Maintaining Scholarships and Financial Aid

The academic performance of students receiving admissions-based scholarships and federal financial aid (loans and grants) is monitored each semester. Recipients must comply with various stipulations in order to continue receiving these funds each semester.

Admissions-Based Scholarships

Students who have accepted scholarships from the Office of Admissions upon admission to the university will have their academic performance monitored each semester.

  • Recipients must be enrolled full-time (in 12 or more semester hours).
  • Recipients must earn the grade point average that was stated on their scholarship stipulations form.
  • Freshman scholarship recipients will receive  scholarship funds for no more than eight fall/spring semesters (four academic years), regardless of degree completion status.  Transfer scholarship recipients will receive scholarship funds for no more than four fall/spring semesters (two academic years), regardless of degree completion status.
  • If it is determined that you have violated a stipulation of your scholarship, you will either be placed on probation or have your scholarship cancelled. Only one probationary semester is allowed.

Appealing the Loss of an Admissions-Based Scholarship

Students who have had their scholarships cancelled may appeal the loss of their scholarship in writing to the Scholarship Appeals Committee for current students. (Probation cannot be appealed.)

  • In the appeal, students should explain any extenuating circumstances that caused a disruption to their academic progress, such as severe illness or the death of an immediate family member.  Documentation should be attached to support the claim of an extenuating circumstance (i.e., statement from a medical or psychiatric professional, obituary to document the death of an immediate family member, etc.).
  • Appeals from current students should be emailed to fyi@usm.edu, mailed to the Scholarships Appeals Committee c/o First Year Initiative, 118 College Drive #5034, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001 or delivered in person to McLemore Hall, room 207.
  • Typically, students are notified of the committee decision within 14 business days.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Many students cannot stay in college without the assistance of federal financial aid, so it’s important that you understand how to comply with the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy (SAP) in order to continue receiving aid.

  • Grade Point Average

-  Freshmen must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.5.

-  Sophomores must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.75.

-  Juniors and seniors must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

  • Credit Hours

- You must successfully pass 67% of the credit hours enrolled in each semester. For example, if you are enrolled in 18 hours, you must earn a passing grade for a minimum of 12 hours attempted.

  • Degree Completion

-  Undergraduate students can receive financial aid until they have attempted up to 150% of the credit hours normally required to complete their degree plan.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to meet one or more of the three requirements associated with Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be placed on financial aid suspension. Being placed on financial aid suspension will result in the loss of your federal financial aid (loans and grants), which means that you cannot receive any loans or grants to help pay for your tuition, housing, meal plan, etc. 

Students who are placed on financial aid suspension are free to appeal their suspension to request the reinstatement of their financial aid. Valid reasons for appealing the suspension are as follows:

  • The death of an immediate family member (parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling or independent/dependent child)
  • An extended illness that caused the student to be absent from at least 10 class days (a chronic or recurring medical illness or emotional illness)
  • The extended illness of an immediate family member that placed a hardship on the student
  • Any other unusual circumstance that has affected the student’s ability to comply with the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy

Appealing Financial Aid Suspension

Students who decide to appeal financial aid suspension should understand that no appeal is guaranteed to be approved. Additionally, it is very important that students who wish to do so begin the appeals process as soon as they find out that they have been placed on financial aid suspension. For instructions on how to appeal financial aid suspension, please visit the Financial Aid website.