You’ve heard the phrase “SSL hours” and know you need a bunch of them to graduate from high school in Montgomery County. But what does it mean, how many do you need, and how do you get them? Read on to get answers to most frequently asked questions. You may also visit:

What does SSL Hours mean?

SSL is an acronym for Student Service Learning. All students working toward Maryland State Department of Education diplomas must complete student service learning hours in addition to the graduation requirements of enrollment, credit, courses and competencies.

When can I start earning hours?

You can start accruing Student Service Learning (SSL) hours from the summer after completing Grade 5 continuing through middle school and high school. Yup, you heard right, you can start as early as the summer after 5th grade! So, what are you waiting for?!

How many SSL hours do I need to graduate?

Students must accrue 75 hours before the end of 12th grade. The key to earning hours is NOT to wait until the last minute. Start early and volunteer often! It’s really that easy.

Can I earn more than 75 hours?

ABSOLUTELY! The more community service you perform the better you chances for various scholarships. Also, MCPS awards a certificate to all students with 260 SSL hours upon graduation. Helping your community and those in need is a great thing to do.

OK! How do I earn SSL Hours?

Students participating in SSL address a real community need while earning service hours for graduation. SSL hours must be performed at an MCPS approved organization. A list of approved organizations may be found at:

Look for the little blue box on the right side of the page and click on the link for a listing of all approved organizations.

If there is an organization you are interested in helping but it is not on the approved list, a special activity form must be filled out and approved by your SSL Coordinator or school advisor/counselor before performing any services. Failure to obtain pre-approval may result in denial of SSL hours.

Who is my SSL Coordinator?

Each school is staffed with a school-based SSL coordinator. A link to the current listing (both new and returning) by school, under “Contact Us” on the right side of the page. Be sure to check each year as your advisor may change.

How do I document hours earned?

Your SSL Coordinator can provide you with the correct forms for documenting your SSL hours.

  • MCPS Form 560-51; Student Service Learning Activity Verification form
  • MCPS Form 560-50; Individual Student Service Learning Requests for non-approved organizations – must be completed and approved by SSL coordinator in advance of participation in any opportunity.

These forms also can be found under “Frequently Asked Questions” on the right side of the link below:

What happens if we just moved here?

Just moved here? Don’t fret! The number of hours is prorated based on your move-in date. Here’s how many hours you must accrue to graduate but remember, there is no limit on how many hours you are allowed to earn!

Students who enter MCPS for the first time in…

  • Grade 6 must complete → 75 hours
  • Grade 7 must complete → 65 hours
  • Grade 8 must complete → 55 hours
  • Grade 9 must complete → 45 hours
  • Grade 10 must complete → 35 hours
  • Grade 11 must complete → 20 hours
  • Grade 12 must complete → 10 hours

Getting started

Silver Spring Cares is dedicated to connecting individuals who want to help with local organizations in need. For a complete and updated list of organizations that are SSL approved throughout Montgomery County, visit the Montgomery County Volunteer Center.