Mississippi Student Grants for College
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The state government of Mississippi understands that one of the keys to a thriving economy is a well educated populace. In an effort to make college more accessible for its residents, Mississippi offers a wide range of scholarships, grants and loan forgiveness programs designed to make a post-secondary education more affordable. These programs are a combination of merit-based and need-based awards, and are available to Mississippi residents who are attending college or university within the state. For resident students in the Magnolia State, paying for college has never been easier.
Before applying for any state supported financial aid programs, students must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine a student’s eligibility for any state or Federal college financial aid. It is also used by the majority of colleges and universities in awarding any campus-based financial aid. The FAFSA should be step number one for all students looking for financial aid to help pay for college.
General Merit-Based and Need-Based Grants and Scholarships
Mississippi provides a variety of general grants and scholarships for state residents who are struggling to meet the rising costs of a college education. These programs are designed to encourage state residents to pursue their post-secondary education at one of Mississippi’s state colleges or universities. As with all state supported financial aid, programs are subject to change according to legislation and availability of funds.
The following state sponsored grants and scholarships are currently available to resident students in Mississippi.
- The Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) – This grant is available to undergraduate students who have qualified for the Federal Pell Grant, but are still left with significant financial need. To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled in a state college or university, and must have a minimum 2.50 GPA. Freshman and sophomores may receive up to $500 per academic year, while juniors and seniors may be eligible to receive up to $1000 per academic year.
- The Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MSEG) – This merit-based grant is designed to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in a state approved public or non-profit college or university. To be eligible, students must have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5, and must have a minimum combined SAT score of 1290. Applicants must also be enrolled full time in a degree-granting program. The maximum award amount is $2500 per academic year.
- The Nissan Scholarship – Supported by a generous donation from Nissan North America, Inc., this scholarship is available to high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5, and a minimum SAT score of 940. Applicants must submit a 200 word essay on the topic: How the future and my college major support the Automotive industry in Mississippi. Annual award amounts vary according to the availability of funds.
- The Mississippi Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP) – This program offers full tuition scholarships for students whose financial need, as determined by the FAFSA, will not be met by other gift aid. Applicants must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.50, and must have scored a minimum of 29 on the ACT. To be eligible, students must be pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at an approved state college or university.
- The Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers & Firemen Scholarship – This scholarship provides financial assistance to the dependent children of police officers and firemen who have been killed or disable in the line of duty. Eligible students must be enrolled full time at an approved state college or university. The program covers the total cost of tuition and housing, and is renewable for up to 8 semesters.
Career-Specific Financial Aid
Like many states across the country, Mississippi is experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare professionals and qualified teachers. To address these shortages, the Mississippi legislature has developed a variety of scholarships and loan forgiveness programs designed to encourage resident students to pursue degrees and careers in these high demand areas. These are award-for-service programs, and participants will be required to complete a predetermined term of service working within their chosen profession at a state approved facility or community.
- The Healthcare Professions Loan/Scholarship for Undergraduates provides financial assistance to undergraduate students majoring in speech pathology and psychology. Eligible students must be a junior or senior enrolled full time in a speech pathology or psychology program at a state college or university. Participants in the program may receive up to $1500 per academic year, not to exceed two years. Loans can be discharged on the basis of one year of service in exchange for one year of funding received.
- The Graduate and Professional Degree Loan/ Scholarship is available for students pursuing careers in chiropractic medicine, orthotics or podiatric medicine. Applicants must be admitted to an approved out-of-state college or university, and must agree to serve as a licensed health care provider within the state of Mississippi following certification. The average award amount is $7000 per academic year. Recipients must agree to one year of service within the state for every year of funding received.
- The State Medical Education Loan/Scholarship is offered to students pursuing careers as physicians. Eligible applicants must be admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine, and must be majoring in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or gynecology. The program provides full tuition awards for up to four years of study, and four years of residency. Participants in the program must agree to practice medicine within the state. The loan can be discharged on the basis of one year of service for every year of funding received.
- The State Dental Education Loan/Scholarship is offered to students pursuing careers in dentistry. Applicants must be admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, and must agree to practice as a licensed dentist in a state designated area of need. The program covers full tuition costs for up to four years of study. Participants in the program can discharge their loan on the basis of one year of service for every year of funding received.
- The Critical Needs Alternate Route Teacher Loan/Scholarship provides funds for students pursuing careers as classroom teachers within the state of Mississippi. To be eligible, applicants must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree, with plans to enroll in a program leading to an alternative route teaching certificate. The annual award amounts shall not exceed the total cost of tuition and housing at an approved state college or university. Participants can discharge their loan by teaching one year in a state public school for every year of financial aid received.
- The Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program is offered to teachers holding an Alternate Route Teaching License who are serving in a state designated critical need area. Participants may receive up to $3000 per year in loan repayment funds in exchange for one year of service. Approved applicants may participate in the program for up to four years.
- The Critical Needs Teacher Loan/Scholarship has been designed to support students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in teaching at one of Mississippi’s public colleges or universities. Applicants must be first time degree seekers, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5. The annual award amount for full time students shall not exceed the total cost of tuition and housing. Participants can fully discharge their loan by working in a Mississippi school district that is experiencing a critical shortage of qualified teachers. Loans are discharged on the basis of one years service for every year of funding received.
- The Graduate Teacher, Counselor, School Administration Loan/Scholarship provides financial assistance to licensed teachers who are pursuing their master’s degree in teaching, counseling or school administration. Applicants must be under contract as a full time teacher in an accredited k-12 public school, and must be admitted to a graduate program at an approved state college or university. Approved applicants will be eligible to receive a reimbursement of $125 for each successfully completed graduate credit leading to a master’s degree in education. Participants in the program must agree to one year of service as a certified teacher, counselor or school administrator following graduation.
Resident students in Mississippi have access to some of the most extensive and valuable financial aid programs in the country. Interested students are encouraged to visit the Mississippi Department of Education’s Rise Up website for further details on financial aid programs designed to benefit college-bound students in the Magnolia state.