Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the "Keep Me Maryland" initiative and why is it needed?
A: "Keep Me Maryland" is an emergency fundraising initiative to raise additional financial aid dollars to help meet the urgent needs of students hit so hard by the economic downturn that they may not be able to stay in school.
Q: How big is this problem?
A: Students across all economic strata have been affected as their families face job loss, foreclosures, dramatic declines in college savings funds and tightened credit markets limiting the availability of loans. During the last academic year, the university received more than 900 appeals from students who were in danger of not returning for the Spring of Fall semesters. More than $1.2 million was awarded in response to their need. The pace of appeals has continued to increase during the current academic year with more than 1,400 requests received by mid-January, an increase of 55 percent over the same time last year. More appeals continue to come in every day.
Q: What students are eligible for Keep Me Maryland awards and how do they apply?
A: University of Maryland students experiencing financial distress that threatens their ability to stay in school or pursue activities related to their academic program may submit an appeal for additional financial assistance. Appeals should be made to the Office of Student Financial Aid by completing the appeal form located at www.financialaid.umd.edu under Hot Topics or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have additional questions, please contact the financial aid office at 301.405.9000.
Q: How much financial aid does Maryland normally provide?
A: The University of Maryland has a long-standing commitment to ensure that financial concerns will not keep students from pursuing a Maryland education. We make every effort to assure access and opportunity to students from a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds and have instituted a number of programs to meet their needs. See Financial Aid Facts.
Q: Doesn't the university have an endowment to help meet these needs?
Maryland funds more than $34.1 million annually in student financial assistance on top of aid from federal and state sources.
More than 26 percent of the student body receives some UM-funded aid.
The Maryland Pathways program, the only one of its kind in the nation, makes good on the university's promise to assist deserving students with the highest need, with grants and work study to reduce debt incurred to afford school. More than $3.4 million were awarded to students through this program in 2009-10.
A: The university has substantially increased its endowment in recent years, and the funds it generates are helping to meet critical needs across the campus. The level of student aid needed during today's extraordinary circumstances, however, far exceeds the capacity of our endowment to absorb for several reasons:
A large portion of the university's endowed funds have been earmarked by donors for specific purposes like recruiting top faculty or supporting research enterprises. Approximately 30 percent of the endowment is restricted for student scholarships.
Since an endowment, by definition, is a repository of permanently invested funds, we must maintain the principal and use only the earnings. This allows us to preserve the value of the endowment in perpetuity, ensuring permanent support for students and programs far into the future.
Despite prudent management, the holdings in our endowment experienced significant declines last year, similar to those of other investments around the world.
Q: How much of my gift goes directly to support students?
A: The Keep Me Maryland Fund provides direct support to students in need of financial assistance to continue their education at Maryland. One hundred percent of contributions to this fund will be used to assist students.
Q: Are gifts to Keep Me Maryland tax deductible?
A: Yes, all contributions to the University of Maryland are tax-deductible as allowed by law. All gifts in support of Keep Me Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland, College Park Foundation Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents. You should consult your tax advisor for details.
Q: What developments do you anticipate in the coming months?
A: Certainly, there is no crystal ball to predict changes in the financial markets or recovery of the national economy. We do know that we can count on the loyalty and generosity of the University of Maryland family to respond to the urgent needs of fellow Terps. Even in these economic times, individuals will continue to give to organizations and causes that they care about and where they can make a difference. We're confident the call of "Keep Me Maryland" from so many promising students will be heard.