NewsMississippi One Grant may impact how low income, minority...

Mississippi One Grant may impact how low income, minority students afford college

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Mississippi’s Post Secondary Board unanimously voted to change the state’s financial programs, which will shift how low income and minority students pay for college. 

The proposed program, the Mississippi One grant, would award students based on their FASFA and ACT scores. This could allow incoming students to receive more money, as it changes the qualifications currently required. 

This change has the potential to affect a lot of students, as the Office of Financial Aid at Southern Miss reports that “more than 80 percent of the Southern Miss student population receives some form of financial assistance”.

If the proposed plan does get full approval, the Mississippi One grant will replace the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG), the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students

(HELP) grant programs here in Mississippi.

David Williamson, the Director of Financial Aid at Southern Miss, believes the change in financial aid benefits the state and Southern Miss students.

“Fiscally, the state can’t afford to maintain [the currently running programs], so I think they need to look at a different approach,” said Williamson. “[There] are some students who are right on the border of getting help, and they miss out by maybe a couple hundred dollars.”

The Mississippi One Grant promises big changes for prospective college students looking to receive financial aid. The proposal, however, would decrease the average rate awarded to lower income and minority students. In order to fund the program, the grant would take over one million dollars of financial aid from minority students in the state. 

A’Darius McCormick covers news of the Mississippi One Grant on Southern Miss Television (0:55-3:00)

Senior Kiara Stirgus seemed disheartened by the stat.

“I think that they should keep it the same, but I think that […] they should find another way to be able to serve more students if that’s what they want to do,” said Stirgus. “I definitely don’t think it should be at the cost of black students.”

Williamson felt the numbers were unfair as well.

“The cost overall [should] not create disparity amounts for any race,” said Williamson. “[We’re ultimately] just trying to be as fair as possible to give everyone an opportunity to afford college.”

While the Mississippi One grant will not affect students currently receiving financial aid, prospective college students should expect to see changes in the amount of aid they receive.

To keep up to date on financial aid changes, visit the Office of Financial Aid’s website at www.usm.edu/financial-aid

This report initially aired on SMTV on Nov. 2, and was presented by A’Darius McCormick and Sariah Bonds. It has been transcribed by Student Printz’s Executive Editor Mary Murphy. To watch all episodes of SMTV, visit the Southern Miss Student Media’s YouTube page.

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