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POSTSECONDARY BOARD APPROVES AWARD SCHEDULE, VOTES TO ACCEPT ACT SUPERSCORES

7/1/2020 - Jackson, Miss.

The Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board approved the award schedule for the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid for the academic and aid year beginning July 1 at its meeting today. The Board also approved a significant change to its administrative and program rules to accept ACT Superscores for the purpose of establishing eligibility for state financial aid.

"In this difficult time of pandemic-ravaged state revenues and agency budget cuts, the Postsecondary Board appreciates the State Legislature for funding Student Financial Aid slightly above the previous year and for committing to appropriate additional funds if needed," said Dr. Jim Turcotte, Chair of the Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board. "Through the budget, the Legislature has demonstrated its commitment to Mississippi’s students."

For the 2020-21 year, the Board approved an award schedule to make full awards to all eligible applicants for undergraduate grants, including the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG), the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG), the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP), and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Scholarship (LAW).

The Board also voted to change its administrative and program rules to accept ACT Superscores for the purpose of establishing eligibility for state aid. In September 2020, ACT will begin publishing an ACT Superscore on the score reports of students who have taken the test more than once. An ACT Superscore is a composite score that is calculated from the highest ACT subject test score (English, reading, math, and science) across all administrations. By accepting ACT Superscores, the Board expects an additional 350 high school graduates to establish eligibility for MESG each year and an additional 550 high school graduates to establish eligibility for HELP each year.

"By accepting ACT Superscores, we are expanding access to college and improving affordability for an additional 900 Mississippi students every year," said Dr. Turcotte. "And since most Mississippi colleges and universities will be accepting Superscores for admission, we have also simplified the college-going process by aligning the state aid ACT policy with the admission ACT policy."

Only official ACT Superscores calculated by ACT and appearing on the student’s ACT Score Report will be accepted for establishing state aid eligibility. ACT Superscores must be calculated from national tests taken before the student enrolls as a first-time college student. ACT Superscores will be accepted for new applicants only beginning with the 2021-22 application cycle that opens on October 1, 2020.

Although the award schedule has been approved, the proposed changes to the rules and regulations of state programs will take effect only after completion of the public comment period in accordance with the state Administrative Procedures Act.

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The Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board has authority over all state student financial aid programs, which include undergraduate and graduate grant and forgivable loan programs. Public, private, two-year and four-year college students in Mississippi may be eligible for state aid.

The Director of the Postsecondary Board is appointed by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, which governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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