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McNair Scholars Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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To qualify for the McNair Scholars Program, you must EITHER be a low-income and first generation college student OR a member of a group underrepresented in higher education. 

A first-generation college student is one whose parents or guardians did not complete a four-year bachelor's degree.

  • Technical/vocational certificates or associate degrees are not four-year degrees
  • First-generation college students are also those whose parents or guardians had no significant influence on their upbringing

If you are not yet a domestic citizens or permanent resident, you can still apply if you are in the process of establishing residency. You will need to provide evidence of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) application. 

According to the Department of Education, "low-income eligible" means a student comes from a family household whose taxable income for the previous year did not exceed the poverty level. The chart below indicates the qualifying family income poverty levels established by the United States Census Bureau.

Family Unit Size 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Outlying Jurisdictions Alaska Hawaii
1 $19,320 $24,135 $22,230
2 $26,130 $32,655 $30,060
3 $32,940 $41,175 $37,890
4 $39,750 $49.695 $45,720
5 $46,560 $58,215 $53, 550
6 $53,370 $66,735 $61,380
7 $60,180 $75,255 $69,210
8 $66,990 $83,775 $77,040


Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) considers one an independent student if they meet ANY of these qualifiers.

  • 24 years or older by Jan. 1, 2022
  • Married or separated
  • Parent with children who recieve more than half of their support from you
  • Have dependents (other than children or a spouse) living with you who receive more than half of their support from you 
  • Veteran of the U.S. armed forces or serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • In foster caster, or a ward of the state, or dependent of the court at any time since you turned 13 
  • Emancipated minor or in a legal guardianship determined by the court
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

No. This program is intended for sophomore and junior level students.

The goal of the program is to increase the attainment of Ph.D. degrees from underrepresented segments of society. It is not designed for students who want to attend professional schools (law school, medical school, pharmacy school, business school, OT/PT school, etc).

No. The McNair Scholars program is a highly-selective research and graduate school preparatory program. The program does, however, provide a $4,200 stipend. Additional funds for travel to cultural events and conferences are provided.

No. There will be no impact to your financial aid.

  No. McNair Scholars apply to and are accepted into graduate schools nationwide.

The survival of this program depends on students obtaining a doctorate degree within 10 years of attaining their bachelor's degree. So, we expects scholars to apply to graduate schools during their senior year. However, scholars do not always attend graduate school immediately following completion of their bachelor's degree.

If you are certain you want to earn a Ph.D., the program is absolutely worth your time and effort. The program is designed to create a direct pipeline to graduate study. McNair Scholars receive research experience, financial and academic support, traveling opportunities, cultural engagement, graduate prep, comprehensive waivers and professional development. Because of the academic enrichment afforded by the program, many Scholars receive lucrative graduate assistantships and fellowships from select graduate programs. McNair Scholars develop research skills and professional experience that make them sought after by some of the best graduate programs in the nation.

Contact Us

McNair Scholars Program

138 JB George Hall
Hattiesburg Campus

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