Orientation Programs

The University of Mississippi

FAQS

Financial Aid

Q: Can I check my financial aid/scholarship status online?
A: Yes! All students must have a WebID to access financial aid awards and information. WebIDs and e-mail will be the primary means of business communication. You should have received your WebID and e-mail account shortly after you were admitted to the university. If not, please contact the university’s IT Helpdesk at 662-915-5222.

To check your status, visit myOleMiss at www.olemiss.edu/finaid/portal and log on using your WebID.

Using myOleMiss, you can review outstanding issues online and/or confirm that our office has received a requirement.

All financial aid awards must be accepted/declined/reduced electronically.

Some scholarships have Terms & Conditions that you must accept before they can be disbursed. The Web pages will guide you through the acceptance and processing of student loan offers should you elect to accept them.

Q: Can my parents view this information online as well?
A: Yes! You can create a WebID in myOleMiss for your parents/guardians. You can grant or withdraw access for things like: viewing financial aid awards, reviewing the monthly billing statement from the Office of the Bursar, and making online payments using a credit card or bank draft. To create a WebID for your parent, sign into myOleMiss and proceed to ‘My Profile.’ Then, use the application ‘Access for Relatives/Guardians’ to authorize WebIDs for up to two parents, guardians, or other related persons. Usually parent WebIDs are created within 24 hours of the request being made.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: We recommend that all students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is THE application students must submit to qualify for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and student loans. But it is so much more. It is the gateway to many other types of assistance as well, including the Work-Study program, the Parent PLUS loan and need-based Ole Miss scholarships. The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.gov. Please be sure to provide The University of Mississippi’s school code (002440) on this form. We encourage students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA.

Mississippi residents may apply for state grants at www.mississippi.edu/riseupms/financialaid-state.php. The application deadline for the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) is September 15 each year. (Some state grants have earlier deadlines.)

The University of Mississippi offers a wide variety of scholarships to students. Many of the scholarships are available to incoming freshmen and transfer students only. Students are also encouraged to consult with their academic departments about major-specific opportunities.

Students who participate in university-related activities/organizations such as band or ROTC may be eligible for scholarships as well. Most 2012-13 scholarship offers have been made by this point in the year.

Q: If I do not think that I am eligible for federal aid, should I complete the FAFSA anyway?
A: Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for federal aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. There are sources of aid such as unsubsidized Direct and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need.

Q: When is the FAFSA deadline?
A: To receive federal aid for Fall 2012, Spring 2013, and/or Summer 2013 (the 2012-13 year), you may submit your 2012-13 FAFSA as early as possible, but no earlier than January 1, 2012. The last date to file it is June 30, 2013. If you file your FAFSA on the Web, the U.S. Department of Education will process your FAFSA online within two to three business days. If you complete the paper application, you should allow five weeks for processing.

Q What is the estimated cost of attendance?
A: The estimated cost of attendance (sometimes referred to as the student’s budget) is the amount the university estimates it will cost to attend college for the academic year. Costs include tuition/fees, books and supplies, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses (such as clothing, insurance, toiletries, etc.) Pharmacy and Pre-Pharmacy students do have different tuition and fee rates than other undergraduates. More information on cost of attendance can be found at www.olemiss.edu/finaid/costofattendance.html.

Q: How is my financial need determined?
A: The federal processor determines your individual family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education. The expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated by a federal formula using the information you provide on the FAFSA. The formula considers your parents’ and your income and assets, your family size, and the number of family members enrolled in college. The EFC will be the same at any college you attend. After receiving your EFC amount from the federal processor, the Office of Financial Aid then subtracts your EFC from the average cost of attendance. The formula used to calculate financial need is
Cost of Attendance – EFC = Student Financial Need.

Q: Will our savings and other assets be considered when our financial need is being determined?
A: Family assets, such as stocks and bonds, net business worth and savings, are taken into account in determining the student’s expected family contribution toward his or her education. The equity value of the primary home is not included. Eligibility for federal financial aid funds is determined by a formula set by the government that provides, among other things, allowances for retirement needs in computing this contribution.

Q: What is MTAG/MESG, and how do I apply?
A: Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) is a grant of up to $500 per year for Mississippi freshmen and sophomores and $1,000 per year for juniors and seniors. The Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) is $2,500 per year for up to four years.

The MTAG program is for entering freshmen with a minimum 2.5 GPA and a minimum 15 ACT (or equivalent SAT). Transfer students must enter with a 2.5 college GPA. MTAG is prorated for those students who receive Pell grants. Additionally, proration of these awards is possible if the level of state funding is inadequate that year. One-year Mississippi residency and full-time enrollment are required for this grant.

The MESG program is for entering freshmen designated as National Merit/Achievement Finalist/Semifinalists or a Mississippi resident student who achieved an ACT score of 29 or better (or equivalent SAT) AND 3.5 high-school GPA. One-year Mississippi residency and full-time enrollment are required for this grant as well.

MTAG/MESG applications are available from the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid at www.mississippi.edu/riseupms/financialaid-state.php. One application is used for both programs. Submission deadline is September 15 each year. Funding for the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and the Mississippi Eminent Scholarship Grant (MESG) comes from the Institutions of Higher Learning office in Jackson, Mississippi. Eligibility for release of these funds is reviewed each semester before IHL disburses the funds to the school. It generally takes four to five weeks after the start of a semester before IHL will disburse the funds to the school.

Q: Would it be possible to work while I am in school?
A: The University of Mississippi offers a variety of employment options. The Federal Work-Study program offers part-time employment to students who demonstrate financial need. Jobs are provided in campus departments and at approved off-campus sites. A primary emphasis is the Family Literacy Project, which involves placement of work-study students in local public schools as tutors. These programs are administered by the Office of Financial Aid. Part-time jobs on campus other than those through the Work-Study program are coordinated through the Student Employment Office. Financial need is not required for these employment opportunities. In the end, you should consider carefully whether you can juggle work and school. If the answer is yes, the extra funds can provide much needed spending money – and at the same time, you are building your resume.

Q: How do I sign up for Federal Work-Study?
A: Students applying for Federal Work-Study must file a FAFSA yearly to determine eligibility. If you are offered Work-Study, you will be sent additional information in July regarding job placement. Work-Study recipients are paid bimonthly at an hourly rate that is at least the minimum wage. If you elect to tutor in one of the local elementary schools, you will receive a premium wage.

Q: Do I have to pay taxes on the money I earn through Federal Work-Study?
A: Yes, Work-Study income is taxable. You will receive a W-2 form from the university at the end of each year, and this form will indicate how much you made from all employment at the university, including Work-Study employment in the prior year. Note that although you may have to pay taxes on Work-Study earnings, you should list those earnings as income on your FAFSA for the next year – and also report them as income exclusions. When filling out the FAFSA, read the instructions carefully.

Q: What are Federal Direct Loans, and how do I apply?
A: Federal Direct Loans fall into two categories: subsidized and unsubsidized. Both have a 6.8 percent fixed interest rate.

Subsidized: The federal government pays the interest on these loans as long as the borrower is enrolled at least half time in the fall and spring semesters. Subsidized Direct Loans are awarded based upon financial need as determined by the FAFSA.

Unsubsidized: These loans begin to accrue interest as soon as they are paid to the borrower. Borrowers have the option to pay the interest while in school or to defer the interest payments until after graduation. Your eligibility is determined by the Office of Financial Aid. You will be notified of the exact amount you can borrow in the Financial Aid Award Notification. You can never borrow more than the cost of education, minus other financial aid received. The maximum amounts you may borrow are on the next page.

If dependent, your combined subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford annual eligibility is as below. The cumulative maximum amount that may be borrowed as a dependent undergraduate is $31,000 ($23,000 maximum subsidized); for an independent undergraduate the maximum is $57,500 ($23,000 maximum subsidized).

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Maximum Subsidized $3,500 $4,500 $5,500 $5,500
Unsubsidized $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Total $5,500 $6,500 $7,500 $7,500

If independent, your subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford annual eligibility is as follows:

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Maximum Subsidized $3,500 $4,500 $5,500 $5,500
Unsubsidized $6,000 $6,000 $7,000 $7,000
Total $9,500 $10,500 $12,500 $12,500

Q: How do I receive my Federal Direct Loan?
A: If you have been awarded and choose to accept Federal Direct Loans, you must complete several steps, including completing entrance loan counseling and electronically signing your master promissory note. Instructions for processing these loans are found at www.olemiss.edu/finaid/ugradstafford.html. The funds will be processed by the Financial Aid Office to your Bursar account.

Q: Can my financial aid change?
A: Yes. As stated in the student award notification, initial financial aid awards are the best estimate of what you are eligible to receive. Your award may be increased, reduced or even canceled if Your family financial circumstance changes, causing your need to change. (In cases of lost income, you may want to request a re-evaluation of your eligibility called a “professional judgment”.) You receive any additional outside resource, such as a privately awarded scholarship, which was not listed on your award notification. You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA. You do not maintain satisfactory academic progress. (See www.olemiss.edu/finaid/SAPclass.html.) You are suspended by the university. You do not enroll for the required number of hours to receive aid through the programs awarded to you.

Q: How do I become an independent student for federal aid purposes?
A: For the 2012-13 academic year, you would have to meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered independent: Born before January 1, 1989 Working on a master’s or doctoral program (such as an M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., or graduate certificate) Married Have children who receive more than half of their support from you Both of your parents are deceased, you are or were a ward of the court until age 18, or you were in foster care anytime after the age of 13 Have a legal dependent for whom you provide more than half of his or her support Are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces Are an emancipated minor (however, please note that the United States Department of Education does not recognize emancipation of a Mississippi resident as being valid to establish independent student status for federal aid purposes) Are considered an unaccompanied homeless youth Have a legal guardian

Q: I’m going to be married during the school year for which I am applying for aid. Can I fill out my FAFSA as married?
A: No. You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA. Depending on your circumstances, the Office of Financial Aid may be able to update your marital status if you request a professional judgment on this basis.

Q: If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial data should be used when I’m completing the FAFSA?
A If your biological or adoptive parents are separated or divorced, use the parent with whom you lived the most in the past 12 months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent who provided the most financial support to you over the past 12 months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the stepparent’s financial information on the application. Parent and stepparent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA. Example: You have been living with your mother and stepfather for the past 12 months. You would use your mother’s income and stepfather’s income, and you would report on the FAFSA the number in the family: yourself, your mother, your stepfather and any other children they support.

Q: What if I have unusual circumstances affecting my level of financial need that are not reflected on the FAFSA?
A: If any of the following apply to you or your family, refer to our professional judgment policy. Divorce of parents, or you from your spouse Death of parent or spouse Loss of employment of a major wage earner Loss of other income or benefits (such as Social Security or child support) by you, your parents or your spouse

Q: What is verification?
A: Verification is a federally mandated quality-control process in which files are selected for review. The school is required to check the accuracy of the student’s (and parents’, if applicable) financial and household information as reported on the FAFSA. Historically, the federal processor has selected approximately 30 percent of students annually to be verified.

Q: What if I am selected for verification?
A: The verification process must be completed before students can receive any federal aid. You will need to submit to the Office of Financial Aid a completed verification worksheet and provide the documents requested on the worksheet.

We encourage students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA. If the IRS Data Retrieval tool is used AND no changes are made to the data elements transferred from the IRS web site, students and parents will only need to complete the verification worksheet and provide copies of the W-2 forms. If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not used or changes are made to data elements transferred from the IRS, students and parents will need to request a copy of the Federal Tax Transcript directly from the IRS.

If you are selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid will contact you to visit our Web site and download a verification worksheet. You will also know that you have been selected for federal verification when you check your financial aid status online at www.olemiss.edu/finaid/portal under the heading “Information/Actions Needed Before Further Awarding Can Occur.”

Q: Can I get aid for summer school?
A: It depends. We consider summer sessions to be “add-ons” to the regular academic year. If you have not already used up your full eligibility in the Federal Direct Loan or Federal Pell Grant programs, you may use either (or both) for summer school. Many scholarships are not available during the summer. Work-Study is available, but MTAG/MESG is not. Many students use credit-based loan options like Parent PLUS or private alternative loans to fund costs of summer school. Sumners Grant is also available.

Q: Can I receive aid for independent study courses?
A: Possibly! If you use independent study course hours in conjunction with classroom hours, you must turn in 50 percent of the lessons to the Office of Independent Study before those hours may be included toward your financial aid. (If you take independent courses only, you will be considered less than half time and not eligible for certain programs.) Your financial aid will not credit until you have completed the midpoint. You must start and complete the course on a term basis to receive federal aid. Please remember to obtain the blue form from the Office of Independent Study and proceed to the Office of Financial Aid to meet with a financial aid adviser for counseling and to review award types, terms and conditions for disbursement.

Q: What happens to my financial aid status if I withdraw from school?
A: Check with your financial aid advisor before withdrawing from school. Depending upon when you withdraw from school, you may be required to repay a specified percentage of any aid you have received for the term.

Q: What effect will dropping a class have on my financial aid?
A: Financial aid awards are usually based on full-time enrollment. Should you drop below full-time enrollment before your aid is released, your eligibility will have to be recalculated based on your new hours of enrollment and revised costs of attendance.

Should you drop a class after all aid has released, the Office of Financial Aid will review the rules for your individual awards. In some cases, federal Title IV regulations require students to repay all or part of their financial aid for dropping classes OR failing to attend classes. In other cases, you may lose aid eligibility for a future term. For best advice, always consult with a financial aid advisor before dropping a course.

Q: Why is my tuition reimbursement (for example, bank hours) listed as a scholarship?
A: All fees that apply to you (tuition and nonresident fees, for example) must be charged by the Office of the Bursar and cannot be waived. However, some scholarships are fee-specific and will pay that charge in full or part. All sources of aid that are intended to pay for college costs must be included in your financial aid package.

Q: What qualifies a student as a resident of Mississippi?
A: The Office of the Registrar reviews requests for residency. To view the current policy for establishing residency, please go to www.olemiss.edu/depts/registrar/resinfo.html.

Q: Why does it take so long to get MTAG funds?
A: Funding for the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and the Mississippi Eminent Scholarship Grant (MESG) comes from the Institutions of Higher Learning office in Jackson, Mississippi. Eligibility for release of these funds is reviewed each semester before IHL disburses the funds to the schools. It generally takes four to five weeks after the start of a semester before IHL will disburse the funds to the schools.

Q: I keep getting e-mail from the financial aid office saying there are actions that are incomplete on my part. What is that for?
A: This e-mail is very important in the awarding and disbursement of aid. You are being asked to take action on a requirement. You may be unaware of a scholarship or grant that simply needs your acceptance of the terms and conditions. The message may also be to let you know the financial aid office still needs documents from you to determine your student aid. You should never ignore this message, and be sure to frequently go to “Check Your Status” on the financial aid Web page. When you review your award package online, pay careful attention to items under the heading “Information/Actions Needed Before Further Awarding Can Occur”. Here you will see what actions are required by you to complete.

Q: How can I apply for an Ole Miss Express meal/book voucher?
A: If your financial aid has not been credited to your account by the first day of class, you may apply for a voucher at www.olemiss.edu/finaid/voucher.html. The amount of your pending aid must be sufficient to cover your current Bursar balance AND the amount requested for Ole Miss Express.

Q: When and how will I receive the financial aid that has been awarded to me?
A: Disbursement of scholarships, grants and loans typically begins three days before classes start each term, and then each business day thereafter as awards become ready for release. Funds will be credited to the student’s bursar account. They will first be used to pay your tuition/fees, meal plan/FLEX charges, and on-campus housing charges. If the amount of aid exceeds the balance due the university, the bursar’s office will deliver excess funds either by direct deposit to the student’s bank account (the preferred way) or by a check that is mailed to the student’s billing address. The direct-deposit form is online at www.olemiss.edu/depts/bursar/directdeposit.html.

Q: Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
A: Yes. You must apply for financial aid every academic year. Please note that the FAFSA and the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid application both must be filed annually. Regarding the FAFSA, in future years you can elect to populate the FAFSA with pre-printed information from the previous year’s application. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.