Special Enrollment Options/Financial Aid Issues

Cooperative Education, Internships, Independent Study/Correspondence Courses, Study Abroad/Study Away, Concurrent Enrollment at Two or More Colleges, Transient Students

In general, student financial aid is available to help pay tuition and some other educational costs for course work that is taken for academic credit toward the degree program. The total number of credit hours that count toward the degree program that are taken in a semester are considered when determining a student's eligibility for financial aid for that semester. Most courses taught on campus or taught via the internet through distance education are financial aid eligible courses. However, some enrollment options are not eligible or have restricted eligibility.

Cooperative Education (Coop Work Semester)

Financial Aid is not available to help pay for cooperative education work semester expenses, nor can any credits received for participating in the cooperative education work semester be included in the total semester enrollment in determining financial aid eligibility for other coursework that might be taken during the coop semester. For example, a minimum of six (6) credit hours of enrollment in a semester are needed to receive a federal student loan. If a student is enrolled in six (6) credit hours and three (3) of these credits are received for participating in a coop work semester, since the coop hours are not eligible, the student would not be eligible for the loan. Therefore, to be eligible for a federal student loan during a coop work semester, a student must be enrolled in six (6) other eligible credit hours in addition to the three (3) coop work semester credits.


For Internship hours to be used in the determination of financial aid eligibility, the Internship must count as academic credit toward the degree program. For example: if a degree program requires 124 credit hours of course work for graduation, then the Internship must count toward those 124 credit hours. If a student was enrolled in a six (6) hour internship and the six (6) enrollment hours associated with the internship do not count as six (6) credit hours toward the 124 credits hours needed for graduation, then these Internship Hours would typically not be financial aid eligible hours. In many cases, Internships that are offered that only charge a nominal registration or scheduling fee ($25 for example) are not taken for academic credit toward the degree program and are not eligible financial aid Internships. As with the coop work semester mentioned above, to be eligible for financial aid during an ineligible financial aid Internship semester, the student would have to take sufficient other credit hours (excluding the hours associated with the internship) to qualify for financial aid during the Internship semester.

Independent Study/Correspondence Courses

To be eligible for federal student financial aid, an Independent Study/Correspondence Course must be offered and taken as a semester based course. Federal financial aid cannot be provided for Independent Study/Correspondence course work that is offered and taken in a more open or flexible time frame. In addition, State of Mississippi aid awards such as MTAG, MESG, etc. are not available for enrollment in Correspondence/Independent Study courses. Students who wish to receive federal financial aid to help pay for Independent Study/Correspondence course work should contact the MSU Center for Distance Education and the Department of Student Financial Aid to discuss enrollment options and to complete a form that is required if financial aid is to be considered.

The federal government restricts the amount of aid that can be received for eligible Independent Study/Correspondence course work. Typically, students can receive financial aid only to help pay tuition and the average cost of books for eligible Independent Study/Correspondence course work. In addition, students enrolled in Independent Study/Correspondence courses only in a semester can never be considered enrolled greater than half-time even if taking more than six (6) credit hours in those courses. Independent Study/Correspondence Courses can be added to regular courses during a semester for greater than half-time enrollment.

The table below provides examples of combinations of regular course work and eligible correspondence course work.

Regular Work Eligible Correspondence Work Adjusted Total Course Work Enrollment Status
3 3 6 Half-time
3 6 6 Half-time
3 9 6 Half-time
6 3 9 Three-quarter time
6 6 12 Full-time
2 6 6 Half-time

Study Abroad/Study Away

A MSU degree-seeking student who participates in a MSU sponsored or affiliated Study Abroad Program is eligible to apply for Financial Aid to help cover the required costs. Each program is handled on an individual program and student basis, and most costs associated with the Study Abroad Program can typically be taken into consideration when determining Financial Aid eligibility. The amount of aid received for Study Abroad is dependent upon the individual student's eligibility at the time of application. Students who wish to receive Financial Aid to help pay for a MSU Study Abroad Program should contact the Study Abroad Office within the MSU Center for Distance Education and the Department of Student Financial Aid to discuss Financial Aid options and availability. MSU currently offers several Study Abroad opportunities outside of the United States. More information about actual Study Abroad opportunities through MSU can be found on the Study Abroad web site:www.studyabroad.msstate.edu

A student planning to participate in a Study Abroad Program through an organization or school that has no affiliation or consortium agreement in place with MSU is not eligible to receive Financial Aid through MSU for the program.

MSU also offers Study Away Programs through the National Student Exchange Program (NSE) where students have the opportunity to Study Away for a semester or a year at another participating college or university, usually within the United States. There is a consortium agreement in place with all schools participating in the National Student Exchange Program. Participating MSU students remain enrolled as degree-seeking, registered students at MSU and pay full tuition at MSU at their normal rate during the semester(s) away on exchange. Room & board, and other costs associated with the exchange program are dependent upon the costs associated with the school the student is attending as a visiting student. Increases in room & board, and other costs associated with the exchange program can be considered when determining Financial Aid eligibility. Students who wish to receive Financial Aid to help pay for a MSU Exchange Program should contact the Office of the Provost and the Department of Student Financial Aid to discuss Financial Aid options and availability. More information about the NSE program can be found on the following web site:http://www.provost.msstate.edu/fsr/students/exchange/

Concurrent enrollment in two or more colleges

Basically, with the exception of a consortium agreement as mentioned above in the Study Abroad/Study Away section, financial aid is not available for enrollment at two or more schools during the same enrollment period (semester/term). If a student is enrolled at two or more different schools at the same time, only one school can provide federal student financial aid. Also, the hours taken at the other school(s) can not be counted toward financial aid eligibility determination at the school providing the financial aid.

Warning: If financial aid is awarded for a student at MSU and it is determined later that the student is enrolled at another school during the same semester/term and received financial aid at that other school, then MSU will correspond with the other school to determine which school is eligible to provide the financial aid. If it is determined that MSU is not eligible to process financial aid, then any financial aid previously awarded and disbursed by MSU will be cancelled and the student must immediately repay the ineligible funds received. The student will also be responsible for paying for the course work taken at MSU. Always discuss this situation with all schools before applying for and accepting financial aid at these schools to prevent this negative situation from occurring.

Enrollment as a Transient Student at MSU or another college

A student who is enrolled in a degree program at MSU and who chooses to enroll at another college as a transient student (not admitted into a degree program at the other college) for a semester or term and who does not enroll at MSU during that same semester or term (not concurrently enrolled) also can not receive financial aid at MSU or at the other college while taking the coursework at the other college. The only exception to this is for enrollment at the other college that is based upon an existing Study Away/Consortium Agreement Program between MSU and the other college.

A student who is enrolled in a degree program at another college but who is attending MSU as a Transient student is also not eligible for financial aid while attending MSU.

Concurrent enrollment in undergraduate and graduate level courses

Ocassionally, an undergraduate student may need less than a full-time undergraduate semester course load(12 undergraduate hours) to complete the undergraduate degree program. Some in students in this situation will take graduate level hours in anticipation of entering graduate school after graduation.NOTE: Some aid awards(such as MTAG/MESG) that require full-time enrollment (15 undergraduate hours) are not available for a mixed course load enrollment.