Financial Aid & Scholarships
Education is an investment in your future, and we know that the investment can get expensive. But here’s the good news: Every year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office provides more than $83 billion in assistance to millions of students and their families. This aid can be used to pay for tuition and fees, books, supplies and more.
Better yet, this federal service is provided free of charge. Also, help and guidance is available at the College’s financial aid offices at no cost.
You might be eligible for assistance, but you won’t know until you apply. It all starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
There are many factors involved in determining eligibility. In general, you must:
- Demonstrate financial need
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen (for most programs) with a valid Social Security Number
- Be working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program
- Demonstrate qualification to obtain a postsecondary education:
- High school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate
- Pass an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test (if you don’t have a diploma or GED, a school can administer a test to determine whether you can benefit from the education offered at that school)
- Meet other standards that your state establishes and that we have approved
- Complete a high school education in a home-school setting approved under state law
- Register with the Selective Service if you are male between the ages of 18 and 25
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school
State aid deadlines are usually earlier than federal aid deadlines, so it’s important to start the process as early as possible. Learn more about deadlines.
In general, scholarships are money for college that you are not expected to pay back.
This year, the College expects to award $7.5 million in scholarships. In addition, Bright Futures Medallion Scholars now receive full tuition at MDC. But identifying other potential scholarship opportunities can involve some digging around. Students who demonstrate high levels of academic, athletic, or artistic performance, enroll in certain majors, or fit certain regional profiles may qualify for certain scholarships. In addition to scholarships offered by the College, you may qualify for awards offered by private or nonprofit organizations for a variety of reasons. Locally, they might be offered by community organizations and clubs, churches, or even your parents’ employers.
Your campus financial aid coordinator can help you identify these opportunities. Check with your campus librarian as libraries often carry scholarship guides that can be useful. Internet searches may also yield potential scholarship leads, but be careful: Scholarship scams are unfortunately all-too-common. It is important to research every scholarship that you consider and learn to protect yourself from less-than-reputable offers.
In addition, the College also maintains a list of opportunities and a free scholarship search engine.