Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP)

Program Overview
Created by the Mississippi Legislature, this program is designed to provide tuition assistance to qualified students whose financial need, as demonstrated by federal student aid eligibility, will not be met with gift aid from other sources

Deadlines:

  • Online Application: March 31
  • Supporting Documents (including certified HELP Core Curriculum): April 30
    The dates are important as the number of awards and recipients are dependent upon available funds. Renewal applicants who apply by the deadline receive priority.

Initial Eligibility Requirements for the Graduating High School Senior:

Review the complete program Rules and Regulations: HELP_RR2014

Initial Eligibility Requirements for Students Currently Enrolled in College

  • Be a legal resident of the State of Mississippi for two years prior to application deadline
  • Be within one year of high school graduation (current college freshman)
  • Have scored a minimum of a 20 on the National ACT
  • Have a minimum of a 2.50 cumulative college grade point average
  • Attend an approved postsecondary institution in Mississippi
  • Meet income limitations
  • Demonstrate need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Not be in default on a student loan or on any repayment of state awards
  • Enroll and complete full-time enrollment each semester
  • Must be pursuing first certificate, first associate’s degree, or first bachelor’s degree

Review the complete program Rules and Regulations: HELP_RR2014

Award Amount/Length of Eligibility 

  • Tuition and required fees at a public institution
  • Participants attending a private institution will receive an award amount equal to the award of a student attending the nearest comparable public institution.
  • Max 10 semesters (15 trimesters) or bachelor’s degree completion, whichever comes first

To Apply – New Applicants:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Complete the online application.
  3. Submit the following supporting documents:
  • Residency (must document two years of residency with at least two distinct forms of documentation for the current year and one additional form for the prior year):
    - Current Year: (1) Copy of Mississippi driver’s license, unless you elected to submit it electronically during the online application (NOTE: Dependent student’s should provide parent’s driver’s license. Independent students should provide student’s driver’s license. Am I dependent or independent?); and (2) FAFSA
    - Prior Year: State tax return for the prior tax filing year. (NOTE: Dependent student’s should provide parent’s tax returns. Independent students should provide student’s tax return. Am I dependent or independent? Those that did not file a state tax return the prior year will be asked to provide other residency documentation.)
  • Household/Family Size: Completed HELP Worksheet (also referred to as the Household Verification Worksheet)
  • Financial Need (must document two years of income):
    - Current Year: FAFSA
    - Prior Year:  Federal tax return or tax transcript for the prior tax filing year (NOTE: Dependent student’s should provide parent’s tax return. Independent students should provide student’s tax return. Am I dependent or independent?  Those that are not required to file a federal tax return should submit a Federal Non Tax Filers Form for Prior Tax Year.)
  • Verification of completion of specific high school core curriculum (Note: This requirement is for high school seniors.  Submit 7-semester transcripts.  Do not wait to submit final transcripts, as the deadline will have passed.)  Download a HELP Core Curriculum Checklist.

How to Submit Supporting Documents

To Apply – Renewal Applicants:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Complete the online application.
  3. Submit the HELP Worksheet (also referred to as the Household Verification Worksheet).
  4. A college transcript may be requested if needed.

How to Submit Supporting Documents

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why must I reapply for HELP every year?
    Current legislation requires “…the board shall create a renewal application for each student who received the award for one or more terms during the immediately preceding academic year.” At a minimum, a student must file the following renewal document no later than the close of business on the deadline date.
  2. Is my grade point average (GPA) checked at the end of each semester or at the end of the academic year? Besides my GPA, what else is checked?
    The grade point average of HELP recipients will be reviewed at the end of the fall semester/trimester; however, continuing eligibility for HELP will be determined annually at the end of the spring semester/trimester. HELP recipients will be monitored for continuous full-time enrollment at the end of each semester/trimester.
  3. My ACT score is 20 (or better) but my high school GPA is less than 2.5. Will I be eligible for HELP after attending my first year of college and establishing a 2.5 GPA on college course work?
    The answer is “yes”; however, HELP awards are made annually therefore when a student has a college GPA of 2.5 (or better) after one regular academic year and meets all other eligibility criteria, that student would be eligible to apply.
  4. My ACT score is 20 (or better) but I did not complete the high school core curriculum requirement. Will I be eligible for HELP after attending my first year of college and establishing a 2.5 GPA on college coursework?
    The answer is “yes”; however, HELP awards are made annually therefore when a student has a college GPA of 2.5 (or better) after one regular academic year and meets all other eligibility criteria, that student would be eligible to apply.
  5. My high school GPA is 2.5 (or better) but my ACT score is below 20. Will I be eligible for HELP after attending college and establishing a 2.5 GPA on college course work?
    The answer is “no”.
  6. I have lost eligibility for HELP. How can I regain eligibility?
    If a student loses HELP eligibility due to less than full-time enrollment status, that student must attend and pay for, without the benefit of HELP funds, one full-time semester or trimester during a regular academic year, before regaining eligibility unless an exception for cause has been granted. If a student loses HELP eligibility due to having less than a 2.5 GPA that student will regain eligibility when the cumulative GPA is improved to the required minimum.
  7. I graduated from high school three years ago and just learned about HELP. Am I eligible to apply?
    The answer is “no”. HELP applicants must apply and qualify for HELP within one year of high school graduation.
  8. Is HELP available to me for summer school?
    The answer is “no”. HELP is available during the regular academic year only.
  9. How do I submit supporting documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid?
    How to Submit Supporting Documents

 

 

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