Big changes could be coming for some students who receive grants or loans from state financial aid. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the state financial aid board faces an increase in demand to help students pay for college.
The Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board approved reducing the state student financial aid budget by $10.5 million. 4,300 students would be affected. Jennifer Rogers is Director of Student Financial Aid.
"Ultimately, these changes are to encourage students to finish more quickly, and to finish with less overall costs," says Rogers.
The most significant decision by the board, changing the definition of a full-time student who qualifies for state financial aid. Students must have 15 hours per semester, instead of 12. Republican state senator Josh Harkins, of Flowood, is the Senate Universities and Colleges Committee Chairman.
"We need to make sure we expend the money in the best manner, to be efficient for the kids, for the students to go to school and get an education," says Harkins.
In other changes, the board decided to stop new student loans. Some graduate level loan programs would not be funded. No payments would be made to the teacher loan repayment program. The changes won't take effect until after a 30-day public comment period.