Common Questions

Application, Supporting Documents, and Eligibility

1. When can I apply for state aid, and what are the deadline dates?
2. I completed the FASFA. Is there a separate application for state aid?
3. Can I still apply if I missed the deadline date?
4. Do I need to reapply for the spring semester?
5. I received state aid last year. Do I have to reapply each year?
6. Will I be assigned a PIN (Personal Identification Number)?
7. What if I forget my PIN?
8. Is my application complete?
9. Where can I look at my account online?
10. Why can’t I log on to see my application?
11. When should I hear something regarding my eligibility?
12. What is an Electronic Grade Verification?
13. What documents can I submit to demonstrate Mississippi residency?
14. I completed the FAFSA as one of my residency documents, but because of my family situation I am unable to provide a second residency document. What should I do?
15. Why do I need to send a copy of my parent’s (dependent student) State of Mississippi Tax Return for the current tax filing year?
16. What if I have to withdraw from school or drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?
17. Is state aid available during the summer?
18. I am a graduate student. Are there any state aid programs available to me?
19. I am not a graduate student, but I am going back to work on a second bachelor’s degree in education. Are there any programs available to me?
20. I plan to attend a school out of state. Am I still eligible for state aid?

Awards and Disbursement

21. When should I hear if I have been awarded?
22. When will my school be notified of my award?
23. My school account does not show my award. Why?
24. What do I need to do to accept my award?
25. Do I have to pay MTAG/MESG/HELP back?

Electronic Grade Verification and Full-time, Continuous Full-time Enrollment

26. What is an Electronic Grade Verification?
27. How many classes do I have to take to get state aid?
28. What if I have to withdraw from school or drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?

FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

29. Can the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid assist me with the FAFSA?
30. Should I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive state aid?
31. I completed the FASFA. Is there a separate application for state aid?

High School Counselors

32. I’m a high school counselor. How do I apply for a PIN?
33. How can I reset my password to the Secure Counselor Web Application?

Loans – Deferment/Cancellation/Repayment

34. What form do I have to fill out to prove I am working?
35. What are Deferment Dates?
36. What are Cancellation Dates?
37. Can the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid assist me with my Federal Student Loans?
38. Who is Heartland ECSI?

Application, Supporting Documents, and Eligibility

1. When can I apply for state aid, and what are the deadline dates?

─ October 1: Application for next Aid Year becomes available
─ March 1: Online application deadline for the Nissan Scholarship
─ March 31: Online application deadline for the HELP Grant and for forgivable loans
─ April 30: Supporting document deadline for the HELP Grant and for forgivable loans
─ June 30: Deadline for William Winter forgivable loan applicants to submit PRAXIS scores and for forgivable loan applicants to submit letters of acceptance (if required)
─ September 15: Online application deadline for MTAG and MESG
─ October 15: Supporting document deadline for MTAG and MESG

2. I completed the FASFA. Is there a separate application for state aid?

Yes. To be considered for state aid you must complete the online application for state aid, available at www.mississippi.edu/financialaid. There is a single application for all programs, except the Nissan Scholarship and the Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment program, which require a separate application.

3. Can I still apply if I missed the deadline date?

No. Deadline dates are firm and required by state law. No exceptions are made to the application deadline for any reason. The application opens every year on October 1. The first application deadline is March 1, five months after the application opens.

4. Do I need to reapply for the spring semester?

No. There is only one application period for each academic year.

5. I received state aid last year. Do I have to reapply each year?

Yes. A renewal application is required each year.

6. Will I be assigned a PIN (Personal Identification Number)?

Yes. You will be assigned a PIN within five (5) days of making application. Your PIN will be sent to you in an email notification or by mail if you did not provide an email address when you applied.

7. What if I forget my PIN?

If you have lost or forgotten your PIN, you may request it again. On the Student Login screen, where you login to update or check the status of an application, click on the “Forgot your PIN?” link. If you provided an email address at the time you made application, we will email you your PIN. If you did not provide an email on your application, please contact our office and we will mail you the number.

8. Is my application complete?

Check the completion status of your student account online. From the state aid homepage, www.mississippi.edu/financialaid, click the “Check Status” button for the aid year you wish to check. You will be required to log in with your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, and PIN. Review the section titled “Outstanding Documents for the Academic Year.” If you see the statement, “No Outstanding Documents at this Time,” then your application is complete. If supporting documents are still needed, you will see a message with instructions for submitting the outstanding documents, and the documents will be highlighted. Please note that some documents may be needed by different deadline dates for different programs. We recommend that you check your student account online frequently, because changes you make to your FAFSA or changes reported by your school may change the status of your state aid application.

9. Where can I look at my account online?

From the state aid homepage, www.mississippi.edu/financialaid, click the “Check Status” button for the aid year you wish to check. You will be required to log in with your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, and PIN.

10. Why can’t I log on to see my application?

You will not be able to see your application if the login credentials do not match the credentials you used to apply. Common errors include a Social Security Number that is one digit off, an incorrect Date of Birth, or an incorrect PIN. Your PIN is included in all communication sent by the Office of Student Financial Aid via letter or email. If you have not received any notices and you have forgotten your pin, click the “Forgot your PIN?” link. Upon answering a few questions, your PIN will be emailed to the email address that Student Financial Aid has on file for you. If your PIN is correct and you still encounter problems, you will need to call the Office (1-800-327-2980 (toll-free in Mississippi) or 601-432-6997, option #5) to correct your Social Security Number or Date of Birth.

11. When should I hear something regarding my eligibility?

The process of making awards involved many steps and many players. For students with a complete application (including supporting documents), awarding begins in mid-June after all springs grades have been received from the institutions. If your application file becomes complete after mid-June, you will be notified within 2 weeks of completing your file. View the Awards Process and Timeline.

12. What is an Electronic Grade Verification?

In your student account, you may see an outstanding document request for an Electronic Grade Verification. This document is requested because the Office does not have grades on file for the previous term and cannot determine your eligibility. The Electronic Grade Verification can only be submitted by the college. To request an Electronic Grade Verification, contact the financial aid office of the college where you will be attending and wish to receive aid (may be different than the college you last attended). The college must submit the Electronic Grade Verification. You should NOT submit a transcript. The Office will not calculate GPAs, but will accept the GPA calculated by the college.

13. What documents can I submit to demonstrate Mississippi residency?

To be eligible for most state aid, you must be a Mississippi resident, and you must provide two forms of residency documentation. The preferred residency documents are the FAFSA and the Mississippi driver’s license, which can be submitted electronically during the online application. Alternate residency documents that will be accepted include the State Tax Return (NOT Federal Tax Return) for the current tax filing year, homestead exemption, voter registration, and vehicle registration.

14. I completed the FAFSA as one of my residency documents, but because of my family situation I am unable to provide a second residency document. What should I do?

Given your unique situation you should contact our office so that we may discuss other options available to you.

15. Why do I need to send a copy of my parent’s (dependent student) State of Mississippi Tax Return for the current tax filing year?

To be eligible for most state aid, you must be a Mississippi resident, and you must provide two forms of residency documentation. The parent’s State of Mississippi Tax Return is one document you may submit. Preferred residency documents include the FAFSA and the parent’s Mississippi driver’s license.

16. What if I have to withdraw from school or drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?

To be eligible for most state aid, you must maintain continuous, full-time enrollment during the regular academic year unless granted an exception for cause. Undergraduate students must enroll in and earn (complete with passing grades) 15 credit hours per semester (9 credit hours per trimester) to be considered full-time for state aid. If you withdraw or your enrollment drops before state aid has been disbursed, then your aid will be cancelled for the impacted term and the following term. If you withdraw or your enrollment drops any time after state aid has been disbursed, then your aid will be cancelled for the following term. Summer semester enrollment is not considered part of regular academic year. Examples of exception for cause may include a significant personal event, such as a serious illness, personal injury, divorce, or death of an immediate family member, or participation in a cooperative program, internship program or foreign study program.

17. Is state aid available during the summer?

Most state aid programs do not make awards during the summer. The Graduate Teacher Forgivable Loan and the Counselor and School Administrator Forgivable Loan are the only programs that provide aid during the summer.

18. I am a graduate student. Are there any state aid programs available to me?

Yes. If you are working on a graduate degree in education or in certain health-related professional areas, you may qualify for one of our forgivable loan programs.

19. I am not a graduate student, but I am going back to work on a second bachelor’s degree in education. Are there any programs available to me?

Yes. You may be eligible for the William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan. You will not be eligible for any other state aid programs.

20. I plan to attend a school out of state. Am I still eligible for state aid?

Probably not. The only program that allows students to attend an out-of-state institution is the SREB Regional Contract program for students pursuing a degree in Optometry at the University of Alabama Birmingham or the Southern College of Optometry in Tennessee.

Awards and Disbursement

21. When should I hear if I have been awarded?

The process of making awards involved many steps and many players. For students with a complete application (including supporting documents), awarding begins in mid-June after all springs grades have been received from the institutions. If your application file becomes complete after mid-June, you will be notified within 2 weeks of completing your file. View the Awards Process and Timeline.

22. When will my school be notified of my award?

The school will be notified of your award at the same time you are notified. However, the process of making awards involved many steps and many players. The Office of Student Financial aid must first receive an appropriation from the Legislature, which occurs mid-April. Then, the Office must set program budgets and gain approval from the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board. The Office must wait for all institutions (8 public universities, 15 community colleges, and 7 private institutions) to submit grades from the spring term. Only then can the Office begin to make award notices. This typically occurs mid-June. View the Awards Process and Timeline.

23. My school account does not show my award. Why?

Award rosters (lists of students who have been awarded state aid) are sent to the schools once a week detailing student awards. If you recently received an award notification, please allow at least one week for the school to update your account.

24. What do I need to do to accept my award?

You do not need to do anything to accept a grant (HELP, MTAG, MESG, LAW, NISS, or GUMS). To accept a forgivable loan for the first time, you must sign a contract and submit the self-certification form.

25. Do I have to pay MTAG/MESG/HELP back?

No. HELP, MTAG, and MESG are all grants, which do not have to be repaid for any reason at any time.

Electronic Grade Verification and Full-time, Continuous Full-time Enrollment

26. What is an Electronic Grade Verification?

In your student account, you may see an outstanding document request for an Electronic Grade Verification. This document is requested because the Office does not have grades on file for the previous term and cannot determine your eligibility. The Electronic Grade Verification can only be submitted by the college. To request an Electronic Grade Verification, contact the financial aid office of the college where you will be attending and wish to receive aid (may be different than the college you last attended). The college must submit the Electronic Grade Verification. You should NOT submit a transcript. The Office will not calculate GPAs, but will accept the GPA calculated by the college.

27. How many classes do I have to take to get state aid?

College enrollment is measured in credit hours, not classes. Undergraduate students must enroll in and earn (complete with passing grades) 15 credit hours per semester to maintain eligibility for state aid for programs that require full-time enrollment (HELP, MTAG, MESG, LAW, TES, and WWTS/WWAR).

28. What if I have to withdraw from school or drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?

To be eligible for most state aid, you must maintain continuous, full-time enrollment during the regular academic year unless granted an exception for cause. Undergraduate students must enroll in and earn (complete with passing grades) 15 credit hours per semester (9 credit hours per trimester) to be considered full-time for state aid. If you withdraw or your enrollment drops before state aid has been disbursed, then your aid will be cancelled for the impacted term and the following term. If you withdraw or your enrollment drops any time after state aid has been disbursed, then your aid will be cancelled for the following term. Summer semester enrollment is not considered part of regular academic year. Examples of exception for cause may include a significant personal event, such as a serious illness, personal injury, divorce, or death of an immediate family member, or participation in a cooperative program, internship program or foreign study program.

FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

29. Can the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid assist me with the FAFSA?

No. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is administered by the federal government. Current college students should contact the college financial aid office for assistance. High school students or adults returning to college may contact Get2College, the state’s college access partner, for free, confidential assistance with the FAFSA.

30. Should I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive state aid?

The Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP) is the only program that requires the applicant to complete the FAFSA. However, all students are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA to be considered for some institutional and private aid as well as loans.

31. I completed the FASFA. Is there a separate application for state aid?

Yes. To be considered for state aid you must complete the online application for state aid, available at www.mississippi.edu/financialaid. There is a single application for all programs, except the Nissan Scholarship and the Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment program, which require a separate application.

High School Counselors

32. I’m a high school counselor. How do I apply for a PIN?

Complete the Counselor Certification and PIN Application process. Find additional information for high school counselors here: www.mississippi.edu/counselors.

33. How can I reset my password to the Secure Counselor Web Application?

Wait. The password will reset itself after 45 minutes.

Loans – Deferment/Cancellation/Repayment

34. What form do I have to fill out to prove I am working?

To prove you are working, you should submit a Service Deferment/Cancellation Form. At the beginning of each year of employment, you should submit the form to defer payment of the debt, because you are working to complete the required service obligation. At the end of each year of employment, you should submit the form to cancel all or part of the debt, because you have completed all or part of the required service obligation.

35. What are Deferment Dates?

Deferment dates are the dates marking the beginning and ending of one year of required service, during which you will defer (delay until a future time) making payments of the debt, because you are working to complete the required service obligation.

36. What are Cancellation Dates?

Cancellation dates are the dates marking the beginning and ending of one year of required service, which you have completed and therefore fulfilled the service obligation required to cancel one year’s loan equivalent.

37. Can the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid assist me with my Federal Student Loans?

No. Federal student loans are issued by the federal government through the school’s financial aid office. You must contact your loan servicer for help with your federal student loans. If you do not know who your loan servicer is, please contact your school’s financial aid office.

38. Who is Heartland ECSI?

Heartland ECSI is a third-party vendor that services all of the state’s forgivable loan programs. If you received money from the state through any forgivable loan program, you will receive information from ECSI regarding repayment once you separate (graduate or stop out) from the program of study. Learn more about your state forgivable loan here: www.mississippi.edu/repayment.