Federal & State Student Aid Programs


Federal Student Aid Programs

The University of Southern Mississippi Office of Financial Aid is partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to offer students a wide variety of financial aid options. In order to receive and maintain aid from these programs, students must enroll in the appropriate number of credit hours each semester, which is highlighted below:

 Classification
 Semester
 Minimum Number
of Credit Hours
 Undergraduate Fall/Spring 6
 Undergraduate Summer 4
 Graduate Fall/Spring 4
 Graduate Summer 3

 
Grants

A grant is a form of financial assistance that does not require repayment. Click the links below to learn more about grant programs available for eligible students pursuing a postsecondary education.


 

Campus-Based Aid (limited funding)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants:

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFCs will be the first to get FSEOGs. Like Pell Grants, FSEOGs don't have to be repaid. Typical award amount at Southern Miss is between: $100 - $500.

  • Federal Work-Study:

Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study. Typical award amount at Southern Miss is between $800 - $3,600 for undergrads and $1,800 - $6,000 for graduate students.

  • Federal Perkins Loan:

A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5 percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are awarded through the Southern Miss Financial Aid Office, and the promissory note must be signed at the Southern Miss Business Office. Southern Miss is the lender, and the loan is made with government funds. This loan must be repaid to The University of Southern Mississippi. A typical award amount at Southern Miss is between $200 - $3,000 for undergrads and $200 - $4,000 for graduate students.


 

Stafford Loans (Direct Loans)

The U.S. Department of Education administers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The Direct Loan program consists of what are generally known as Stafford Loans for students and PLUS Loans for parents.

After your FAFSA is processed, your school will review the results and will inform you about your loan eligibility. You also will have to sign a promissory note, a binding legal document that lists the conditions under which you're borrowing and the terms under which you agree to repay your loan. Your Federal Stafford Student Loan offer amounts for the year are dependent upon your class level and can be found here.

 

  • Subsidized Stafford Loan:

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. If you're eligible for a subsidized loan, the government will pay (subsidize) the interest on your loan while you're in school, for the first six months after you leave school, and if you qualify to have your payments deferred.

  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan:

You might be able to borrow loan funds beyond your subsidized loan amount even if you don't have demonstrated financial need. In that case, you'd receive an unsubsidized loan. Your school will subtract the total amount of your other financial aid from your cost of attendance to determine whether you're eligible for an unsubsidized loan. Unlike a subsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it's paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount you have to repay.

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans (Parent Loans):

Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay your educational expenses if you are a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school. PLUS Loans are available through the Department of Education.

Parents must complete and submit a PLUS Loan application on www.studentloans.gov

 

  • PLUS Loans for Graduate Students (Grad PLUS):

Graduate and professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate/Professional PLUS loans.

Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan. The application can be completed on www.studentloans.gov