Condition of Awards

Students walking on campus

Conditions of Financial Assistance Awards

A summary of this information is included with the CSM Financial Assistance Notification. It is provided here as a detailed reference. Should you have comments, contact the Financial Assistance Department. You are encouraged to review the below information in a timely manner during the year so you may be informed of current  policy. FAD  strives to present the most up-to-date material for this very important topic. 

1.  Understanding your financial assistance award notification 


Your financial assistance award notification lists the name of each program from which you have been offered assistance, and the amount of that offer for each semester. "Final" award amounts are based on your enrollment status for a semester. This status is determined at the end of 100% refund date* per class.  Please see example under "Academic Credits" below. A change in enrollment status (such as full time and then dropping to half-time) may affect your financial assistance. Audited classes do not count as completed class credits, but would count as attempted.  Enrollment status definition: Full-time, 12 or more credits; Three-quarter-time, 9 - 11 credits; Half-time, 6 - 8 credits and Less-than-half-time, 1 to 5 credits for tuition and applicable fees

"Summer Semester"

Students attending the summer semester, have limited student financial assistance available to them. EXAMPLE:  Maryland state awards are not available for this session. Federal Pell Grants are available, however a determination must be made by FAD staff on the amount.  You are urged to contact the FAD office  at the campus you attend.


Determining the total credits you register for is based on the 100% refund* date per class. If the credits include mini session classes, then the financial assistance determination is "estimated" until the end of the 100% refund date* for the last class. If your enrollment status is less than 12 credits for any semester, your award may be adjusted. Visit myCSMD: To view your awards (once you have logged into myCSMD, use "Online Services" then Financial Assistance>Financial Aid Status by Term). Through "Online Services" you view how award amounts may change based on your actual registered credits. 

Example: For the Spring Semester Sue registers for 12 credits. Of the 12 credits, 6 credits are late start classes beginning March 1 and March 25.  Her financial assistance is finalized on April 1 which is the end of the 100% refund date* for the March 25th class. If she is registered for 12 credits on April 1st, then her financial assistance stands. If she drops the mini session before the end of the 100% refund* period, her financial assistance is adjusted.


If you wish to reduce/decline all or part of the assistance offered you, contact FAD within 15 days of the date on the notification letter.  This must be accomplished by writing a letter to FAD.  Simply explain to FAD which program(s) you wish to decline (or reduce) and for which semester with a dollar amount.  EXAMPLE:  You were granted a scholarship for Fall for $600.   However, due to class conflicts you are unable to attend so you send a letter stating that you wish to decline all $600 for Fall.


Student Account Services will apply your financial assistance (except Federal Work-study) to your account for tuition, fees, and books and supplies (unless you specifically state in writing to the Student Account Services office not to).  If the type of assistance you receive allows it, unused portions of your financial assistance may be disbursed to you by check to use toward other educationally related expenses.

2.  Common types of financial assistance at CSM and the minimum credit load to receive that assistance:


Federal Pell Grant: Pell Grant awards for eligible recipients are based on enrollment status. Awards differ based on whether the recipient is full-time (12 or more credits per semester), three-quarter-time (9 to 11 credits per semester), half-time (6 to 8 credits per semester), or less-than-half-time (1 to 5 credits per semester). Some Pell Grant recipients may lose their Pell Grants for a semester if they do not enroll for the requisite number of credits. Before changing your credit load for a semester, inquire of the financial assistance department what the effect of the change will be on your Pell Grant or other assistance!

Special Note for January session and Summer semester-- Federal Pell Grants: Some Federal Pell Grant recipients (i.e. those students who did not receive full-time Federal Pell Grant awards for both the preceding Fall and Spring semesters) may have eligibility remaining for Summer semester. After you have reviewed the Schedule of Classes for either and determined your class schedule/load for the session/semester, contact FAD at the campus you are attending to determine your eligibility.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Federal SEOG grants are awarded to at least half-time eligible recipients (at least 6 credits per semester).

CSM Grant: This grant requires at least half-time enrollment (6 to 8 credits per semester). CSM Grants also require the student to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) above the probation level as defined in the college catalog.

Maryland State Part-time Grant: Eligible recipients must enroll for at least 6 credits but not more than 11 credits per semester.

Maryland Educational Assistance Grant: Eligible recipients must enroll full-time (at least 12 credits per semester). 

Maryland Guaranteed Access Grant: Eligible recipients must enroll full-time (12 or more credits per semester).


Federal Work-Study: When you are awarded this program, FAD informs you of the steps you must take to be hired in a Federal Work-Study position at the college. You must enroll for at least 6 credits each term in order to continue to be eligible for Federal Work-Study. Students withdrawing from all classes during a semester are no longer eligible for this program. Consult Career Services for wage information and work schedule.


To apply for the  Direct or PLUS loan mentioned below, you must do so by:  Fall-November 1 and Spring-April 1.  This means that all necessary paperwork must be completed and on file at FAD on or before those dates.  If not the loans cannot be processed and you will not receive loan funds.  You are encouraged to contact FAD at the campus you attend to make sure you meet these dates.

Federal Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized): As part of your loan application, you have signed a legally binding "Master Promissory Note" promising to repay your loan, which is a legal debt. If you are a first-time borrower under the student loan programs, you must complete a loan entrance counseling session before receiving your first disbursement of loan funds. Further, first-time borrowers will have their first disbursements delayed at least 30 days into the semester. You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits per semester) to be eligible to receive student loan funds. If you drop below half-time enrollment before your loan disbursement arrives, you will not be eligible to receive it, and your loan will be cancelled leaving you responsible for any charges the loan was intended to cover.

Your educational expenses and the amount of other financial assistance you will receive should determine the amount that you actually borrow. 

Federal PLUS (parent)* Loans: Under this program, a parent of a dependent student borrows to help meet the student’s educational expenses. Students must enroll at least half-time (6 or more credits per semester). If the student drops below half-time status before the PLUS loan disbursement arrives, the borrower is no longer eligible to receive the funds, which must be returned to the lender. The student then becomes responsible for any charges the PLUS loan was intended to cover. Some lenders require a pre-certification before approval of the loan. We suggest you contact your lender.  

*For both student and parent loans, Student Account Services will notify borrowers by mail when their loan funds arrive at CSM.


The college believes that there are many avenues open to families that may assist them in paying for education.  If you use loans to pay for your education, it makes sense to use the Federal Direct Loan Program first.  The loan has a relatively low interest rate and (some) do not have to repaid until after you graduate from college.  For families looking beyond these loans, the Financial Assistance Department (FAD) will complete other loan applications only after the student files the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and FAD determines their eligibility for the Direct Loan program. You must apply for the Direct loan before FAD completes the outside application. Also, if you are not eligible for that program then FAD will complete other non Direct applications.

CSM PERFORMANCE AWARDS (excluding Athletic)

Performance Award recipients must enroll at least half-time (6 or more credits per semester) and must maintain a cumulative grade average (GPA) above the probation level as defined in the college catalog.


Athletic Performance Award recipients must enroll at least full-time (12 or more credits per semester) and must maintain a cumulative grade average (GPA) above the probation level as defined in the college catalog. In addition, Athletic Performance Award recipients receive an addendum to their award letter outlining the additional conditions pertaining to the Athletic Performance Award. 


The following scholarships require at least half-time enrollment (at least 6 credits per semester): 

• MD Senatorial Scholarship 
• MD House of Delegates Scholarship
• MD Developmental Disabilities Tuition Assistance Program
• MD State Nursing Scholarship*
• MD Child Care Providers Scholarship*

The following scholarships require at least full-time enrollment (at least 12 credits per semester): 

• MD Distinguished Scholar
• MD Hope Scholarships (MD Science & Technology Scholarship, MD Teacher Scholarship, and MD Hope Scholarship)*

MD Child Care Providers Scholarship: Students who were awarded this scholarship as full-time students who subsequently enroll less than full-time may have their awards reduced or cancelled. Conversely, students who were awarded this scholarship as part-time students who subsequently enroll full-time may have their awards increased, if funds are available. Recipients must be enrolled in an Early Childhood Education or Early Childhood Development program at the college.

MD State Nursing Scholarship: These scholarships cover the exact amount of tuition and mandatory fees each semester up to $1,500. If the student’s tuition and fees charges are less than $1,500, the student receives the lesser amount. Recipients must maintain at least a 3.0 annual GPA, which will be verified by the State Scholarship Administration, and must be enrolled in the Associate Degree Registered Nursing program.

MD Hope Scholarships: A list of eligible majors, by institution, is available at

3. Academic Eligibility and receiving financial assistance: Satisfactory academic progress

Eligibility for all federal, Maryland and College financial assistance, except a few outside scholarships, is subject to the college's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) guidelines as outlined here.


4. Withdrawing from classes: Return of Federal Funds

Return of Federal Funds (Pell grant, SEOG, Direct loan, PLUS loan):

Withdrawing from all of your classes (i.e. stop attending your classes) before the 60% point of each semester will impact your federal assistance!  Federal law may require you to pay back all or a portion of your federal financial aid for withdrawing.

The statutory formula requires the financial assistance department to determine what portion of federal aid disbursed has been “earned” and what portion must be considered “unearned”.

Calculation of Title IV financial assistance earned: The college must first determine the percentage of assistance earned by the student at the point in time when she/he withdraws completely. Up through the 60 percent point in time in the term, the percentage of assistance earned is equal to the percentage of the term completed as of the day the student withdraws. If the withdrawal occurs after the 60 percent point, the percentage of aid earned is 100 percent.

Calculation of Title IV financial assistance not earned: The amount of assistance not earned by the student is calculated by subtracting the percentage earned (when less than 60 percent) from 100 percent. That percentage is then applied to total amount of grant and loan assistance that was disbursed for the semester.

Difference between amounts earned and amounts received: If the student has received more grant or loan assistance than the amount earned, the unearned funds must be returned to the Title IV programs by the college or the student or both.

Responsibility of the college: The college must return to the Title IV programs the lesser of the following:

• The unearned amount of Title IV assistance; or
• The institutional charges (tuition, fees, and, in some cases, books) incurred for the semester, multiplied by the unearned percentage of Title IV grant and loan assistance.

Responsibility of the student: The student returns unearned Title IV assistance minus the amount the college returns. The U.S. Department of Education does not allow the college or the student any discretion regarding non-institutional costs. In most cases, when a student receives Title IV assistance greater than the amount of institutional charges, and completely withdraws from the college, he or she will have to return some of those federal funds.

Order in which federal funds must be returned: Whether the college or the student or both must return federal funds, there is a prescribed order as to which federal program receives returned funds first, second, third, etc. That order is as follows:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Perkins Loan
  4. Direct PLUS Loan
  5. Pell Grant
  6. Federal SEOG Grant
  7. Other Title IV Programs


Return of Federal Funds Example:

John, a freshman at the college, enrolls for the fall semester and incurs institutional charges of  $1260.  He received a Federal Pell Grant of $1000 and a Federal Direct Loan of $1260.  He withdraws from the college after completing 37% of the semester.

1.  Percent of unearned Title IV aid:

100% - 37% = 63% unearned

2. Amount of unearned Title IV Aid:

$2260 total Title IV aid x  63% unearned = $1424 unearned.

3.  Amount of aid the college must return to the Title IV programs:

The college must return the lesser of the unearned amount of Title IV aid ($1424, shown above), or the semester charges incurred, multiplied by the unearned percentage (63%, shown above):

$1260 total semester charges x 63% unearned = $794 unearned

The amount of $794 is the lesser of the two calculated unearned amounts, and the college must return this amount.  In accordance with the return of federal funds formula, this amount will reduce the Federal Direct Loan John borrowed for the fall semester.

As a result of this return of funds to the Title IV programs, John will owe $794 to the college for unpaid institutional charges.  

4.  Amount of aid the student must return:  the student must return the difference between the amount of unearned Title IV aid and the amount returned by the college:

$1,424 unearned aid amount - $794 returned by the college = $630  to be returned by the student.

John will repay $466 of the required $630 to his Federal Direct Loan Program according to the terms of his loan. The remaining $164 John must return is Federal Pell Grant funds, subject ot the 50% reduction consideration given the student; therefore John will have to return $82 to the Pell Grant program.