MESG – Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant
Created by the Mississippi Legislature, this program is designed to provide financial assistance to Mississippi residents attending state approved public and private not-for-profit two-year and four-year eligible colleges and universities. The primary objective of MESG is to provide educational opportunities for high-achieving high school students who wish to pursue postsecondary education in the state.
Rules and Regulations:
Application Dates: October 1 – September 15
Supporting Documents Deadline: October 15 (following September 15 application deadline)
Eligibility Requirements for Entering Freshmen:
- Be a legal resident of the State of Mississippi for one year prior to high school or Home School completion.
- Earn a high school cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. (Home School applicants must submit a signed transcript of 9th through 12th grades.)
- Score a minimum of a 29 on the National ACT (1350 on the SAT), or be named a National Merit Finalist or Semi-Finalist. ACT Superscores are accepted.
- Enroll full-time at an approved postsecondary institution in Mississippi in a program of study leading to a first certificate, first associate’s or first bachelor’s degree.
Eligibility Requirements for Students Currently Enrolled in College:
- Meet all the eligibility requirements of the entering freshman and apply within three years of high school graduation.
- Have a minimum 3.5 cumulative college GPA on at least 12 completed college hours but no more than 18 completed college hours.
- Attend an approved postsecondary institution in Mississippi in a program of study leading to a first certificate, first associate’s, or first bachelor’s degree.
- Enroll full-time and maintain full-time enrollment (complete with passing grades) each semester. Full-time enrollment is 15 hours per semester or 9 hours per trimester.
MESG awards up to $2,500 per academic year, but awards may not exceed tuition and required fees.
Maximum Length of Eligibility:
A recipient may receive MESG up to 8 semesters (12 trimesters) or degree completion, whichever comes first.
(Note: No student may receive undergraduate grant aid through more than one state-supported undergraduate grant program in the same term of enrollment. If a student is eligible for aid through multiple grant programs, the student shall be awarded from the program that awards the larger sum. No student shall receive undergraduate grant aid from any program or any combination of programs for more than eight semesters or twelve trimesters.)
- Complete the online application. The online application must be completed each and every academic year for which the applicant seeks aid.
- Submit required supporting documents. New applicants and some renewal applicants with a break in enrollment will be required to submit two forms of residency documentation:
Preferred Residency Documents:
- Mississippi driver’s license (can be submitted electronically during the online application)
Alternate Residency Documents Accepted:
- State Tax Return (NOT Federal) for the current tax filing year. Dependent students would provide a signed copy of the first two pages of the parent’s return. Independent students would provide a signed copy of the student’s return. Am I dependent or independent?
- Homestead Exemption
- Voter Registration
- Vehicle Registration
Note: Our office receives FAFSA results electronically for all Mississippi residents. When possible, the state tax return or Mississippi driver’s license pending document will be replaced by the FAFSA.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What if I have to withdraw from school during a semester?
A student must maintain continuous full-time enrollment during the fall, winter (for trimester schools only), and spring during each successive academic year, unless granted an exception for cause. Examples of exception for cause may include personal injury or death of an immediate family member, participation in a cooperative program, internship program or foreign study program. If a recipient fails to maintain continuous full-time enrollment, unless granted an exception for cause, that student is ineligible to receive funds during the next semester or trimester of full-time enrollment of a regular academic year. Summer semester enrollment is not considered part of the regular academic year.
- What if I drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?
A student must maintain full-time enrollment. If a student drops below full-time status during a semester or trimester of the academic year, that student is ineligible to receive funds during the next semester or trimester of full-time enrollment of a regular academic year.
- Why must I reapply every year?
Current legislation requires “…the board shall create a renewal application for each student who received the award for one or more terms during the immediately preceding academic year.” At a minimum, a student must file the following renewal document no later than the close of business on the deadline date: online application.
- Why must I sign off on the Statements of Certification as part of the application process?
Additionally, the legislation states that “…Each student, each year, must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form or a Statement of Certification as designed by the administering board to determine his/her eligibility…”. The Statement of Certification was developed as an alternative to the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for those students and parents who feel that they will not qualify for the federal Pell Grant. Be sure to read the certification statements carefully on the web application.
- Is my GPA checked at the end of each semester or at the end of the academic year? Besides my GPA, what else is checked?
Continuing eligibility for MESG will be evaluated at the end of each semester/trimester of the regular academic year. Cumulative grades (3.5 required) and continuous full-time enrollment will be evaluated.
- I’m enrolling in a vocational or technical course of study. Am I still eligible?
Yes. The legislation governing MESG allows students who are enrolling in Vocational or Technical programs to receive MESG awards if those students meet the entrance requirements of that particular community/junior college and maintain the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, as certified by the school’s registrar. The student must meet the high school GPA and ACT score requirements also.
- My ACT score is 29 or better, but my high school GPA is less than 3.5. Will I be eligible for MESG after attending college and establishing a 3.5 GPA on college course work? If my high school GPA is 3.5 or better but my ACT score is below 29, will I ever be eligible for MESG?
No and no. MESG recipients must qualify as a high school senior meeting both the ACT score of 29 or better and high school GPA of 3.5 or better.
- I have lost eligibility for MESG. How can I regain eligibility?
If a student loses MESG eligibility due to less than full-time enrollment status, that student must attend, without the benefit of MESG funds, one full-time semester or trimester during a regular academic year, before regaining eligibility unless an exception for cause has been granted. If a student loses MESG eligibility due to having less than a 3.5 GPA, that student will regain eligibility when the cumulative GPA is improved to the required minimum.
- Is MESG available to me for summer school?
No. MESG is available during the regular academic year only.
- My MESG award was canceled because my institution reported that I was not enrolled full-time. Can the MESG award be reinstated?
Yes. Your MESG award can be reinstated but you must get your institution to submit an official enrollment verification report verifying that you are full-time by the applicable deadline for the term of enrollment. The deadline for Fall term is October 15, for Winter term is January 15, and for Spring term is March 15. Please contact our office prior to these deadlines if there are any unusual circumstances that you feel should be considered.
- My MESG award for the Spring term was canceled because the institution reported that my Fall semester cumulative GPA was below the required 3.5. Due to grade changes, my cumulative GPA is now 3.5 or better. What must I do to have my award reinstated? Your institution must submit an official grade verification report demonstrating that you earned the minimum required GPA. The grade verification must be received by March 15. Please contact our office prior to this deadline if there are any unusual circumstances that you feel should be considered.
- How do I submit supporting documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid?
How to Submit Supporting Documents