13B.08.10.03

.03 Eligibility.

A. To be eligible for financial assistance under the Educational Excellence Award program, an applicant shall:

(1) Be a Maryland resident or be eligible for in-State tuition;

(2) File the FAFSA, or the alternative application prescribed by the Office, by March 1;

(3) Be accepted for admission, or enrolled as a full-time student, in a regular undergraduate program leading to a degree or diploma at an eligible institution, or be enrolled full-time in a 2-year associate degree program in which the course work is acceptable for transfer credit to an accredited baccalaureate program at an eligible institution;

(4) Demonstrate financial need based upon the formula set forth in Regulation .06 of this chapter; and

(5) Agree to provide any information or documentation requested by OSFA for the purpose of administering the EEA and, if requested, sign an authorization for the release of information to OSFA for the purpose of administering the EEA.

B. An applicantís failure or refusal to provide to OSFA requested information, or a signed authorization for the release of information, by the deadlines established by OSFA may result in a determination of ineligibility, the cancellation of an award, or the denial of an appeal.

C. To be eligible for a Guaranteed Access Grant, an applicant shall:

(1) Satisfy the requirements of §A of this regulation;

(2) Except as provided in §D of this regulation, have an annual total family income as reported on the FAFSA or the alternative application that is at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level or, if program funding allows, that is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, for 2 years prior to the academic year for which the student is being reviewed;

(3) Begin enrollment at an eligible institution within 1 year of completing high school or within 1 year of obtaining a GED with a passing score of at least 165 per module or, if failing to do either, provide documentation satisfactory to OSFA of extenuating circumstances;

(4) Be younger than 22 years old at the time of receiving the first award, except as provided in §E of this regulation;

(5) Either:

(a) Have obtained a GED with a passing score of at least 165 per module; or

(b) Have successfully completed a college preparatory program in high school that is designed to prepare students for college level work;

(6) Either:

(a) Have obtained a GED with a passing score of at least 165 per module; or

(b) Have completed high school with an unweighted cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent at the end of the first semester of the senior year in high school and have completed high school or, failing to do so, on the recommendation of the recipientís high school principal provide evidence satisfactory to the Commission of extenuating circumstances;

(7) Except as provided in §C(3) and (6) of this regulation, be a senior in high school at the time of initial application;

(8) Except as provided in §C(3) and (6) of this regulation, submit a completed high school certification form and a high school transcript reflecting the first semester of the applicantís senior year;

(9) Whether applying for the first time or as a renewal recipient, submit all supplemental documentation requested by OSFA (other than the FAFSA, which is due on March 1) no later than April 1 prior to the award year; and

(10) Meet any other requirements adopted by the Commission.

D. OSFA may not consider an earned income credit under §32 of the Internal Revenue Code in determining the annual family income eligibility of an applicant for a Guaranteed Access Grant.

E. Prior to award year 2022—2023, an individual may be younger than 26 years old at the time of receiving the first GA award, but beginning in award year 2022—2023, an individual shall be younger than 22 years old at the time of receiving the first GA award.

F. Requirements for Students in Grades 7 or 8.

(1) Except as provided in §F(2) of this regulation, a student in grade 7 or grade 8 who applies and prequalifies for a Guaranteed Access Grant on the basis of financial need as established by the Commission shall agree in writing, as a secondary and undergraduate student, to:

(a) Satisfy the attendance policy of the applicable school;

(b) Refrain from substance abuse;

(c) Provide information required by the Commission or the Maryland State Department of Education;

(d) Apply for admission to an institution of higher education during the studentís senior year of high school;

(e) Participate in the Next Generation Scholars of Maryland Program until the student graduates from high school and matriculates at an institution of higher education;

(f) Maintain an unweighted cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent; and

(g) Satisfy any other program requirements set by OSFA, the Commission, the Maryland State Board of Education, or the Maryland State Department of Education.

(2) For academic years 2017—2018 and 2018—2019 only, a student in grade 9 who applies and prequalifies for a Guaranteed Access Grant on the basis of financial need as established by OSFA shall meet the conditions of §F(1) of this regulation.