Federal and State 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:



Minimum Number of
Credit Hours

GraduateSummer 1

A grant is a form of financial assistance that does not have to be repaid.  click the links below to learn more about grant programs available for eligible students pursuing a postsecondary education.

Campus-Based Aid (limited funding)

Campus-based programs provide a certain amount of funds for each participating school to administer each year.  When all of the funds for a program have been awarded, no more awards can be made from that program for that year.  Remember to apply for federal student aid as early as your can.   In order to qualify for campus-based aid, the student must have financial need  per the federal guidelines and funds must be available. Southern Miss participates in the following Campus-based programs.


  •  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant:

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need.  Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFC's will be the first to get FSEOG's.  Just like the Pell Grant, the FSEOG does not have to be re-paid.  The 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 educational expenses.  The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study.  The typical award amount at Southern Miss is between $800 - $4000 for undergraduates and $1,800 - $6,000 for graduate students.


  • Federal Perkins Loan:
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5 percent) loan for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.  Federal Perkins Loans are awarded through the Southern Miss Financial Aid Office.  When the student accepts the Perkins Loan award on SOAR, a message will appear informing the student where to complete the Promissory Note online.  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 - $3000 for undergraduate 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.

  • 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 would 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 (Parents Loans):

Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay your educational expenses if you are a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least one-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 at www.studentloans.gov. The PIN used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is needed to access this website.

  • 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 GRAD PLUS application must be completed at www.studentloans.gov using the PIN that was used to sign the FAFSA.