informational purposes.  If there are any conflicts between this document and the laws or regulations, the laws and regulations apply.  All state financial aid is contingent upon the availability of funding in the State budget.