Financial Aid and Student Loans in Mississippi

Let’s face it: A college education is expensive everywhere in America, although if you’re planning on studying in Mississippi, the good news is that it’s the second most affordable state in the country for higher education, averaging $17,548 a year at four year universities. 

On top of that, the state of Mississippi has several financing options available. These can help qualified residents get access to a more affordable college education. Examples of such financial aid include grants, scholarships, and student loan programs.

When trying to figure out how to finance a college education, it’s always a good idea to check on any of these government aid programs first. Unlike student loans, they are usually free in the sense that you don’t need to repay them later on. Plus, you might be more qualified for these programs than you think.

To help you out, we’ve gathered some of your financial aid options if you want to attend a college or university in Mississippi. We also explore student loans a bit and how to do it right to minimize your overall cost.

What scholarship programs does Mississippi have?

Mississippi has several scholarship programs available for its residents, on top of federal aid that’s eligible for every citizen of the United States. The programs differ by the total value extended by the scholarship, as well as by the requirements to qualify.

If it’s your first time checking, it’s a good idea to look around for your options and see which ones you have the highest chance of succeeding in. You can use services such as Collegeboard,’s Find Scholarship Feature, or Fastweb. These free resources can better match you with a scholarship or grant for which you qualify.

Nissan Scholarship

The Nissan Scholarship is a program funded by Nissan North America Inc. Nissan extends the scholarship to qualified students attending a Mississippi public university.

The program amount varies year by year, but it covers all tuition and fees, as well as a book allowance. It is eligible for up to a maximum of four years, covering most four-year university courses.

Every year, the program selects one or two applicants. The criteria for this selection include:

  • Academic performance (50%)
  • Proof of financial need (20%)
  • A 200-word essay (15%)
  • Non-academic activities (15%)

The Nissan Scholarship Program has the following requirements:

  • Proof of legal residency in Mississippi at least one year before applying (driver’s license or FAFSA preferred)
  • Must be a graduating senior student at a Mississippi high school
  • Maintains a cumulative 2.5 high school GPA
  • A minimum score of 20 on the ACT or 940 on the SAT
  • Completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • A written 200-word essay
  • Plans to pursue a bachelor’s or associate degree at a Mississippi public college or university

Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Scholarship

The Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Scholarship is a program that extends financial assistance to the families of state law enforcement and firefighters who have been killed or injured in the line of duty. Those eligible include the spouses and children of said officers or firefighters.

The program covers the cost of college of the dependents, including all tuition and fees, plus on-campus housing. The maximum period covered is eight semesters or upon completion of the bachelor’s degree. Only state-supported institutions are eligible for this program.

Here are the requirements to qualify:

  • Be certified as a child or spouse of a Mississippi law enforcement or firefighter who was killed or disabled while on active duty
  • Enrolled at an undergraduate course in a publicly supported college or university
  • A 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Maintain full-time enrollment (the equivalent of 15 hours of course work per semester)

What grant programs does Mississippi have?

In addition to scholarships, Mississippi students can also apply for grants. Unlike scholarships that depend on academic performance, grants are extended based on exceptional financial need.

To begin applying for grants, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process first. It gauges your level of financial need and determines which grant programs you qualify for. Click here to know more about the application process.

Here are some Mississippi grants you can check out

The Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP)

The Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP) program provides financial assistance to students who are not eligible for aid anywhere else. It covers four years of college education in Mississippi, paying off all tuition and fees. The grant is valid for a maximum of eight semesters or until the student earns a bachelor’s degree.

Here are the requirements for a HELP grant:

  • Proof of legal residency in the state of Mississippi one year before the application
  • A minimum score of 20 in the ACT
  • Meet limited income requirements
  • A cumulative 2.5 high school GPA or college GPA (if currently enrolled)
  • If enrolled in college, should be in the freshman year
  • Enrolled or will enroll under a bachelor’s or associate degree program in a supported college or university in Mississippi
  • Completed a specific high school curriculum as per HELP guidelines
  • Qualifies for a full or partial federal Pell grant
  • Enrolled full-time in a supported college or university (the equivalent of 15 hours per semester)

Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG)

The Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) extends financial aid to residents who want to attend college in the state. The program covers any two- or four-year degree programs in a not-for-profit Mississippi college or university.

The program awards up to $500 per year for first-year students and sophomores. For juniors and seniors, they receive $1,000 per academic year. The grant is valid for up to eight semesters or until the student earns a degree.

To qualify for MTAG, you must be a Mississippi resident NOT currently receiving any federal financial aid. Other requirements include:

  • Has a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in high school
  • For those with alternative education, a GED certificate and test scores are acceptable
  • For homeschooled individuals, a signed transcript from 9th to 12th grades of any accredited Home School Program
  • A minimum score of 15 on the ACT
  • Enrolled or will in enroll under a bachelor’s or associate degree program in a supported college or university in Mississippi
  • Enrolled full-time in a supported college or university (the equivalent of 15 hours per semester)
  • Qualify for a Pell Grant based on the applicant’s FAFSA

Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MSEG)

The Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MSEG) gives financial opportunities to students who wish to pursue a college education in Mississippi. It is eligible for any individual attending a two-year or four-year course at any not-for-profit college or university in the state.

The grant covers all tuition and fees up to a maximum of $2,500. The maximum length of eligibility is eight semesters or until the student earns a degree.

Here are the requirements for an MSEG:

  • Maintains a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5
  • If already enrolled in college, a GPA of 3.5 on at least 12 college hours (but not exceeding 18 hours)
  • Score a minimum of 29 on the ACT or 1,350 on the SAT. Alternatively, the applicant must be named a National Merit Finalist or Semi-Finalist.
  • Enrolled or will in enroll under a bachelor’s or associate degree program in a supported college or university in Mississippi
  • Enrolled full-time in a supported college or university (the equivalent of 15 hours per semester)

What student loan programs does Mississippi have?

Mississippi offers options when it comes to student loan programs. However, most of these are for those who wish to pursue a career in teaching.

Teacher Education Scholars (TES)

Teacher Education Scholars (TES) is a forgivable loan program created specifically for those who are studying for a teacher’s education degree. The loan amount awarded is $15,000 every academic year, up to a maximum of eight semesters.

The entire loan can be forgiven if the individual teaches full time at any Mississippi public or charter school for a minimum of five years.

Requirements for the TES include:

  • Enrolled in any degree in a Mississippi college that can lead to a Class “A” teaching license
  • A minimum score of 28 in the ACT
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.5 (high school or college)

Private Co-Signed Loans

There are lots of private loan companies operating in the state of Mississippi. For many, it’s the last resort if they’ve exhausted all options for federal or state financial aid.

However, you might want to consider a student loan that doesn’t need a co-signer.

No Co-Signer Loans in Mississippi

Funding U offers no co-signer student loans to individuals currently in college. The requirements for receiving a loan depend upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about no co-signer student loans, click here. Note: Loans vary by state and residents of Mississippi are not eligible at this time.

What schools does Funding U lend to in Mississippi?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities. We do not lend to for-profit schools, two-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools. Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate. Because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum six-year graduation rates that schools must reach to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Mississippi that Funding U currently lends to, with additional details on which grades we now lend to, based on the school’s six-year graduation rate.  NOTE: Funding U does not offer loans to residents of the state of Mississippi.  However, if you are attending a school located in Mississippi and are a resident of another state that is eligible you may apply.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Alcorn State UniversityNoNoNoNo4075
Belhaven UniversityNoNoNoNo4763
Blue Mountain CollegeNoNoNoNo4963
Delta State UniversityNoNoNoNo3971
Jackson State UniversityNoNoNoNo4361
Millsaps CollegeNoNoYesYes6478
Mississippi CollegeNoNoYesYes5377
Mississippi State UniversityNoNoYesYes5879
Mississippi University for WomenNoNoNoNo4859
Mississippi Valley State UniversityNoNoNoNo2961
Rust CollegeNoNoNoNo3376
Tougaloo CollegeNoNoNoNo3568
University of MississippiNoNoYesYes6485
University of Southern MississippiNoNoNoNo4971
William Carey UniversityNoNoNoNo4785

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