MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - Students who use state aid to pay for their college tuition need to meet new requirements for the upcoming fall semester.
The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid made this decision to provide state aid, despite the projected 10.4 million budget shortfall this year.
Students who wish to receive financial aid now have to take 15 hours instead of 12 to receive state aid from programs like MTAG and HELP.
This change comes as a surprise for USM student like Jonnisha Campbell who juggles school work and several part time jobs.
"I have a part time job and also have a work study job so doing all the hours that I have right now, it's very time consuming," Campbell said.
However, Director of State Student Financial Aid Jennifer Rogers said this change is meant to help students finish their college degrees within four years.
"Ultimately, earning a degree in less time means that the student his or her family pays less for their college degree, so it ultimately benefits them financially," Rogers said.
Rogers said this change will only affect small group of students because 86 percent of state aid recipients already complete more than 12 hours per semester and 67 percent complete more than 15 hours.
Schools like Jones County Junior college have already made this transition and have required students to take a heavier course load for the past three years.
"The end result is this the retention numbers increased, graduation numbers increased our enrollment has increased so strategically we look back it was very good for the college, " Jones County Junior College President Jesse Smith said.
Some common FAQ about this change can be found here.