Maryland – High School to College & Careers

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College and Career Readiness

The Maryland State Board of Education has adopted the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. To earn a diploma, all high school students must complete a minimum of 21 credits including English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, receive a passing grade in Biology and U.S. Government and, depending on the course, pass the Maryland High School Assessment and/or the PARCC. A student who does not meet benchmarks is required to complete an individualized Bridge Plan project.

College and Career Planning

High School Graduation Requirements 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

To earn a regular high school diploma, students must complete at least 21 credit units as well as a hour service learning experience or a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent. Students complete the same core curriculum requirements but have the choice to pursue an academic, advanced technology, or career-technology concentration through elective courses.

Subject Credits Required Courses

Substitutions

English 4

English I

English II

English III

English IV

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Students must also complete an Environmental Literacy Program

Mathematics 3

Algebra I

Geometry

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Beginning with ninth grade class of 2014-15, each student must enroll in a math course in each year of high school.

Science 3

Biology

Two credits must include a lab experience in any or all of the following areas: earth, life, environmental or physical science

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Social Science 3

U.S. History

World history

Local, State and/or National Government

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Health 0.5    
Physical Education 0.5    
Fine Arts 1 Visual Arts, Music, Theater, or Dance  
Technology Education 1 Includes the application of knowledge, tools, and skills to solve practical problems and extend human capabilities  
Other Credits 4 Students choose from one of two options:
• Two units in foreign language and two units in advanced technology; OR
• Four units in a state-approved career-technology program and one additional elective unit
 
TOTAL 21    

Service learning: In order to graduate, students must complete a 75-hour service-learning requirement or complete a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent.

Assessment Requirements

Maryland requires students to take end-of-course tests called the Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) in four subjects: PARCC English II, PARCC Algebra I, HSA Biology, and HSA Government. There are a variety of regulations that address whether a student need only take, but not pass, a particular HSA. The “take-only” requirements are currently instated to account for the years of transition from the Maryland State Curriculum to the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. Students graduating in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years who were first-time English 10 and/or Algebra I test takers in those school years need only take, but not pass, the assessment. For Government HSA test-takers, the required passing score of 394 applies to first-time test takers in school years 2013-2014 and beyond. Currently, students are only required to take the Biology HSA assessment, although some passing scores vary depending on the year the tests were taken.

Students may also meet the assessment graduation requirement through a “combined score option.” Students unable to meet the graduation assessment requirements through either of the previous options may do so through the Bridge Plan for academic evaluation. For further information, please see the Maryland High School Graduation Requirement FAQs.

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

High school students with outstanding academic records may enroll concurrently in college courses while in high school, typically after the junior year.

State law requires local schools to pay for up to four dual credit courses. Admissions and eligibility requirements vary based on the established agreements between districts and postsecondary institutions.  

Early Admission

Maryland’s public four-year segments (University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland) have policies that allow students to seek early admission, as long as they arrange to earn a high school diploma or an equivalent credential. Institutions that offer early admission determine their own procedures and requirements for doing so.

Postsecondary Admissions

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Regents sets minimum admissions requirements but authorizes the 12 system institutions to set more rigorous criteria. Institutions may make exceptions to the minimum requirements for up to 15 percent of their incoming classes. The state-wide minimum admissions requirements are as follows:

  • An earned high school diploma or equivalency credential
  • High school GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Completion of the Core Curriculum
  • Submission of national college exams such as SAT or ACT scores

 Required Core High School Curriculum

Subject Credits Course Requirements
English 4  
Mathematics 4

Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II

Students who complete Algebra II prior to their senior year must complete the fourth-year math

Science 3

Earned science credits in at least two subject areas

Two of three units must be lab-based.

Social Science/History 3  
Foreign Language 2

Two units in the same language

Some institutions may substitute two units of advanced technology in place of foreign language.

Total 16  

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community college admissions requirements vary by institution.

Postsecondary Placement

Statewide

Requirements vary by institution and institution type. In 2015 USM was awarded a four-year grant from the USDOE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to develop new mathematics pathways aligned with student’s major programs of study. Five USM institutions and 7 community colleges are participating in the pilot.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

The Maryland Higher Education Commission produces a biennial high school feedback report. The Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) informs school districts on the college enrollment and first-year success of their graduates. The report compares the performance of students who did and did not complete a college-preparatory curriculum and identifies factors that predict how freshmen will perform. A Commission-led workgroup revised the SOAR Report in 2014 to include new and revised data elements with the improved report scheduled for publication in 2015.

State Financial Aid

Nearly all state financial aid dollars for first-time, full-time freshmen are allocated based on demonstrated financial need.

  Guaranteed Access Grant (GA) Grant Educational Assistance (EA) Grant
Who Can Apply? High School Seniors • High School Seniors
• Full-Time Undergraduates
Initial Requirements • Maryland Resident
• Apply for federal financial aid
• File GA Grant application
• Complete the College Preparatory Curriculum (see High School Graduation Requirements)
• Enroll in 12+ credits per semester
• Maryland Resident
• Apply for federal financial aid
• Enroll in 12 or more credits per semester
Minimum GPA 2.5 GPA No GPA Requirement
Need Formula

Last Dollar Scholarship:

Take cost of attendance and subtract Expected Family Contribution, Pell Grants, and state scholarships to define financial need

Last Dollar Scholarship:

Take cost of attendance and subtract Expected Family Contribution, Pell Grants, and state scholarships to define financial need

Award Range

• 100 percent of unmet financial need covered

• $400 to $16,500

• 40% of unmet financial need at four-year institutions; 60% at community colleges

• $400 to $3,000

Continuing Eligibility Requirements

• Reapply for federal financial aid to establish level of financial need

• Maintain satisfactory academic progress toward degree, as defined by institution

• Reapply for federal financial aid to establish level of financial need

• Maintain satisfactory academic progress toward degree, as defined by institution

Priority Students with lowest federal Expected Family Contribution receive awards first Students with lowest federal Expected Family Contribution receive awards first

Students may not hold the Guaranteed Access and Educational Assistance Grants simultaneously.  Any combination of multiple state awards may not exceed $19,000 per year.

Maryland will implement during the 2015-2016 academic year, a 2+2 Transfer Scholarship (SB1215, 2014), which will provide scholarships of $1,000, or $2,000 for STEM Majors, for students who earn an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year institution.

Maryland has phase out the Distinguished Scholars Program, a statewide, merit-based scholarship program that guarantees funding to all students who meet specified criteria.

Sources

Maryland Higher Education Commission
Maryland High School Assessments
Maryland State Department of Education
MD Go 4 It University System of Maryland University of Maryland