Need-Based Financial Assistance

0102 Lee Building
301-314-TERP (8377)


The Office of Student Financial Aid (OFSA) administers several grant programs for undergraduates. Awards are made based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Grants do not have to be repaid. Access the Financial Aid website for more information.

Federal Pell Grant

This grant provides a "foundation" of financial aid, to which aid from other sources may be added.  Only undergraduates who are seeking their first bachelor's degree and have exceptional need may receive a Federal Pell Grant.  All undergraduates will be considered for this grant regardless of when their applications were received. Students may receive the Federal Pell Grant for less than full-time attendance, although the award will be pro-rated based on the number of credits attempted. Awards range from $657 to $6,195.

Institutional Grants

The University of Maryland (UMD) grant is awarded to full-time Maryland resident students who demonstrate financial need and meet the OSFA priority application deadline of January 1.  The OSFA selects the recipients of this award based on the availability of funds and the qualifications of the applicants. The UMD grant may be awarded to undergraduates who demonstrated need.   For more information, please visit our website.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of up to $3,724 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.

To receive the TEACH Grant students must complete the FAFSA, be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate student, enrolled in a coursework necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such coursework, maintain a cumulative 3.25 GPA and sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.  Questions regarding the TEACH Grant Program can be directed to the OSFA by email at

Loan Programs

Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program

This is a low-interest-rate loan for students who attend at least half-time. Application is made through the school's financial aid office via the FAFSA. Eligibility for this loan is based on financial need, not credit worthiness. This loan is borrowed by the student and must be repaid.

There are two types of Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.  The Direct Subsidized Loan is offered to students with demonstrated financial need; this loan is interest-free while students are attending school and enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program.  Students who do not demonstrate financial need, or who do not demonstrate sufficient need to borrow a fully Direct Subsidized Loan, may borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is interest bearing.  Students borrowing a Direct Unsubsidized Loan will be required to repay the principal and any interest that may accrue during school attendance.  All students who want to apply for either Direct Loans must complete the FAFSA.  As of July 1, 2019, the Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans for undergraduates has a 4.53% fixed interest rate.  Students who graduate or drop below half-time status are granted a six-month grace period before repayment of the Direct Stafford loan is required.

The following are the maximum loan amounts per academic year: $5,500 for undergraduates with freshman status, $6,500 for undergraduates attaining sophomore status, and $7,500 for undergraduate students who attain junior or senior status.  If students do not demonstrate sufficient need to borrow the maximum Direct Subsidized Loan, they may borrow the difference in a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  The maximum borrowing limit for most undergraduates is $31,000.

Federal Direct PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) Loan

This is a non-need-based loan, which parents may borrow to help defray the cost of their dependent children's education.  The Direct PLUS enables parents to borrow up to the student’s Cost of Attendance (as determined by the school) minus all other financial aid.  Otherwise, there is no yearly or cumulative borrowing limit.  As of July 1, 2011, the student is required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for the Direct PLUS loan.  After the FAFSA is completed, borrowers must submit the Direct PLUS loan application to the school for calculation and certification of the maximum loan amount that the parent may borrow per student per year.  The Direct PLUS loan application can be completed with the Department of Education at

The Direct PLUS is granted to borrowers based on credit-worthiness as determined by the Department of Education whom the borrower selects.  The Direct PLUS loan has a 7.60% fixed interest rate.  The borrower has the option of beginning repayment on the Direct PLUS loan either 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed or not until six (6) months after the dependent student on whose behalf the parent borrowed ceases to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis. 

Self-Help (Work-Study and Employment)

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides students with the opportunity to earn money to meet their educational and personal expenses.  Money earned from the FWS program does not have to be paid back.  To be considered for FWS, students must meet the OSFA priority application deadline of January 1st. Pay rates depend on the level of complexity of the work but will be at least the federal minimum wage. Like all university employees, FWS employees receive a paycheck every other week for the hours worked.  Most FWS jobs are on campus, though opportunities exist through the Community Service Program for FWS students to work off campus at several Federal Government Agencies.  The number of hours students may work is limited to 20 per week while school is in session and 40 per week during vacations and summer break.

Paid Internships

Students with paid internships sign a contract at the beginning of the semester that states the payment amount for the number of hours to be worked during that semester.  The payment amount is advanced to the student's account at the start of each semester.  This program differs from Federal Work-Study in that students receive all "wages" at the beginning of each semester, as opposed to a bi-weekly paycheck, and those funds are applied directly to the student's account. Several offices and departments on campus, including Shuttle-UM, Residential Facilities, and Dining Services, offer paid internships.  Students should contact the department or office for which they are interested in working.