The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid has announced a change in the definition of “full-time student” for the purposes of receiving state financial aid from 12 credit hours per semester to 15 credit hours per semester.
As of July 1, 2016, students seeking state financial aid must be registered for, and complete, 15 credit hours per semester to maintain eligibility for these state aid programs:
- The Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP) provides full tuition to all qualified, college-bound Mississippi residents who apply and enroll full-time at any state public and non-profit two- or four-year eligible college or university to pursue a first baccalaureate or first associate undergraduate degree.
- The Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) offers up to $2,500 per year to Mississippi residents who are first-time freshmen attending state approved public and non-profit two- or four-year eligible colleges and universities.
- The Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) offers up to $500 per year to Mississippi residents attending state-approved public and non-profit two-year colleges.
- Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Scholarship (LAW)
- Teacher Education Scholars Forgivable Loan (TES)
- William Winter Teacher and Alternate Route Teacher Forgivable Loan (WWTS/WWAR)
What you should do:
- Enroll in and complete at least 15 credit hours every semester, beginning with the Fall 2016 term.
- If you have already registered for Fall 2016, review your schedule. If you registered for fewer than 15 credit hours, contact the registrar.
Answers to Common Questions:
- Summer hours cannot be added to Fall and/or Spring hours.
- If enrollment drops below 15 credits before state aid has been disbursed to the student, the aid will be cancelled for that term and the following term.
- If enrollment drops below 15 credits after state aid has been disbursed to the student, the aid will be cancelled for the following term.
- Students should not report their enrollment directly to the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid. Enrollment is reported by the institution on behalf of its students.
- All credit hours for a given term must be completed at a single institution. Credit hours cannot be completed at multiple institutions for a single term.
- Students with fewer than 15 credit hours remaining in the course of study may appeal for an exception for a single term. Students with 24 or fewer credit hours remaining in the course of study may appeal for an exception for two terms.
- Students enrolled in certain programs with defined curriculum pathways (lock-step) should NOT apply for individual exceptions. Each institution will apply for program exceptions to apply to all students in such programs. Exceptions will be made for students in certain majors that require clinical, practicum, or student teaching terms. Each institution is being advised regarding how to report enrollment for such terms.
- All students, including athletes, will be impacted in the same way. In order to receive and continue to receive state aid, the student must take and complete 15 hours, regardless of whether or not the student is an athlete or on any other kind of institutional scholarship.
For more information and applications for these state programs, contact Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid at 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211-6453.
The July 1, 2016, change to the definition of "full-time student" applies only to state financial aid programs. It does not affect:
Federal aid, which requires 12 credit hours per semester.
EMCC institutional scholarships, which have required 15 credit hours for several years.
For more info, visit
Rise Up Mississippi,