The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid (SFA) understands the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the Spring 2020 term and created challenges for many students. We created this page to answer your questions about how your state financial aid could be impacted.
HELP Grant Deadline
The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid is unable to award HELP grants to students who missed the March 31 HELP application deadline or the April 30 HELP document deadline. Appeals based on missing the deadline date due to COVID-19 or any other reason cannot be approved. The deadline dates are official published rules, established by the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board (Board), and they cannot be extended, waived, or otherwise changed without Board approval.
Continuous, Full-time Enrollment and Appeals
Most state aid programs, including HELP, MTAG, and MESG, require students to maintain continuous, full-time enrollment. This means that students must enroll every term during the regular academic year and must earn 15 credit hours (9 credit hours at William Carey) each term.
SFA does not make determinations about credit-bearing courses. Your institution reports your earned hours to SFA each term. SFA will use the earned hours reported by your school to determine whether you are eligible to continue to receive state aid.
Due to COVID-19, if you dropped one or more courses which caused your enrollment to lapse completely or drop below full-time, your state aid award for Fall 2020 will be cancelled. If that happens, you may file an appeal on the basis of experiencing a significant personal event.
Complete instructions for filing an appeal and the appeal form are available here: Submit an Appeal. Do not submit an appeal until/unless you receive notice that your award has been cancelled.
**NOTE: Only one appeal will be considered per personal event. Any additional appeals must demonstrate a new mitigating circumstance. Students who appeal cancellation of an award for a COVID-19 personal event one term may not appeal cancellation of an award for the same reason for a subsequent term.
Grade Point Average
State aid programs also require students to maintain a certain GPA to continue to be eligible. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA for HELP and MTAG and a 3.5 GPA for MESG.
SFA does not calculate GPAs. Your institution reports your semester and cumulative GPA each term. SFA will use the cumulative GPA reported by the school to determine whether you are eligible to continue to receive state aid.
Some institutions have offered students the opportunity to receive pass/fail grades rather than letter grades for the Spring 2020 term only. You should check with your school to determine if accepting a pass designation instead of a letter grade will impact your cumulative GPA.
CARES Act Funding
Federal emergency funds are available to students impacted by COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), but SFA does not administer the funds. You should contact your school to apply for CARES Act funds.