Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for need-based Federal grants, student loans, work-study, and the McDaniel need-based grant, all students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at Our federal school code is 002109. To sign your FAFSA online, you and your parent (if you are a dependent student) must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID number and FSA password. If you don't already have an FSA ID number, apply for one now at We encourage tax filers to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing their FAFSA.

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How do I apply for Maryland state aid?

File the FAFSA before the March 1st deadline to be eligible for State of Maryland scholarships and grants. For complete information on Maryland state aid, visit

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How do you determine my eligibility for need-based aid?

The process used to determine need for federal funds is the same at every college in the United States, public or private. Using the information from your FAFSA, a formula known as Federal Methodology is applied to determine your "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC), which is the estimated dollar amount that your family is expected to contribute towards college costs. Your FAFSA data and the calculated EFC are forwarded to the financial aid offices of the colleges you indicated on the FAFSA. Your EFC is subtracted from the cost of attendance (COA) of the schools to which you have applied or are currently enrolled in to determine your financial need.

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What is the difference between need-based and merit-based aid?

Need-based aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need on the part of the family; merit-based awards are made on the basis of relevant credentials, talents, or achievements of the student and are not influenced by the demonstrated financial need of the family.

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Does McDaniel offer scholarships that are not based on need?

McDaniel offers academic scholarships determined by the Admissions Office. Students should note that these are offered to prospective students only and that the academic scholarship amount remains the same each year as long as the student maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress.

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When is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

New students and Maryland residents should complete the FAFSA before the March 1 deadline.

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What is McDaniel’s federal school code for the FAFSA?

Our federal school code is 002109.

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Should I wait until I am accepted to McDaniel before applying for financial aid?

No. File the FAFSA by our priority deadline, or as soon as possible thereafter. You must be admitted to the College, however, before we can actually award you.

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Our tax returns aren't ready. Should I wait to fill out the FAFSA?

No. The best thing to do is to complete the FAFSA by the March 1 priority deadline, even if you have to estimate your income tax information. You can correct your processed FAFSA once your federal tax returns are available.

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Do I have to fill out the FAFSA if I only want a Direct Loan?

Yes. A Federal Direct Loan is a form of financial aid, so the federal government requires you to complete the FAFSA.

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What is the difference between Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?

The government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during periods of deferment. The student is responsible for all interest that accumulates on unsubsidized loans. Visit for more information about federal loans.

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What happens after I apply for financial aid?

A preliminary EFC (Expected Family Contribution) and SAR (Student Aid Report) will be generated after the FAFSA is filed. If you provided a valid email address and your application was processed successfully, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your electronic SAR. If you have made a mistake after submitting the FAFSA, you will have to wait until after your application has been processed to make corrections. Corrections can be made through Corrections on the Web at

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When will I receive my financial aid award?

Assuming that the deadlines are met, applicants will receive their award letters by the end of March. Transfer applicants for the fall semester will begin receiving notification in May. Transfer applicants for the spring semester will be notified beginning in November. Financial aid awards for returning students are available on their Archway account in June.

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When will my financial aid be disbursed to the Bursar's Office?

Please refer to the estimated disbursement schedule.

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My family's financial situation has changed dramatically since we filled out the FAFSA. Can the Financial Aid Office review my eligibility?

Yes, federal regulations permit a financial aid administrator to use "professional judgment" to review and possibly recalculate information submitted on the FAFSA if the prior year's information on the FAFSA is not representative of the family's current situation. These situations usually involve changes in employment status, high medical costs, or other non-discretionary expenses. Contact the Financial Aid Office if your family has special circumstances that impact their ability to pay educational expenses.

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Can I apply for financial aid as an independent student?

A student is eligible for federal aid as an independent student only if he or she meets the requirements listed here.

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I do not meet the federal definition to be an independent student but I have not lived with my biological parents for many years. How do I fill out the FAFSA?

If you are able to provide documentation of exceptional circumstances, the Financial Aid Office may be able to approve a dependency over-ride to let you apply as an independent student. Contact the Financial Aid Office if your family has special circumstances that impact their ability to pay educational expenses.

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I am a new student and was offered a Federal Direct Loan on my award letter. Do I have to do anything to get this loan?

Yes. If you are borrowing for the very first time at McDaniel, you must complete the steps listed at

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I am an international student; what financial aid am I eligible to receive?

Federal and state financial aid is not available to international students. However, limited institutional scholarships are available as well as external scholarships and private/alternative student loans. More information is provided here.

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If I qualify for financial aid and decide to do a study-abroad program, will I still get financial aid?

If you study at our Budapest campus or through our exchange program in Brussels, Belgium you are eligible to receive financial aid as if you were attending the Westminster home campus. For other affiliated programs, you can receive your federal and state financial aid. There is more information about that here.

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How many credits must I take to receive financial aid?

Students must be enrolled full-time (12 credits) each semester to remain eligible for McDaniel academic scholarships and grants, as well as state funds. Students enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) may receive federal loans and grants.

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What happens if I drop or withdraw from a class?

It is important that you speak with the Financial Aid Office before reducing your credit load or changing course-grading options to audit. Your awards will be reduced or canceled if you fail to maintain the required enrollment. Courses that are audited, canceled, dropped, or retroactively dropped do not count toward the required enrollment levels.

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What happens if I decide to move off campus?

Living off campus typically costs less than living on campus. Therefore, your cost of attendance (COA) is adjusted for off-campus living or for a commuter-student status (living with parents). Changes to your housing status may, therefore, reduce your demonstrated need and your financial aid award. It is important that you consult with the Financial Aid Office before changing your housing status.

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Is there an easy way I can estimate the monthly repayment for a student loan or a parent loan?

Yes. For both student and parent loans, you can estimate monthly payment amount and total interest by going to and then clicking on Calculators.

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Do I have to re-apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. To re-apply for need-based federal grants, student loans, work-study, and McDaniel need-based grants all students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at each year. Our federal school code is 002109. Students will be notified if additional forms are needed.

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If I receive an offer of financial assistance in my first year, am I guaranteed assistance in all four years?

Students may expect the same level of assistance provided they continue to meet financial eligibility and re-apply each year. The amount of assistance can change significantly when fewer children attend college or the family income increases dramatically. Students must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Awards are for the academic year only.

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I have applied for several outside scholarships. Will my award change if I receive scholarships from outside organizations?

McDaniel College encourages students to apply for outside scholarships to supplement aid resources offered by the college. Students are responsible to notify the Financial Aid Office if they are awarded scholarships, grants, or employer-based tuition assistance by outside organizations. A copy of the scholarship notification should be forwarded to the office as promptly as possible. Unless the outside organization indicates otherwise, the scholarship will be credited 50% to fall semester and 50% to spring semester. Once you report your other resources, our policy is to repackage your award. If you continue to show unmet need, an adjustment to aid may not be necessary. Students receiving need-based assistance, however, cannot have a total aid package that exceeds their demonstrated need.

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How can I decrease or increase my loans?

You can log on to Financial Aid Self-Service to decline or decrease your loans. If your parent wants to decrease their Parent PLUS loan, they will need to complete a PLUS Loan Adjustment form. If you want to increase your loan, please complete a Loan Change Form. Both of these forms can be found on under Forms.

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What if the PLUS loan is denied?

Visit our website for information about PLUS loan denial options.

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What is verification? Why was I selected? Why do I have to send you extra paperwork?

Some students are selected for a review process called verification. The U.S. Department of Education selects students for verification using certain criteria. Schools are required to collect specific information and/or documents from the student. The school must then review the documents to verify the accuracy of your FAFSA. This process must be completed before aid can be confirmed and released.

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Why can't you talk to me about my son or daughter's financial aid?

We are required by law to enforce FERPA requirements which state that we can only disclose information to the student unless written consent has been provided by the student to share information with someone else. The Authorization to Release Information (FERPA) is available on Archway for your student to complete.

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Does McDaniel offer a monthly payment plan to help pay for tuition/fees?

Interest-Free Monthly Payment Plan Administered by Tuition Management Systems

This is a popular option with many of our students and families because it reduces the need to borrow and it gives families more control over their savings. The payment plan allows you to spread your semester charges over 5 interest-free monthly payments each semester for only the cost of a small enrollment fee. The payment plan begins on July 1st for the Fall semester and December 1st for the Spring semester. You can enroll in these plans after it has started as long as you make arrangements to pay any past due payments at the time of enrollment.

Enrollment in the payment plan provides the following benefits to you and your family:

  • The ability to spread payments out over multiple months for each term, without interest
  • Free education payment advice to help you minimize borrowing
  • Twenty-four-hour account access at or 1-800-722-4867
  • Unlimited adjustments to your payment plan budget to ensure the total of what you are paying each month equals the balance owed per semester

Please contact Tuition Management Systems at 1-800-722-4867 or visit to enroll.

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Quick Links:

Application Process

Financial Aid Self Service

Financial Aid Process

Maintaining Aid

Scholarships and Grants


Forms and Publications

Federal Work Study

Managing Your Money

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Financial Aid Terminology


Contact Us:

Financial Aid Office
Elderdice Hall
Hours: M-F 8:30-4:30pm
Phone: 410-857-2233
Fax: 410-386-4608
School Code: 002109