All students typically have eligibility for some form of financial aid whether it
is grants, scholarships, or loans. We encourage all students to complete the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
No. Students can begin applying for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) anytime after October 1 proceeding the academic year the student plans to attend
the university. Students must be admitted to the university, however, before financial aid can be awarded and disbursed to
If you filed your FAFSA more than four weeks ago and still have not received a Student
Aid Report (SAR), contact the Federal Student Aid Processing Center at 1.800.433.3243. If you have received your copy of the SAR sent to you from the U.S. Department of
Education, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 601.266.4774. We will able to tell you if our office has also received a copy of your SAR.
Contact the Office of Financial Aid at 601.266.4774. If our office has received a valid copy of your SAR, the counselor should be able
to give you an estimate of your financial aid eligibility. However, we are limited
about giving certain information over the phone in order to protect the student's
A student is considered independent if the student:
is 24 years of age or older
has children for whom one-half of support is provided
is a veteran
is an orphan or ward of the court
is a graduate student
Your SAR will indicate whether the U.S. Department of Education has chosen you for
verification with the inclusion of the statement, "Your school will ask you to provide
copies of certain financial documents for you and/or your parent(s)." Please be prepared
to provide the Office of Financial Aid with certain signed federal tax documents and
other information as requested. You and/or your parents (for dependent students) will
also need to complete certain verification documents. You will be notified regarding
which forms must be submitted.
Is your SAR on file with the Office of Financial Aid?
Have you accepted your award offers?
Have you completed a Direct Lending Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling
with the U.S. Department of Education?
Did you verify that you completed the registration process and that your financial
aid was sufficient to cover your charges?
Students and parents needing to send sensitive electronic documents to the University such
as tax returns, W2's, birth certificates, etc. should utilize the Eagle File Transfer
service. This secure file transfer service allows you to send documents such as PDFs,
images, Microsoft Office files, etc with strong encryption that protects your personal
information from theft. Learn how to use Eagle File Transfer at https://www.usm.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-secure-file-transfer.
Yes. Students are required to complete a FAFSA or a Renewal FAFSA every year. At Southern
Miss, students must re-apply for financial aid prior to the fall semester of each
NOTE: Students who wish to apply for summer financial aid must complete an additional
in-house application prior to the beginning of the summer session.
Try to avoid companies or agencies that want to charge you a fee for scholarship searches.
There are a variety of free scholarship search engines available on the internet.
Financial aid counselors in the Office of Financial Aid cannot give tax advice. We
recommend that you contact a certified tax preparer, an accountant, or the Internal
Revenue Service at 1.800.829.1040.
Special circumstances such as a family tragedy, divorce, separation or loss of income
can affect a student's or family's ability to contribute toward a student's educational
expenses. If this is the case and you can document your status, contact the Office
of Financial Aid at 601.266.4774 and ask to speak with a counselor.
In order to receive and retain federal financial assistance, students are required
to progress satisfactorily toward completion of their course of study. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is measured is based on the following:
The student must progress qualitatively by earning the required minimum grade point
The student must progress quantitatively by completing the required minimum number
of credits each semester or term.
The student must complete his or her program of study within a reasonable time period.
Additional information concerning SAP policies for both undergraduate and graduate
students is available in the Undergraduate Bulletin. It is the student's responsibility
to be aware of these important requirements.
Undergraduate students can borrow up to $5,500, $6,500, or $7,500 per year depending
on their grade level, or year in college, and eligibility. Graduate students can borrow
up to $20,500 per year depending on their eligibility. Independent students may be
eligible to borrow more.
A student's grade level refers to his/her academic classification: freshman, sophomore,
junior, senior, or graduate student. Freshman students are eligible for up to $5,500
in loan money per year, sophomore students are eligible for up to $6,500 per year,
junior and senior students are eligible for up to $7,500 per year, and graduate students
are eligible for up to $20,500 per year, respectively. Independent students may be
eligible to borrow more.
The loan period of a student loan is the period of enrollment for which loan proceeds
are borrowed. Typically, a student is awarded loan proceeds based on his/her attendance
for the length of the standard academic year (At Southern Miss, loans are awarded
in full for the fall and spring semesters). Utilizing your full federal loan eligibility
for the fall and spring semesters will eliminate student loan eligibility for the
following summer session.
When the Department of Education receives a completed and signed promissory note from
the student, it will disburse the funds to the university or through electronic funds
transfer. The disbursement of a student loan is typically received at the beginning
of each semester during the loan period for which it is awarded.
The federal government pays the interest on a Subsidized Stafford Loan while the student
is enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis. If you receive an Unsubsidized
Stafford Loan, the federal government does not pay the interest on the loan. With
the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the student can choose to pay the interest or permit
it to capitalize, meaning that earned interest is added to the principle of the loan.
Students withdrawing from the University during the refund period who receive federal
financial aid must return a portion of any refund to the financial aid programs from
which aid was disbursed. The method of returning funds to financial aid programs is
calculated using current federal financial aid refund policy in conjunction with the
university refund policy. This calculation may result in the student owing money to
the University or to the federal aid program from which he/she received funds. Learn
more at Official/Unofficial Withdrawal Policies.