Legislative rule cuts state college grants for thousands

Lawmakers have directed the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid to no longer award aid from more than one state grant program per undergraduate student. The state has five grant programs: the Mississippi Tuition Grant (MTAG), the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG), the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP), the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Scholarship (LAW) and Nissan Scholarship. Right now, enrollees who qualify for more than one of the state’s program can receive additional grants, a practice known as “stacking.”

Award amounts for state grants range from covering full tuition (HELP) to providing between $250-$500 per semester (MTAG).

Under the new changes, if a student is eligible for more than one grant program, the student will receive aid through the program that will award the larger amount. That would mean a junior currently receiving an MTAG grant worth $1,000 and an MESG grant worth $2,500 would receive only the latter next year, coming up short $1,000.

The state College Board estimates the reduction will impact 3,400 students.

Clarion Ledger