Report: Less than half of MS financial aid goes to students from poor homes

Report: Less than half of MS financial aid goes to students from poor homes

JACKSON, MS (WMC) - A new report shows more than half of Mississippi's financial aid goes to students from financially secure homes.

A full breakdown of the money distribution is found in a report from Mississippi Office of Financial Aid, and those numbers are further broken down in an investigative report from Mississippi Today.

Students from households earning between $0 and $30,000 per year typically qualify for a full Pell grant. This grant, however, secludes them from receiving Missisppi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) according to state law.

A Pell grant covers 75 percent of tuition for public universities. The rest of that money can come from Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP).

A total of 136,000 Mississippi students who filed for financial aid in 2015-16 came from homes earning no more than $30,000 per year. Those students make up 66 percent of all signees.

However, 56 percent of financial aid went to students from households earning between $48,001 and $999,999.

The other 44 percent is used by HELP, the only state grant to consider financial need for eligibility.

The annual cost of one year of tuition, books, housing and other expenses is estimated at $24,812 in Mississippi.

The maximum money a student can receive through a Pell grant is just $5,920.

However, just 2,912 students received HELP grants in 2017 as opposed to 22,629 students with MTAG.

HELP grants make up just 10 percent of state-funded financial aid, but made up 44 percent of the total money spent by the state.

Click here to read more from Mississippi Today's report.

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