University of Maryland Will Pay Tuition for Low-Income, In-State Students

The University of Maryland has decided to expand financial aid programs for in-state students who have significant financial need.

On October 24, University of Maryland (UMD) announced it will create the Terrapin Commitment student aid program to cover tuition and fees for all in-state, low-income Terps. The Terrapin Commitment will be a $20 million annual program that provides financial aid to students in need and will begin in January 2023.

“Since day one of my presidency, I have emphasized the importance of increasing financial support and access to our university, said UMD President, Darryll J. Pines. “Every Maryland student deserves an equal opportunity to attend the state’s flagship university, and the Terrapin Commitment program is one more measure we are taking to ensure that a University of Maryland education is affordable to all residents of our state.”

The Terrapin Commitment program is in-line with the university’s Fearlessly Forward strategic plan, which Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice commented is “to find new and meaningful ways to invest in people and communities.”

A press release from the university reads:

This Terrapin Commitment, the largest single-year investment in need-based scholarships in our university’s history, is designed to ensure that a UMD education is affordable to all residents of our state. The goal of the Terrapin Commitment program is to reduce the gap between a student’s total financial aid package and the actual cost of an education. The program will begin in January 2023 and ensure that tuition and fees are fully covered for Pell eligible, in-state students, who are enrolled full time and have unmet financial need, dramatically reducing the financial barriers to obtaining a higher education for low-income Marylanders.

How the financial aid will work

The Terrapin Commitment will apply and pay 50% of the remaining balance if “an eligible student’s funding sources—including scholarships, grants and the expected family contribution—fall below UMD tuition and fees.”

Specifically, aid will be targeted to Pell Grant students. According to The Washington Post:

Pell Grants are designed to help families with demonstrated financial need pay college bills. But the maximum annual grant, set at $6,895, falls well short of what U-Md. charges for in-state tuition and fees this school year: $11,232. The Terrapin Commitment would seek to fill in gaps of unmet need after scholarships, grants and family contributions.

The university said about 4,700 full-time students could benefit from the program.

Federal data show that U-Md. has about 31,000 undergraduates, 74 percent of them Maryland residents. Including out-of-state students, about 5,400 U-Md. undergraduates receive Pell Grants.

To be considered for the Terrapin Commitment, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and qualify to receive the Federal Pell Grant.
  • Be classified as an in-state student.
  • Enroll full-time (12+ credits) per semester (Fall/Spring).
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Read the full press release and access eligibility details and FAQs.

Read the full Washington Post article.

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