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Paying for College

Various merit scholarships and need-based financial aid options are available to UMBC students. This chapter explains both options and how to apply for assistance.

Need-based Student Financial Aid

UMBC assists students in meeting educational expenses by administering and coordinating various federal, state and institutional student aid programs, including grants, scholarships, loans and paid employment.
Grants and scholarships are considered “gift aid” and require no repayment. Loans and employment programs are considered “self-help” aid.

Educational loans, offered at low-interest rates, are generally required to be repaid after leaving UMBC. Employment programs allow students to earn an hourly wage for work performed at an approved job assignment.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships administers various federal financial aid programs solely on the basis of need. UMBC determines the types and amount of aid students may receive by evaluating each student’s financial need and the availability of funds.

How and When to Apply

Students who wish to be considered for need-based aid must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online at

We strongly encourage students and parents to complete the FAFSA application online. Online applications are processed up to two weeks faster than paper applications and the online process has built-in edits that eliminate commonly made mistakes. Limited quantities of paper applications are available in high school guidance offices and public libraries for families without access to a computer.

The FAFSA should be completed each year no later than February 14 to be considered for priority awarding of limited funds available at UMBC.  You must include UMBC’s school code of 002105 on the FAFSA to ensure that UMBC receives your FAFSA results.  Eligible students receive awards on a first-come, first-served basis.

UMBC will continue to consider FAFSA applications completed and submitted after February 14; however, funding assistance from some programs may no longer be available.

Families may be asked to provide documentation such as federal tax returns, proof of citizenship, etc to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to verify information provided on the FAFSA. It is extremely important for students to respond promptly to all requests for additional information. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of the student’s financial aid awards.

Continuing students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to continue to receive financial aid at UMBC. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships SAP standards conform to federal policy regarding continued eligibility for financial aid.

It is important to note that the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships SAP standards differ from UMBC academic standards.  SAP standards may be reviewed at and academic standards at .

For additional information, please visit our Website at  If you have questions, please call or visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 410-455-2387 or by e-mail at

Our campus address for in-person visits and correspondence is:
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250


Merit Scholarships

UMBC offers merit scholarships to incoming freshmen and community college transfers.

Freshman Scholarships
Freshman merit awards at UMBC range from $500 per year to $22,000 per year.  These scholarships are awarded to students with exceptional academic or artistic talent.  Most of the merit scholarships do not take financial need into account.

When an outstanding student is admitted to the university, his or her name is submitted by the Office of Admissions to the Scholarship Committee for review.  If selected for a general merit scholarship, the student is notified in the spring.

Merit Scholarships at UMBC are competitive.  Students are encouraged to apply for admission by November 1 to ensure full consideration.  Merit scholarships are available to both Maryland residents and out-of-state students.
Merit awards may be renewed up to four years provided the scholar remains full-time enrolled and continues to meet the maintenance requirements for their specific scholarship.

Freshman Scholar Programs
In addition to general scholarship opportunities, UMBC also supports six scholar program opportunities.  These programs do require separate application.

  • Center for Women and Information Technology [CWIT] Scholars Program
  • Humanities Scholars Program
  • Linehan Artist Scholars Program
  • Meyerhoff Scholars Program
  • Sherman Teacher Education Scholars Program
  • Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program

For additional information on freshman scholarship opportunities, please refer to our  web site at .

Transfer Scholarships
UMBC offers academic scholarships for community college transfers.  No separate application is required. These awards are competitive, and we recommend that transfers apply by March 1 [for fall] and by November 1 [for spring] for full consideration.  In order to be reviewed, candidates must have at minimum 3.5 overall college average and at least 35 credits completed at the time of application.

For additional information on transfer scholarships, please go to our web site at

Athletic Scholarships

UMBC, an NCAA Division I campus, offers athletic scholarships in all 19 of its sports programs. Additional information can be obtained by writing or calling UMBC’s athletics department at 410-455-2216.

Scholarships for Current Students
Scholarship Retriever is an online database that helps current students identify scholarship opportunities outside of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. These scholarships are either sponsored by UMBC departments or sources outside of UMBC for UMBC students. Please visit our Web site  and click on Scholarships to access the database.

Veteran’s Benefits

The Veterans Affairs Office is located in the Office of the Registrar. Eligible students must contact the VA office prior to each semester to ensure sufficient time to process of educational benefits.

UMBC does not have advance payment. Veterans must pay of all tuition, fees and textbook costs. These charges will not be deferred because of nonreceipt of VA checks.

Monthly Payment Plan

UMBC offers a monthly payment plan that allows students to pay university expenses in regular monthly installments. For information about the plan, visit