State Aid News: including Pass/Fail Grade Option and COVID-19 Information

State Student Financial Aid: MTAG, MESG, HELP, etc. (Mississippi Residents only)

Several student financial aid programs are offered by the state of Mississippi. Some of the programs available include the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG), Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG), and Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP). These scholarships do not require a specific academic major, and are available to all resident students who meet the eligibility criteria. A complete list of programs are available at https://www.msfinancialaid.org/.

 

Application Deadlines

HELP Grant - March 1

MTAG/MESG - September 15

 

Awards for Fall 2020/Spring 2021

The MS. Office of Student Financial Aid will begin awarding students in late June for students who have submitted the 2020-21 state aid application. Award notifications will be sent via email to eligible students. Students must apply by the deadlines listed above at https://www.msfinancialaid.org/.

 

COVID-19 Resources

Due to COVID-19, students who dropped one or more courses which caused their enrollment to lapse completely or drop below full-time, will lose their state aid award for Fall 2020.  If that happens, students  may file an appeal on the basis of experiencing a significant personal event. The Ms. Office of Student Financial Aid Office has provided additional information about how your state financial aid could be impacted at https://www.msfinancialaid.org/covid19/.

 

Pass/Fail Grade Option for Spring 2020

For students who choose a combination of pass/fail and letter grades for spring 2020, their GPA will be calculated (for the letter grades) to determine their GPA. Grades of S/ P/U will not be factored into GPA. Choosing the pass/fail option will not affect enrollment hours, however can impact completed/earned hours. “S/P” grades will count toward earned hours. However, “U” grades will not count towards earned hours, therefore can impact state aid eligibility. You can view additional information on how your spring pass/fail option impacts your state aid eligibility online at

https://www.sfa.msstate.edu/important-updates/passfail-financial-aid-guidelines/.

 

Example: Student is enrolled in 15 credit hours and decides to use pass/fail option for one course (3 credit hours). The GPA will be calculated for the remaining 12 credit hours.

If student receives a “S/P” grade, maintains the minimum GPA, (earned at least 15 hours for spring) student would still be eligible for state aid for fall (as long as student enrolls in at least 15 credit hours for fall). However, if student received a “U” grade, maintains the minimum GPA, student would NOT be eligible for state aid for fall because student would not have earned at least 15 credit hours.

 

Appeals

Students affected by COVID-19 may be able to appeal. Students with 6-14 credit hours remaining to complete a degree may appeal for an exception for a single term.

No appeal will be accepted and no aid will be disbursed for any semester carrying less than 6 credit hours. Information on how to appeal the 15 credit hours can be viewed online at:

https://www.msfinancialaid.org/appeal/.

 

Multiple State Grants Eliminated

Eligible undergraduate students will receive state grants through only one state grant program. Students eligible for aid through multiple programs will be awarded the program that awards the largest amount. Therefore, students eligible for both the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) and the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) will receive MESG only. Similarly, students eligible for the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students Grant (HELP) and MTAG will receive HELP only. The state grants that will no longer allow multiple awards include: MTAG, MESG, HELP, and LAW.

 

GPA Requirements

Academic eligibility will be reviewed at the end of each semester, for all state aid programs. Students now must establish and maintain the required GPA each semester to continue to receive state aid.

 

Full-time Enrollment for State Aid

Students are required to enroll in and earn at least 15 credit hours to maintain eligibility for state aid (this does NOT apply towards federal aid {grants/loans} or MSU scholarships).

Funds that require at least 15 enrollment hours include: HELP, MTAG, MESG, LAW, TES, WWTS/WWAR. Students who complete 15 credit hours but do not earn 15 credit hours (because of failing grade, dropped class, audited course, withdrawal hours) will lose eligibility for the next semester.

 

Cost of Attendance

For students receiving state aid funds, their total award package cannot exceed the cost of attendance. If this occurs, the state aid fund will have to be reduced or cancelled.

 

Electronic College Grade Verification

Students who receive notification from the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid to submit an Electronic College Grade Verification, will need to send an email to vickie.edmonds@msstate.edu. Please include your MSU ID#.

 

For additional questions, please contact:

Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid

https://www.msfinancialaid.org/

601-432-6997 or 800-327-2980 (toll-free)

Email: sfa@msstate.edu

 

MSU contact information:

Vickie Edmonds vickie.edmonds@msstate.edu

Casey King cam216@msstate.edu