Processes and File Formats
As stated in the General Administration Rules and Regulations:
For continuing college students, the Office accepts the overall cumulative college GPA, as calculated and certified by the registrar at the end of each term or year. The college GPA is reported directly to the Office at the end of each term by the college in a Grade Report. A student should not submit a transcript at the end of each term unless requested by the Office. The Office will not calculate GPAs, but will accept the GPA calculated by the college.
Grades should be reported by the attending institution. The attending institution is the primary institution which administers and disburses the student’s state aid.
Grades can be reported to the Office in two ways:
- All institutions are required to submit a Grade Report at the end of each term.
- Institutions may submit grades for individual students via the Institution Secure Web Application.
State law requires that the GPA used to determine state aid eligibility include grades from “all college work attempted”. The law does not account for institutional policies regarding transfer grades and/or grade forgiveness, etc. Each institution should establish policies for calculating and reporting the overall cumulative GPA for purposes of state aid. An institution should employ the same method of calculation for reporting via the Institutional Secure Web Application as for reporting via the Grade Report.
Electronic Grade Verification
A student may be asked by the Office to submit an Electronic Grade Verification.
- The Electronic Grade Verification should be submitted via the Institution Secure Web Application by the attending institution, unless the information is already being submitted via the Grade Report.
- If the college does not have access to the previous Spring grades or the student has experienced a break in enrollment, the attending institution should report the following on the Web Application for the previous Spring term: 0.00 Term Earned Hours, 0.00 Term GPA Hours, 0.00 Term Quality Points, and 0.00 Term Pass/Fail Hours. Only the Cumulative Earned Hours, Cumulative GPA Hours, and Cumulative Quality Points as calculated by the attending institution should be reported.
- Institutions must use the same method of calculation for reporting the overall cumulative GPA via the Secure Web Application as for reporting via the Grade Report.
15 Credit Requirement Guidance:
Student Appeals for Individual Exceptions:
Students can appeal decisions related to full-time, continuous enrollment for certain reasons. Acceptable Reasons for Appeal:
- Student undergoes a significant personal event, such as a serious illness, personal injury, divorce, or death of an immediate family member. An immediate family member is defined as a parent, spouse, sibling, or child. (Historically, appeals have not been granted for students with certain learning disabilities. However, if a student submits an appeal for such a reason and provides compelling documentation from a physician, the appeal will be considered.)
- Student is nearing degree completion and does not have enough hours remaining to warrant full-time enrollment. For the 2016-17 academic year, students with 6 to17 credit hours remaining in the course of study may appeal for an exception for a single term. Students with 18-29 credit hours remaining in the course of study may appeal for an exception for two terms, BUT one semester must carry at least 12 hours and the other semester must carry at least six 6 hours. No appeal will be accepted and no aid will be disbursed for any semester carrying less than 6 hours. Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, only students with 6-14 credit hours remaining may appeal for an exception for a single term.
Steps for Submitting an Appeal:
- The STUDENT should make the appeal in writing.
- The personal event appeal should be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.
- The nearing degree appeal should be accompanied by a letter on institutional letterhead from the appropriate dean, director, or academic advisor.
- The letter from the faculty/administrator should indicate 1) the expected graduation date, 2) the total number of hours the student needs to complete his/her degree, and 3) the number of hours the student intends to take each term. A template is available for institutions to complete the requested information. The template may be completed digitally but should be printed on institutional letterhead and signed.
- There is no deadline for appeals from students. Appeals are received and considered year-round.
- The appeal and supporting documentation may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the attention of “Appeals Committee”:Mail to: Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211
Scan and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax to: 601-432-6527
Lock-step Programs Requiring Fewer than 15 Hours:
- In general, a program with a defined curriculum pathway (lock-step program) is a program in which all students in a cohort are expected to enroll in the same courses in the same sequence.
- If the institution offers a program or programs with defined curriculum pathways (lock-step programs) which require fewer than 15 hours per term, the institution should apply in writing to request an exception for all students enrolled in the program at the institution. The request should include the basic rationale, the impacted program’s name, the impacted program/major (CIP) codes, approximately how many students are enrolled and have received aid (MTAG, MESG, or HELP) in the past, and a copy of the curriculum pathway.
- Each institution should assemble a comprehensive list of programs and submit one comprehensive request, rather than multiple requests.
- Nursing in general does not qualify for the exception for lock-step programs. However, if an institution offers a specific nursing program in which all nursing students take the same courses in the same order (defined curriculum pathway), then the institution should apply for an exception for all students in that specific nursing program.
Student Teaching, Practicums, Clinicals, and other Special Terms:
- A number of different majors require students to complete a special term for student teaching, a field practicum, or clinicals. For these special terms, the institution should identify the students in such a term with a “T” (for student teaching), “P”(for practicum), or “C” (for clinicals) in the co-op field on the enrollment report. All identified students will be exempt from the 15 credit-hour requirement.
- Students in majors with a special term will only be exempt from the 15 credit-hour requirement during the special term, not all terms.